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The Wild Goose

17th Jun 2015 -- Helene

A traditional sea shanty from Norfolk interpreted by sisters Merle and Faron Smith who live in Dorset.

One of the great halyard shanties, seemingly better-known in English ships than American ones, though some versions of it have become crossed with the American song called Huckleberry Hunting.

Songbook editors like to classify shanties according to the task they were supposed to accompany; short drag, halyard, windlass, pump. But this one, like many others was used for any job. Sometimes it starts: “I'm the shanty man of the Wild Goose nation”, perhaps a reference to Ireland (‘wild geese’ is a name for 17th Century Irish patriots who fled their country to take service with foreign kings).

This tune was collected by W. Roy Mackenzie who got it from a seaman settled in Nova Scotia.



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