Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemud

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Lyr Add: Billy Riley (chantey)

Noreen 16 Apr 02 - 06:13 PM
Snuffy 16 Apr 02 - 07:55 PM
nutty 17 Apr 02 - 01:10 AM
masato sakurai 17 Apr 02 - 04:22 AM
English Jon 17 Apr 02 - 05:00 AM
nutty 17 Apr 02 - 06:09 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 17 Apr 02 - 08:17 AM
Snuffy 17 Apr 02 - 08:26 AM
Paddy Plastique 17 Apr 02 - 12:51 PM
nutty 17 Apr 02 - 01:20 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 17 Apr 02 - 01:44 PM
nutty 17 Apr 02 - 01:50 PM
Dicho 17 Apr 02 - 01:54 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 17 Apr 02 - 02:08 PM
Dicho 17 Apr 02 - 02:54 PM
Snuffy 17 Apr 02 - 07:05 PM
MartinRyan 17 Apr 02 - 07:48 PM
MartinRyan 17 Apr 02 - 07:51 PM
MartinRyan 17 Apr 02 - 07:54 PM
Noreen 18 Apr 02 - 08:16 AM
GUEST,Charley Noble 18 Apr 02 - 08:33 AM
Ian 18 Apr 02 - 08:44 AM
Ian 18 Apr 02 - 08:44 AM
Noreen 18 Apr 02 - 08:56 AM
Dead Horse 18 Apr 02 - 01:42 PM
Snuffy 16 Sep 03 - 08:44 AM
GUEST,AR282 16 Sep 03 - 07:39 PM
Ferrara 16 Sep 03 - 10:31 PM
Sarah the flute 17 Sep 03 - 03:33 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 17 Sep 03 - 06:04 AM
Noreen 17 Sep 03 - 09:40 AM
Dead Horse 17 Sep 03 - 02:34 PM
GUEST,bubbles 08 Mar 11 - 05:06 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 09 Mar 11 - 04:21 PM
doc.tom 10 Mar 11 - 05:38 AM
Lighter 10 Mar 11 - 12:15 PM
GUEST,Malcolm Speake 13 Sep 12 - 04:37 PM
GUEST,Lighter 13 Sep 12 - 05:14 PM
Dead Horse 14 Sep 12 - 05:31 AM
Charley Noble 14 Sep 12 - 08:37 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:




Subject: Lyr Add: BILLY RILEY
From: Noreen
Date: 16 Apr 02 - 06:13 PM

BILLY RILEY

Oh Billy Riley, Mister Billy Riley
Oh Billy Riley oh
Billy Riley, Mister Billy Riley
Oh Billy Riley oh

Oh Billy Riley was a dancing master
Oh Billy Riley oh
Billy Riley was a dancing master
Oh Billy Riley oh

Oh Billy Riley shipped aboard a droger
Oh Billy Riley oh…

Oh Billy Riley wed the skipper's daughter
Oh Billy Riley oh…

Oh Mrs Riley didn't like sailors
Oh Mrs Riley oh…

Oh Mrs Riley had a lovely daughter
Oh Mrs Riley oh…

Oh Missy Riley, pretty Missy Riley
Oh Missy Riley oh…

Oh Missy Riley, screw her up to Chile
Oh Missy Riley oh…

Oh Billy Riley, Mister Billy Riley
Oh Billy Riley oh…

Shanty, as sung by Mitch Reynolds with the Shellback Chorus.

According to the dictionary, a droger is a West Indian coasting vessel, with long masts and lateen sails (from the Dutch droogen -to dry- originally this was a vessel on which fish were dried.)

NK

Can anyone tell me more about this, particularly the meaning of "screw her up to Chile"?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Tune Add: BILLY RILEY
From: Snuffy
Date: 16 Apr 02 - 07:55 PM

Great song, Noreen. I learned it from Michelle and have sung it out a couple of times. Any idea where she got it from?

Here's the tune

X: 36
T:Billy Riley
M:4/4
L:1/4
Q:120
K:D
D2 DD |D2 D2|ED CB,|C2 A,2|
E2 EE |A2 A2|F2 AA |A2 A2 |
A,A, A,A,|D2 G2|F2 AA |G2 E2 |D4||

WassaiL! V


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY RILEY
From: nutty
Date: 17 Apr 02 - 01:10 AM

It's been around for a long time Snuffy, but usually under the title of OLD BILLY RILEY Here's a link to an A.L.LLOYD recording and sound clip

Old Billy Riley


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY RILEY
From: masato sakurai
Date: 17 Apr 02 - 04:22 AM

Billy Riley
"A song popular in Green's Blackwall ships sailing from London in the 1850s. It started life as a cotton hoosiers chant, and is obviously African American in origin. Later it went to sea and became one of the most popular halyards shanties of the day." (From HERE)

~Masato


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY RILEY
From: English Jon
Date: 17 Apr 02 - 05:00 AM

I understood it to be Drohger - a dutch clipper used for fishing around the west indies.

Think it might be "screw her up so cheerily" then again, could be a mondegreen.

Have you heard A.L.Lloyd do this? Very fast!

EJ


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY RILEY
From: nutty
Date: 17 Apr 02 - 06:09 AM

I've had a sleepless night trying to remember the words of the song "BILLY RILEY" which a lady used to sing at our fo;k club. It was not a shanty but a love song and each verse used to end in the refrain ....BILLY RILEY.
Has anyone any idea what the words are ....I would love to sing it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY RILEY
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 17 Apr 02 - 08:17 AM

Nutty, I wrote a song called "Billy Reilley" which I used to sing with the harp around the folk clubs when I performed with Packie Byrne. Various people picked it up, and a friend reported to me that it was introduced - in all good faith, I'm sure - by a singer as being a traditional song from the Famine era! In fact it only dates back to 1979, and deals with a young man of that name who leaves Ireland as part of the great exile after the terrible defeat at Limerick. The girl character who is narrating the song summons him back, and therein lies the tale. And every verse does end with the echo, "Billy Reilley".

Is this the one you meant? I plan to re-record this song before too long. Let me know if it is and I can type it out. But if anyone is singing it or putting it into DigiTrad, PLEASE credit me as the author because I did write it!

All the best, Bonnie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY RILEY
From: Snuffy
Date: 17 Apr 02 - 08:26 AM

Nutty, I know that there's a Billy Riley in Hugill (which I borrowed once to make ABCs of all the tunes), but I think Michelle's tune is different. I'll check it out tonight, and post Hugill's tune if it is different.

What I really meant to ask was not "Where does the song come from?", but "Where did Michelle get her version?"

WassaiL! V


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY RILEY
From: Paddy Plastique
Date: 17 Apr 02 - 12:51 PM

So that's where yer man Will Oldham got it from... He sings a snatch of it in one of
his early songs - 'Riding'. I knew it sounded old-timey or maritime.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY RILEY
From: nutty
Date: 17 Apr 02 - 01:20 PM

Bonnie ...... I'm almost certain that your song is the one I was remembering but would love to see all the words here as I'm sure others would too. That way you could be sure of getting all the credit that's due to you.

By the way 1979 was 23 years ago and some Mudcatters were not even born then ....... It's easy to overlook the passage of time.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: BILLY REILLEY (Bonnie Shaljean)
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 17 Apr 02 - 01:44 PM

Here it is, Nutty. Glad to oblige! (23 years, Gawd!!)

BILLY REILLEY

Copyright 1979 Bonnie Shaljean (Blue Crescent Music Ltd.)

Billy Reilley at thy rest
Your father calls you from the past
His voice is loud but you are blessed
With sleep and cannot hear him
He doesn't talk much anymore, Billy Reilley

Long time ago you courted me
In the summer days when the world ran free
And love hung ripe on the rowan tree
You played your father's pipes
And all my joys abounded, Billy Reilley

But time and other dreams took hold
The land grew ill and the sky turned cold
And all the things that make young men old
Must send the wild geese flying
You left me with your child, Billy Reilley

Your father raged and made me swear
I'd never tell you but I couldn't bear
Unspoken names and whispering stares
And worst of all the nights
O curse the hour that I wrote you, Billy Reilley

You sailed for home with the next tide in
But the ship was lost and all men within
And now all Ireland's grace can't win you
From the sullen ocean
My heart lies dead at my feet, Billy Reilley

Your father curses the rolling sea
The stormy winds, fair France, and me
And I curse love and my own baby
And life is not the short thing
That they would have you believe, Billy Reilley

The pipes will sing you fast asleep
Where'er you lie in the ocean's keep
Forgive me if I no longer weep
As year by year I stay here
Imprisoned by my sins, Billy Reilley
You'd never recognise me, Billy Reilley


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY RILEY
From: nutty
Date: 17 Apr 02 - 01:50 PM

That's the one Bonnie ...... a wonderful song ...... hope I can remember the tune now.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY RILEY
From: Dicho
Date: 17 Apr 02 - 01:54 PM

BILLY RILEY

O Billy Riley was a dancing master
O Billy Riley, O
A nice master and a master of a daughter
O Billy Riley, O
A fine daughter but we can't get at her
O Billy Riley, O
Screw her up and away we go boys
O Billy Riley, O
One more pull and then belay, boys
O Billy Riley, O

Screw? Dunno, but I'll guess. Sailing up Chile a ship would have a partly following, partly onshore wind most of the time. It requires searoom to avoid trouble. The passage in some ways could be likened to a screw. On the other hand, how old is the slang word screw for intercourse?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY RILEY
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 17 Apr 02 - 02:08 PM

I THINK (but am not sure) that "screw" referred to the propulsion of a ship in Ye Olde Days [cleverly avoids giving an actual date]. I seem to remember that Fulton (he of steam-power fame) happened to see a ship's screw that had been broken off and hence was shorter, and this gave him the idea for his invention.

I know I'm leaving out loads of details and may be getting it a bit wrong, but I believe that "screw" was the term used in relation to this propulsion mechanism, which Fulton then improved upon.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY RILEY
From: Dicho
Date: 17 Apr 02 - 02:54 PM

Do shanty singers even mention the "Age of Steam"? A screw or a propellow has nothing to do with clipper ships, and such like. Of course some of them modern things with both...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Tune Add: BILLY RILEY
From: Snuffy
Date: 17 Apr 02 - 07:05 PM

Here's Hugill's tune, which is a mixture of 3/4 and 4/4

X: 190
T:Billy Riley
M:3/4
L:1/8
Q:1/4=120
K:G
G2 G2 G2|G2 A2 GG|F2 A2 F2|
D4 A2|A4 AA|A4 B2|A6||
M:4/4 L:1/8
B4 c2A2|B4 c4|A2B2 c2A2|
M:3/4 L:1/8
B2 c3 d|d4 dd|c2 B2 A2|G6||

WassaiL! V


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY RILEY
From: MartinRyan
Date: 17 Apr 02 - 07:48 PM

Cotton was "screwed" into the hold of a ship using a kind of enormous horizontal jack. Its the "Chile" that puzzles me. What does Hugill have?

Regards


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY RILEY
From: MartinRyan
Date: 17 Apr 02 - 07:51 PM

Found it... He has "Screw him up so cheerily" with "walk" as an alternative. No Chile... cool!

Regards


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY RILEY
From: MartinRyan
Date: 17 Apr 02 - 07:54 PM

Mind you... Hugill also glosses "shebang" as "Irish name for a shack where illicit whiskey was distilled"! So don't believe everything you read in bibles!

Regards


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY RILEY
From: Noreen
Date: 18 Apr 02 - 08:16 AM

*grin*

so cheerily doesn't sound the sort of thing that salty sea dogs would sing... is this something else that Hugill has Bowdlerised, I wonder? (From something else rather than Chile or cheerily, I mean.)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY RILEY
From: GUEST,Charley Noble
Date: 18 Apr 02 - 08:33 AM

"So cheerily doesn't sound the sort of thing that salty sea dogs would sing."

"Cheerily" is, indeed, an expression traditional sailors would use, or their officers, as meaning "with a will" or "quickly." There is even a hayyard shanty called "Cheerily."

Cheerily,
Charley Noble,
Roll & Go


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY RILEY
From: Ian
Date: 18 Apr 02 - 08:44 AM

I too have vague memories of a song Billy Riley about the progress through life/work of a man from leaving school through an apprenticeship ending with the only line i remember "your the gaffer Billy Reily"

Heard in Stoke Folk Club in the late 60s sung by Eric Wain.

Can anyone help with this one


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY RILEY
From: Ian
Date: 18 Apr 02 - 08:44 AM

I too have vague memories of a song Billy Riley about the progress through life/work of a man from leaving school through an apprenticeship ending with the only line i remember "your the gaffer Billy Reily"

Heard in Stoke Folk Club in the late 60s sung by Eric Wain.

Can anyone help with this one


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY RILEY
From: Noreen
Date: 18 Apr 02 - 08:56 AM

Thanks, Charley, I shall learn this cheerily!

Noreen


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY RILEY
From: Dead Horse
Date: 18 Apr 02 - 01:42 PM

They used Jackscrews to pack the cotton into the holds of vessels, to ram them up tight and so get more in the cargo hold. Lots of negroes were used in this labour, and their chants turned into shanties when the sailors used them for other jobs, often the *tune* remained and the words were changed to suit Sailor John. Negroes formed a large part of the crew of some vessels, and took their chants to sea with them, and a hell of a lot of "white mans shanties" had negro origins.
I don't think the Blackball Line had similar origins......... ;-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY RILEY
From: Snuffy
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 08:44 AM

Apparently anyone singing "to Chile" has got it directly or indirectly from a mis-hearing of Jim Mageean. At Bromyard last weekend he told me he actually sang "so cheerily", but many people could not make out the right words.

WassaiL! V


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY RILEY
From: GUEST,AR282
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 07:39 PM

Johnny Collins appears to say "so cheerily."

A. L. Lloyd also has a line about being bound for Antigua.

Screws are the props of the ship but few ships from that time period had them.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY RILEY
From: Ferrara
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 10:31 PM

Ye Mariners All sing, I *think,* "Old Billy Riley, he was the boarding master" rather than dancing master. Makes more sense. Suspect that was the original, then it changed to "dancing master" as the years went by.

Here's their version:

Old Billy Riley, Mr. Billy Riley (Old Billy Riley Oh! etc.)

Old Billy Riley, he was the boarding master (etc)

Old Mrs. Riley, she didn't like the sailors (etc.)

Old Billy Riley, he had a lovely daughter (etc)

He had a lovely daughter, I wish I could have caught her (etc)

Old Billy Riley, Mr. Billy Riley (etc.)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY RILEY
From: Sarah the flute
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 03:33 AM

Bonnie, I remember you singing that song with Packie at Croydon FC in the Ship many years ago and thought it was lovely. It was a memorable night when Packie demonstrated the art of playing two whistles simultaneously through what looked like a shower attatchment. Good to hear you're thinking of rerecording the song tho

Sarah


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY RILEY
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 06:04 AM

Thanks for the kind words!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY RILEY
From: Noreen
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 09:40 AM

Rita, dancing master seems to me to fit in with other similar references in shanties where the captain (or whoever else the crew are being rude about) is described as having a soft job on shore before he went to sea.

see Reuben Ranzo:

Ranzo was no sailor,
He was a New York tailor


(lots of other derogatory folk references to tailors- but I'm starting thread drift within one post!)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BILLY RILEY
From: Dead Horse
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 02:34 PM

It is most definately "cheerily" but it is pronounced "cheer'ly", and that is where the confusion stems from.
"Screw him up" is an expression used aboard sailing vessels and means tighten up. It probably comes from the use of Jack Screws, which were employed to stow cargo as tightly as possible below decks - usually cotton bales, but other bulky stuff as well.
Dancing Master is correct, the switch to Boarding Master is most amusing, and speaks more about folk clubs wanting to do "the right thing" and so completely missing the point.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Billy Riley (chantey)
From: GUEST,bubbles
Date: 08 Mar 11 - 05:06 PM

have loved this song for years . It does sound like very old ,quaint song.Where is Binnie from? this is the only song i know that she done and i would love to know more about her. If you are out there Bonnie tell us about yourself1


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Billy Riley (chantey)
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 09 Mar 11 - 04:21 PM

Sorry, I've only just now seen this thread! I'm originally from California, lived for a few years in Boston, then moved to London and now live on the south coast of Ireland, still playing harp & singing. I'm delighted you like the song - Jackie Oates has made a fine recording of it. My apologies for not replying sooner - not sure why I missed this thread - ??? Many thanks and all the best, Bonnie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Billy Riley (chantey)
From: doc.tom
Date: 10 Mar 11 - 05:38 AM

It's Cheerily - but pronounced chee'ly - hence sounding like Chile - and of course, there's the shanty Cheer'ly Man (or men if you prefer the derivatives)just to prove it's a sailor's phrase. Absolutely - with a will.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Billy Riley (chantey)
From: Lighter
Date: 10 Mar 11 - 12:15 PM

The song was popularized by Lloyd on the Tradition LP "Blow Boys Blow" (ca1961).

It looks as though he found it in C. F. Smith's collection of shanties, then improved the words slightly.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Billy Riley (chantey)
From: GUEST,Malcolm Speake
Date: 13 Sep 12 - 04:37 PM

I think the line 'Oh Missy Riley, screw her up so cheer'ly' could be a double entendre. The men were packing the cargo below deck and thinking about what they would like to do with pretty Missy Riley. Compared to Stan Hugill this is very clean.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Billy Riley (chantey)
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 13 Sep 12 - 05:14 PM

> Compared to Stan Hugill this is very clean.

But compared to what exactly?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Billy Riley (chantey)
From: Dead Horse
Date: 14 Sep 12 - 05:31 AM

"I think the line 'Oh Missy Riley, screw her up so cheer'ly' could be a double entendre."
Penny dropping is it?
It is just that sort of expression that gives this shanty a lift above more somber numbers. A good shanty is one that gets the men to work together with a will and with hopefully a bit of humour.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Billy Riley (chantey)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 14 Sep 12 - 08:37 AM

Always enjoyed this one.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 24 July 9:00 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.