Reuben Ranzo

DESCRIPTION: Shanty. Characteristic line: "Ranzo, boys, Ranzo." Typically concerns the life of Reuben Ranzo, a landlubber who "was no sailor" but wound up aboard ship and had to learn fast -- or, perhaps, had enough schooling to turn to navigation
AUTHOR: unknown
KEYWORDS: shanty sailor
REFERENCES (25 citations):
Doerflinger-SongsOfTheSailorAndLumberman, pp. 23-25, "Reuben Ranzo" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Peters-FolkSongsOutOfWisconsin, p. 104, "Reuben Ranzo" (1 text, 1 tune)
Morris-FolksongsOfFlorida, #23, "Ranzo's Son" (1short text, 1 tune)
Walton/Grimm/Murdoch, pp. 63-64, "Reuben Ranzo" (1 text, 1 tune)
Bone-CapstanBars, pp. 54-56, "Ranzo" (1 text, 1 tune)
Colcord-SongsOfAmericanSailormen, p. 70, "Reuben Ranzo" (1 text, 1 tune)
Harlow-ChantyingAboardAmericanShips, pp. 89-91, "Reuben Ranzo" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hugill-ShantiesFromTheSevenSeas, pp. 240-244 "Reuben Ranzo" (2 texts & fragments, 1 tune - second text is in Swedish & English) [AbEd, pp. 175-178]
Hugill-SongsOfTheSea, p. 126, "Reuben Ranzo" (1 text, 1 tune)
Sharp-EnglishFolkChanteys, XXXII, p. 37, "Poor Old Reuben Ranzo" (1 text, 1 tune)
Kinsey-SongsOfTheSea, pp. 96-98, "Reuben Ranzo" (1 text, 1 tune)
Linscott-FolkSongsOfOldNewEngland, pp. 144-146, "Reuben Renzo" (1 text, 1 tune)
Shay-AmericanSeaSongsAndChanteys, pp. 50-53, "Reuben Ranzo" (1 text, 1 tune)
Mackenzie-BalladsAndSeaSongsFromNovaScotia 101, "Reuben Ranzo" (1 text)
Pottie/Ellis-FolksongsOfTheMaritimes, pp. 76-77, "Reuben Ranzo" (1 text, 1 tune)
Terry-TheShantyBook-Part1, #22, "Reuben Ranzo" (1 text, 1 tune)
Finger-FrontierBallads, pp. 143-144, "Reuben Ranzo" (1 text, 1 tune)
Botkin-TreasuryOfNewEnglandFolklore, pp. 560-561, "Reuben Renzo" (1 text, 1 tune)
Darling-NewAmericanSongster, pp. 313-314, "Reuben Ranzo" (1 text)
Silber/Silber-FolksingersWordbook, p. 83, "Reuben Ranzo" (1 text)
Zander/Klusmann-CampSongsNThings, p. 36, "Reuben Ranzo" (1 text, 1 tune)
Zander/Klusmann-CampSongsPopularEdition, p. 38, "Reuben Ranzo" (1 text)
OneTuneMore, p. 28, "Reuben Ranzo" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: Captain John Robinson, "Songs of the Chantey Man," a series published July-August 1917 in the periodical _The Bellman_ (Minneapolis, MN, 1906-1919). A fragment of "Reuben Ranso" is in Part 2, 7/21/1917.

Roud #3282
Noble B. Brown, "Reuben Ranzo" (AFS, 1946; on LC26)
cf. "Brindisi Di Marinai' (tune)
Brindisi Di Marinai (File: Hugi245)
NOTES [182 words]: Linscott-FolkSongsOfOldNewEngland speculates that "Renzo" is a corruption of "Lorenzo," which is at least reasonable -- but then comments that "It is probable too that Lorenzo may be a mythical hero." For this supposition there is not a shred of evidence that I can find.
Hugill mentions the "Lorenzo" possibility, but notes that "Reuben" doesn't fit well in that case. He lists three other theories: That it refers to the Danish sailor Daniel Rantzau, that it was an Eastern European Jew with a name like Reuben Ronzoff, or that Reuben derives from the description "Rube" for an inexperienced hand. Evidemce is, of course, lacking.
The ending also varies; Terry mentions Ranzo marrying the Captain's daughter, or being thrown overboard (and having additional adventures undersea), and him being flogged as a thief.
Bone-CapstanBars, who has the virtue of actually getting this from sailors, was "inclined to think that [Ranzo] was born in the word alone," that is, that it's an invented name that works well in this context, noting that the word somehow seems to suit the action of hauling. - RBW
Last updated in version 6.3
File: Doe023

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