Long Time Ago, A

DESCRIPTION: Shanty. Characteristic line: "[To me] way, hey, hey, yah... A long time ago." Texts vary; many have to do with the troubles of seagoing life; one complains about serving an a boat so old it "must have been the ark that Noah built..."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1906
KEYWORDS: shanty sailor ship
FOUND IN: US(MA,MW) West Indies(Bahamas,Tobago,Nevis)
REFERENCES (14 citations):
Doerflinger, pp. 37-43, "A Long Time Ago" (6 texts, 4 tunes)
Walton/Grimm/Murdock, pp. 68-69, "A Long Time Ago" (1 text, 1 tune)
Colcord, pp. 65-68, "A Long Time Ago" (1 text plus several fragments, 1 tune)
Harlow, pp. 60-62, "A Long Time Ago" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Hugill, pp.97-105, 156, 215, "A Long Time Ago," "Up, Up, My Boys, Up a Hill" (11 texts, 4 tunes. Version "C" is "In Frisco Bay", version "F" is "A-Rovin'", version "G" is "A Hundred Years Ago." Other versions borrow heavily from "Roll the Cotton Down," Blow the Man Down" and "Blackball Line") [AbEd, pp. 88-94]
Sharp-EFC, XLIV, p. 49, "A Long Time Ago" (1 text, 1 tune)
Linscott, pp. 141-142, "A Long Time Ago" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
Shay-SeaSongs, p. 48, "A Long Time Ago" (1 text, 1 tune); p. 47, "Around Cape Horn" (1 short text to the same tune)
Elder-Tobago 39, "Long Time Ago" (1 text, 1 tune)
Abrahams-WIShanties, pp. 46-47, "Long Time Ago" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-FSNA 28, "A Long Time Ago" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-ABFS, pp. 306-207, "Long Time Ago" (1 text, 1 tune)
Darling-NAS, pp. 312-313, "A Hundred Years" (1 text, with the phrase "A hundred years ago" replacing "A long time ago")
DT, (NOAHARK)

ST Doe037 (Full)
Roud #318
RECORDINGS:
Richard Maitland, "A Long Time Ago" (AFS, 1939; on LC27)
David Pryor et al: "Long Time Ago" (AAFS 505 B, 1935; on LomaxCD1822-2)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "In Frisco Bay (A Long Time Ago; Noah's Ark Shanty)" (lyrics)
cf. "Roll the Cotton Down" (tune, floating lyrics)
cf. "De Hoffnung" (tune)
cf. "Roll and Go" (refrain)
SAME TUNE:
De Hoffnung (File: Hugi104)
NOTES: In 1833 one T. Rice sang a minstrel song by this name in "The Ethiopian Opera," with the sheet music published by John Cole of Baltimore; that may well have been the ancestor of this shanty. - PJS
Last updated in version 4.0
File: Doe037

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