Sweet Rosie Anna
DESCRIPTION: Rosie Anna knows that when the steamboat comes to pick up men for the harvest the singer will leave for the harvest and not return until payday. He sings "farewell my darling child I won't be home tomorrow"
EARLIEST DATE: 1960 (LomaxCD1701)
KEYWORDS: farewell home parting separation harvest ship work floatingverses nonballad shanty worksong
FOUND IN: US(SE)
REFERENCES (1 citation):
GarrityBlake, pp. 99-100, ("Bye-bye sweet Rosianna") (1 text)
Bright Light Quartet, "Sweet Roseanne" (on LomaxCD1701)
Menhaden Fishermen, "Sweet Rosie Anna" (on USMenhaden01)
All hands led by Northern Neck Chantey Singers, "Sweet Rose Anna" (on USMenhaden02)
NOTES [223 words]: GarrityBlake, LomaxCD1701, USMenhaden01 and USMenhaden02 have "Sweet Rosie Anna" as a menhaden chantey. See the notes to "Help Me to Raise Them" for information about menhaden chanteys.
Whatever the origin of this song, the menhaden fishermen made it their own. They see the harvest as their time at sea harvesting -- fishing for -- menhaden. The "steamboat coming around the curve" is not a river boat but the fishing ship they will sign on. "Sweet Rosie Anna" on USMenhaden01 is performed as a menhaden call and response chantey; for example, "bye-bye bye-bye and I go below BYE-BYE SWEET ROSIE ANNA (chatter) bye-bye bye-bye and I go below I WON'T BE HOME TOMORROW (chatter)" where: lower case is the chanteyman calling the verse line; upper case is the crew's response; "(chatter)" is directions called out by the crew about hauling.
Both USMenhaden01 and USMenhaden02 have a floater line that usually answers "I've got a girl in Baltimore" (as in "Li'l Liza Jane"?): "The streetcar runs right by her door" (see E.C. Perrow, "Songs and Rhymes from the South" in The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 26, No. 109 (Apr-Jun 1913 (available online by JSTOR)), #iv.30.1 p. 156, footnote: "I have heard a large number of more or less obscene verses ... such as those that follow the lead of" the "... Baltimore ... streetcar ..." verse). - BS
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