Heave Away, Boys, Heave Away (I)
DESCRIPTION: Shanty. "Heave away, heave away, for the merchant's money, Ch: Heave away boys, heave away!" Verses mostly about money, "Heave away for the buckra's silver," etc...
EARLIEST DATE: 1961 (Hugill); the Allen/Ware/Garrison version is from 1867 but might be any of several "Heave Away" songs
KEYWORDS: shanty worksong money
FOUND IN: West Indies
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Hugill, p. 308, "Heave Away, Boys, Heave Away" (2 texts, 2 tunes; the "a" text is this piece; "b" is "Heave Away, Boys, Heave Away (II)") [AbEd, pp. 230-231]
Allen/Ware/Garrison, p. 61, "Heave Away" (1 short text, 1 tune)
NOTES [197 words]: Hugill says this (and the other "Heave Away, Boys, Heave Away") are halyard shanties, despite the use of the word "heave" in the chorus. - SL
The easiest way to distinguish the two may be the fact that this one is in 2/4; "Heave Away, Boys, Heave Away (II)" is in 3/4.
The fragment in Allen/Ware/Garrison is so short as to be almost unclassifiable; Roud sticks it in with "Heave Away, Me Johnnies," but that seems to be simply a case of a catchall entry. I classify it here because the form fits better here than elsewhere.
One line in the Allen/Ware/Garrison text occurs occasionally elsewhere: "I'd rather court a yellow gal than work for Henry Clay." Henry Clay was, of course, one of the most important American politicians of the early nineteenth century, who was only fifteen years dead at the time Allen/Ware/Garrison picked up their text. So it might be about him, or perhaps about someone who opposed his presidential ambitions. It might also be about a different Henry Clay.
On the other hand, given that it is a sea song, there is a possibility that the line should not read "for Henry Clay," but rather "on the Henry Clay," referring to one of the ships by that name. - RBW
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