> A.L. Lloyd > Songs > Talcahuano Girls

Spanish Ladies / Talcahuano Girls

[ Roud 687 ; Ballad Index ShH89 ; Bodleian Roud 687 ; trad.]

The Cadgwith Cove Fishermen from Cornwall sang Farewell and Adieu (We'll Rant and We'll Roar) on November 18, 1956 to Peter Kennedy in the BBC recording 23654. It was included in 1994 on the Saydisc anthology Sea Songs and Shanties.

A.L. Lloyd sang Talcahuano Girls, a song about the early 19th century Pacific sperm and right whale fishing, on his 1967 Topic album Leviathan! Ballads & Songs of the Whaling Trade. He was accompanied by Alf Edwards, English concertina; Dave Swarbrick, fiddle; Martin Carthy, mandolin; and Trevor Lucas and Martyn Wyndham-Read singing chorus. This track was also included on the French compilation Chants de Marins IV: Ballads, Complaintes et Shanties des Matelots Anglais and on the Fellside compilation CD Classic A.L. Lloyd.

A.L. Lloyd commented in the original album's sleeve notes:

The song called Spanish Ladies was on the go among seamen in Samuel Pepys' day, but by the 1840s, Captain Mattyat (author of Midshipman Easy) reported it as “now almost forgotten.” Nevertheless it survived well in countless parodies (one of them associated with Australian drovers, as it happens). The present version belongs to the rowdy South-Seamen who, particularly during the first half of the 19th century, sailed out of London and Hull to hunt the sperm whale off the coasts of Chile and Peru. Talcahuano lies south of Valparaiso in Chile; Huasco is about midway between Vallypo and Antofagasta; Tumbez is on the Gulf of Guayanquil, near the Equator: odorous ports, all three.

The Critics Group sang We'll Rand and We'll Roar at the Teatro Lirico in Milan, Italy, on April 24, 1968. This recording was published in 1970 on their Italian album Living Folk.

Jim Eldon sang Talcahuano Girls live at Folk Union One in 1969. This recording was published in the same year on the privately issued album Blue Bell Folk.

Ted Cobbin sang the derived Spithead to Keith Summers in between 1971 and 1976. It was included in 2006 on the Veteran CD of Summers' recordings of traditional folk songs, music hall songs, and tunes from Suffolk, Good Hearted Fellows. Mike Yates commented:

This parody of the song Spanish Ladies (Roud 687) sounds as though it may date from the end of the Great War (1914-18), especially if the passing reference to ‘scuttling the fleet’ refers to the event of June 21, 1919, when the German fleet of 74 vessels was scuttled at Scapa Flow in the Orkneys.

Johnny Doughty sang Spanish Ladies on his 1976 Topic LP of traditional songs from the Sussex coast, Round Rye Bay for More. This recording also included in 1998 on the Topic anthology We've Received Orders to Sail (The Voice of the People Series, Vol. 12).

Robin and Barry Dransfield sang The Talcahuano Girls in 1977 on their Free Reed album Popular to Contrary Belief. This track was also included in 1997 on their Free Reed anthology Up to Now.

Bob Roberts sang Spanish Ladies on his 1981 album Breeze for a Bargeman.

Walter Pardon sang Spanish Ladies in 1982 at his home in Knapton, Norfolk, to Mike Yates. This recording was included in between 1987 and 1995 on the Veteran Tapes cassette of English traditional singers, The Horkey Load Volume 1, and in 2001 on the Veteran anthology of traditional folk music from Coastal England, When the Wind Blows. Mike Yates commented in the latter's liner notes:

According to Cecil Sharp, “This is a Capstan Chantey (which) is also well known in the Navy, where it is sung as a song, chanteys not being permitted.” Versions have turned up all over England—probably as a result of the popularity of the broadside text printed c.1820 by John Pitts and subsequent printers—and it has proved especially popular along the eastern seaboard of North America, word sets being found repeatedly in both Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Most versions, including that sung by Walter, show little variation from the broadside text.

Strawhead sang Spanish Ladies on their 1984 Tradidional Sound Recordings album of “tales of the Elizabethan adventures” Gentlemen of Fortune.

Rhiannon sang Spanish Ladies in 1985 on their Fellside album The Birds of Rhiannon.

John Tams sang The Spanish Bride on his 1996 album of the music of the ITV series Sharpe, Over the Hills and Far Away.

Hughie Jones sang Spanish Ladies on his 1999 Fellside CD Seascape.

Faustus sang Spanish Ladies on their 2005 Fellside CD Wager.

Bill Frisell sang Spanish Ladies on the 2006 anthology of pirate ballads, sea songs and chanteys, Rogue's Gallery.

Bob Lewis sang Spanish Ladies live at the Fife Traditional Singing Festival, Collessie, Fife in May 2009. This recording was published in the following year on his festival album Drive Sorrows Away.

Tom and Barbara Brown sang Spanish Ladies in 2014 on their WildGoose CD of songs collected by Cecil Sharp in Minehead, Somerset, from Captains Lewis and Vickery, Just Another Day.. They commented in their liner notes:

Widespread, popular and supposed to be quite old—although the earliest broadside is 1845. Tom had some difficulty in learning Cpt. Lewis’s Æolian variant of the tune as both Tom’s father and the old singers in Cornwall sang the Ionian version!


Johnny Doughty sings Up the Channel (Spanish Ladies)

Farewell and adieu all ye Spanish ladies,
Farewell and adieu all ye daughters of Spain,
'Cause we've just received orders to sail for Old England
But shortly we hope to return back again.

Chorus (repeated after each verse):
And we'll rant and we'll roar like a true British sailor,
We'll rant and we'll roar across the salt sea,
Until we strike soundings in the Channel of Old England,
'Cause from Ushant from Scilly is thirty-five league.

Now the first point we made was the Eddystone lightouse,
Next Ramshead off Plymouth, Start, Portland and Wight.
And then we sailed then by Beachy, by Fairlight and Dungeness
And we bore straightaway for the South Foreland light.

Now, we hove our ship to with the wind at sou'west, my boys,
We hove our ship to for to make soundings clear.
And then we brailed the main topsail and we bore right away, my boys,
Then right up the Channel our course we did steer.

Walter Pardon sings Spanish Ladies

Farewell and adieu all you fine Spanish Ladies
Farewell and adieu you fine ladies of Spain
For we’ve received orders to sail for old England
And we hope in a short time to see you again.

Chorus (repeated after each verse):
We’ll rant and we’ll roar like true British sailors
We’ll rant and we’ll roar the rest of our lives
We’ll drink and be merry and drown melancholy
And here’s a good health to all sweethearts and wives

We hove our ship to with the wind at south west boys
We hove our ship to - two strikes soundings clear
We let go our topsails and bore right away boys
And straight up the channel our course we did steer.

The signal was made for the grand fleet to anchor
We furled our top sails stuck out tacks and sheets
We stood by our stop as we brailed in our spanker
And anchored ahead of the noblest of fleets

Then let every man drink up his full bumper
Then let every man drink up his full glass
For we will be jolly and drown melancholy
And drink a good health to each true hearted lass

A.L. Lloyd sings Talcahuano Girls

Oh, I've been a sea-cook and I've been a clipperman,
I can sing, I can dance, I can walk the jib-boom.
I can handle a harpoon and cut a fine figure
Whenever I get in a boat's standing room.

Chorus (repeated after each verse):
And we'll rant and we'll roar like trueborn young whalermen,
We'll rant and we'll roar on deck or below,
Until we see bottom inside the two sinkers,
And straight up the channel to Huasco we'll go.

I was in Talcahuano last year in a whaler.
I bought some gold brooches for the girls in the Bay.
I bought me a pipe and they called it a meerscum,
And it melted like butter on a hot shiny day.

I went to a dance one night in old Tumbez,
There was plenty of girls there as fine as you'd wish.
There was one pretty maiden a-chewing tobacco,
Just like a young kitten a-chewing fresh fish.

Here's a health to the girls of old Talcahuano,
A health to the maidens of far-off Maui.
And let you be merry, don't be melancholy;
I can't marry youse all or in chokey I'd be.


A.L. Lloyd's lyrics were copied from the Leviathan! sleeve notes.

See also the Mudcat Café threads Origins: Spanish Ladies and Lyr/Chords Req: Spanish Ladies.