Bound Away on the Twilight
DESCRIPTION: "She's an iron ore vesel, a vessel of fame, She sails from Oswego and the Twilight's her name." The singer tells of saiing west to Marquette, where the singer's hands get sore loading ore. He proceeds to describe the voyage back east
EARLIEST DATE: 1933 (collected from John S. Parsons by Walton)
KEYWORDS: sailor ship travel
FOUND IN: US(MA)
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Walton/Grimm/Murdock, pp. 122-124, "Bound Away on the Twilight" (1 text)
Ed Vandenberg, "Bound Away on the Twilight" (1955; on WaltonSailors; this version, with guitar accompaniment, seems to be sung by a revival singer, not an original informant)
NOTES [308 words]: The notes to Walton/Grimm/Murdock think this is based on "Red Iron Ore," which it obviously resembled thematically. The difficulty is that its form is more typical of "The Dreadnought" [Laws D13]. Of course, Walton/Grimm/Murdock's version of "Red Iron Ore" seems to use the tune of "The Dreadnought." But at least one other Great Lakes version of "Red Iron Ore," Dean's, uses the Derry Down tune. So we have a complicated question of dependence here, which Walton/Grimm/Murdock ignore. - RBW
Solomon Foster, who has researched this song in some detail, agrees with me that "The Dreadnought" is the more significant source, and has also worked to identify the ships in the song -- in the process finding its probable date:
Twilight (bark): http://greatlakeships.org/2895979/data?n=12
Launched 1865, enrolled Oswego 1867, no record for it after that. There's only one other Twilight in the database that's a bark (which the song specifies), and this is the one from Oswego (also specified in the song).
Walker (tug): http://greatlakeships.org/2897870/data?n=2
I'm not entirely happy with this one, but the only other Walker in the database was launched 1887, which would be really late IMO. This Walker was launched 1871 and seems to have spent time in Lake Huron, which is reasonably close to the Soo Locks that the Walker works in the song.
W. S. Lyons (Schooner): http://greatlakeships.org/2901885/data?n=1
This identification is rock solid, though it only appears in one line of the song, so I guess it's possible it's a later insert to the song. Anyway, the Lyons was launched in 1866 and was wrecked on October 11, 1871.
If we take these ship IDs at face value, then "Bound Away on the Twilight" must cover events which happened 1871, as that would have been the only year the Minne Walker and the Lyons were both active. - Solomon Foster, (RBW)
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