Monday 5 September 2011

22: The Deck of the Baltimore

A song about a stowaway on a ship from Liverpool to New York. This version is learned from Liverpool ballad singer and former demolition worker Bruce Scott, who includes it on his album "My Colleen by the Shore". The sleeve notes for that album say that he learned it in the Criterion pub, Brunswick Road, from Noel Scanlon, a Kerryman living around West Derby Road. Stan Hugill also collected a version of this song (with the title "Bold MacCarteney") from Liverpool seaman Spike Sennit, with similar words but a rather different tune; that version was published in Spin Vol. 7 No. 4, 1969 (and recently reprinted in Bosun's Locker, a collection of Hugill's Spin contributions).

The City of Baltimore, on board of which the hero of our song stows away, was a transatlantic liner built in Glasgow and operating mostly out of Liverpool, sailing at first with the Inman Line. She made her first commercial sailing from Liverpool to Philidelphia in 1856, and was scrapped in 1885.

Versions of this song sometimes go by the title of 'The City of Baltimore' or 'Bold MacCartney' (with MacCartney being spelled in all sorts of ways, such as "MacCarteney" as seen above). It is #1800 in the Roud folksong index.

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