"Spanish Ladies" by Peg-Leg Dundee featuring The Bilge Rats

February 19, 2010 2:48 AM

An 18th century sea-shanty from around the time, allegedly, of the Battle of Trafalgar ("Kiss me Hardy....no,no I mean hardly"). Featuring indispensible and splendid contributions from uncleozzy (unhinged Robert Newton-esque vocal and accordion) and chococat (tracked vocal). Now....be careful you don't catch your clewgarnets in your flys...

If anyone else is thinking of contributing, feel free. I can do another mix with additions - although I only have 12 tracks at 24-bit so things are getting a little tight, and I try to avoid bouncing tracks if poss because it tends to limit scope for mixing.

I have a varispeeded version of this that's a little faster. I chose the original speed because somehow the sound quality is better - probably subjective, but whatever.

Martin D28
Martin J16-12
Korg Triton LE
Uncleozzy's accordion


Farewell and adieu ye fair Spanish Ladies,
Farewell and adieu to you, ladies of Spain;
For we've received orders for to sail for old England,
But we hope in a short time to see you again.

We will rant and we'll roar like true British sailors,
We'll rant and we'll roar all on the salt sea.
Until we strike soundings in the channel of old England;
From Ushant to Scilly is thirty five leagues.

We hove our ship to with the wind from sou'west, boys
We hove our ship to, deep soundings to take;
'Twas forty-five fathoms, with a white sandy bottom,
So we squared our main yard and up channel did make.


The first land we sighted was called the Dodman,
Next Rame Head off Plymouth, Start, Portland and Wight;
We sailed by Beachy, by Fairlight and Dover,
And then we bore up for the South Foreland light.


Then the signal was made for the grand fleet to anchor,
And all in the Downs that night for to lie;
Let go your shank painter, let go your cat stopper!
Haul up your clewgarnets, let tacks and sheets fly!


Now let ev'ry man drink off his full bumper,
And let ev'ry man drink off his full glass;
We'll drink and be jolly and drown melancholy,
And here's to the health of each true-hearted lass.


posted by MajorDundee (21 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

Farewell and a Jew!

This is great fun, Major. Those Bilge Rats are quite a find, you definitely took this challenge.
posted by micayetoca at 4:37 AM on February 19, 2010

Wait, I thought we were all doing crazy pirate voices. Now my face is red (and not just from "drink[ing] off [my] full bumper").

I've been singing this song all week, by the way. It's wickedly catchy. And I know it's an odd thing to pick on, but I really like the tambourine.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:24 AM on February 19, 2010

Thanks mica - your comment reminds me of my favourite Jewish gag set aboard an aircraft or similar. Steward: "Are you comfortable?" Cohen: "I make a living".

Sorry if you feel exposed as a raving piratical nutcase ozzy!! I was hoping for more bonkers contributions, but none materialised (and I lost patience). But, hey, as barking mad vocals go, it's up there with the very best. Seriously - your vocal makes this in my view because I sing it quite straight and so does chococat, and you bring a much-needed levity to proceedings. Also the accordion was a masterstroke. It really brings the whole thing together. So - hold your head up!!
posted by MajorDundee at 5:53 AM on February 19, 2010

Oh and I agree about the catchiness - it's really fucking bizarre - can't get it out of my head. I woke up in the night during the week and, yup, there it was blaring away like some infernal, endless tape loop...
posted by MajorDundee at 6:15 AM on February 19, 2010

Oh man, I totally fell down on this. Love the extra voices in the mix, guys. I'll try to get you a vox track for 2.0, MD.
posted by cortex at 8:15 AM on February 19, 2010

Ya, I re-did mine a few times, trying to get more shouty, but despite my efforts it still sounded so...me. I found the hardest part was singing the word "BRI-TISH" like that, as opposed to our North American, lazy "Briddish."
And I also could not get this out of my head. Last night at 3 I got up to let the dog out and there it was.
posted by chococat at 8:29 AM on February 19, 2010

Oh, Ozzy I didn't realize it was you on accordian. Totally rocks.
posted by chococat at 8:30 AM on February 19, 2010

I think--although I'm not entirely sure--that my accordion is only on the right side. The left is still the Korg... is that right? I'll be honest: the thing is a pain in the ass to play, and the switch from I to vi is miserable if you're not at least somewhat well-practiced (which I am not). What I sent was a 16-bar loop that had more punches than a prizefight.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:10 PM on February 19, 2010

What I found fascinating with this was how incredibly different the voices are. I know that sounds like a statement of the bleedin' obvious, but it kind of confirmed to me why my voice often doesn't work very well in a "rock" setting, whereas both ozzy's and chococat's do really well there. I'm a baritone verging into bass in my lower registers whereas you're both tenors. And a tenor will cut through a rock/pop mix far better than a deeper voice - something to do with frequencies, I'd hazard....but I might just be shit singer (heh)! Makes me wonder though about exploring new territory in terms of singing.........horses for courses etc
posted by MajorDundee at 12:13 PM on February 19, 2010

a 16-bar loop that had more punches than a prizefight
I hear you. I have a really old Hohner concertina (I think that's what you call the small ones?) from my German mother-in-law that is such a bitch to play I don't even bother any more. Between the pumping and the fingering (that's what she said!) it takes hours and countless punch-ins for me to co-ordinate it and get anything useable. Does sound nice when I get it, though. But the "Phoney Hohner" patch on my Moog is almost as good.

And a tenor will cut through a rock/pop mix far better than a deeper voice
That's the challenge I felt doing that track. When I listened to the playback of my voice with yours I sounded like a fucking eunuch.
posted by chococat at 1:21 PM on February 19, 2010

ozzy - yup, the Korg is still there. I put yours on and panned it right, and it was "oh yes indeed...". So I left the pair of them - works well I think?

choco - you have great voice man, and I really enjoy your material and your vocal always sounds good. My problem is that my voice is, I'm fast coming to realise, just not suited to pop/rock because it's too........dense? low? middly?? I dunno. But you voice on this track complimented mine and ozzy's really beautifully. Kind of serendipity really - a lucky shot. I mean it sounds like more than three guys singing right? That's one reason why I uploaded almost as soon as I got yours - it was enough. More voices would topple the thing over into mud. So another lesson for me here was the reaffirmation that we're in the business of creating "aural illusion". I mean there's only twelve tracks in the multitrack - but it sounds really full and like there's more there than there really is.
posted by MajorDundee at 2:36 PM on February 19, 2010

This is awesome! Your voice is just right for this, Major - not very piratey, I'll grant you, but you need a bit of low-end power for a sailing song. I really fancy doing a vocal track for this too now - how would you feel about a harmony line on the chorus, or is that not what salty seadogs do?
posted by ZsigE at 4:30 PM on February 19, 2010

While I'm sad to have missed this voyage I must say that you mates sound GREAT! Tipping me hat to uncleozzy for the accordian...that really sets this thing off.

Good show!
posted by snsranch at 5:31 PM on February 19, 2010

ZsigE - chococat did a harmony vocal, but I didn't use it. Not because there was anything wrong with it musically (choco isn't capable of doing anything clunky musically), but it tended to dissipate the power of the chorus. It immediately made things muddy and unfocussed. Like I said in an earlier comment, this track is as "full" as it can be without falling over. But, hey, if you want to do a chorus along with cortex, I'm happy to do a v.2 of it - what the hell, it's good fun.

Thanks sns - I was hoping for a vocal from you too............:-( Not too late....
posted by MajorDundee at 2:05 AM on February 20, 2010

This is great fun - you really capture the shanty spirit. Nicely done.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:30 AM on February 20, 2010

This is fun to sing and play my banjo along with. In fact, this song inspires me - I'm going to learn and start playing banjo sea shanties. Maybe a tin whistle, too.
posted by ctmf at 11:27 AM on February 21, 2010

This is terrific. All of your voices sound great together. You guys are the Asia of metafilter music, except that you sound good.
posted by umbĂș at 8:24 PM on February 21, 2010

Well.....it was just the heat of the moment...
posted by MajorDundee at 12:53 AM on February 22, 2010

Damn, I missed my chance to conrtribute. It came out great!
Now to drink off my full bumper.

posted by not_on_display at 2:53 PM on February 23, 2010

Nifty. I will be using this to get my English Concertina shanty-skills up to pirate-par.
posted by LucretiusJones at 10:15 PM on February 28, 2010

I just watched Jaws again, this past weekend, for the first time in years.
I had to laugh at this part, which I'd totally forgotten about.
posted by chococat at 12:52 PM on May 5, 2010

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