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The Press Room's Extra Voice

Inspired by "The Tryphena's Extra Hand" by C. Fox Smith

Tune: as arranged for singing by Bob Zentz as recorded on
Closehauled on the Wind of a Dream, 2007

New words by Charles Ipcar, 10/19/09

Dedicated to Barry Finn (1951-2009)

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Barry Finn leading a song at the Athenaeum, Portsmouth Maritime Festival, 2007, photographed by Judy Barrows.In the Press Room, just last evening,
The crowd was gathered there,
You could hear a concertina
Tracing out a doleful air;
And when the last verse ended,
"Good-Bye My Riley-O"
I heard a voice behind me say
These words so soft and low:

"I've sung these songs for many years,
And I've grown to love them well,
Now I've not much hopes of heaven
And I've not much use for hell:
But be so if they'll let me,
By the Great Hook-Block I swear,
When I hear you singing shanties,
My voice will be there."

"There'll be one more voice on the chorus,
One more voice on the refrain
Be it shanty or forebitter,
You'll hear my voice again;
We'll raise them old songs to the roof,
Like shellbacks used to shout,
As they hauled upon the halyards,
Or broke the mudhook out."

Was he standing in the shadows?
I thought I felt him near,
Kind o' saw him and didn't see him,
Kind o' heard him but did not hear,
And the funny thing about it
Was I somehow couldn't swear
Though I knew it sure as shooting
An Extra Voice was there.

There was one more voice on the chorus,
One more voice on the refrain
Be it shanty or forebitter,
We could hear his voice again;
We raised them old songs to the roof,
Like shellbacks used to shout,
As they hauled upon the halyards,
Or broke the mudhook out.

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Notes:

"The Tryphena's Extra Hand" by C. Fox Smith, from Full Sail: More Sea Songs and Ballads, edited by Cicely Fox Smith, published by Houghton Mifflin Co., New York, US, 1926, pp. 41-45.

"The Press Room" is a tavern in Portsmouth, NH, where Barry Finn and friends would gather every month for a sea music session.

"The Great Hook-Block" was an exclamation term used by Rudyard Kipling in Captain Courageous.

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