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Sloop John B


Owen Anderson
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I transcribed the melody of Sloop John B, a traditional Bahamian sailors' song, for 30 button Anglo, using gcoover's tablature. This is not the Beach Boys version, but takes the melody as captured in the American Songbag from 1927, which is the earliest sheet music for it I can find. I *believe* the melody itself should be out of copyright. The American Songbag has only 1 year left in copyright, and in its text it acknowledges that it is a record of a pre-existing melody. I suppose the full piano arrangement is copyrighted until Jan 1, 2023.

 

The melody makes use of several accidentals, as  well as requiring some use of alternate fingerings for B/c to try to keep the bellows reasonably balanced. This is a good bit trickier than anything I've transcribed for Anglo before, so feedback welcome.

 

X:1
T:Sloop John B
M:4/4
L:1/16
Q:1/4=100
K:G
D D | B B2 ^A B2 c2 B4 z2 D2 | B3 B B2 c2 B8 |
w: *  *  | *  *  \_  \_ *   \_ \_ |  *  *  *  \_ * |
w: L7 L7 | L9 L9 L5a L9 R1a L9 L3a | L9 L9 L9 L9 L9 |
w: Oh, we come on the sloop John B., My gran'-fad-er an' me.
B4 B2 c2 d4 (3(B2A2)G2 | A8 z4 (3D2E2F2 | G8 z2 G2 (3G2A2B2 |
w: \_ \_ *  \_ \_ \_ *  | \_ \_ *  \_ |  *  *  * \_ \_ |
w: R1 R1 R1 R2 R1 L5 L5 | L5 L3 L4 L7 | L5 L5 L5 L5 R1 |
w: Round Nas-sau Town we* did roam, Drink-ing all night, we got in a
c8 z4 c4 | B2 A2 G B3 B4 (3A2A2A2 | G8 z4 D4 |]
w: *  *  | \_ \_ *  \_ \_ \_ \_ \_ | *  * |
w: R1 R1 | R1 L5 L5 R1 R1 L5 L5 L5 | L5 L7 |
w: fight, I feel so break-up I want to go home! So
B B2 ^A B2 c2 B4 z4 | B B2 ^A B2 c2 B4 z4 |
w: *  *  \_  \_ *   \_ | *  *  \_  \_ *   \_ |
w: L9 L9 L5a L9 R1a L9 | L9 L9 L5a L9 R1a L9 |
w: hoist up the John B. sails, See how de main-s'l set,
B B2 ^A B B c2 d4 (3B2=A2G2 | A8 z4 (3D2E2F2 | (G8G2) z2 (3G2A2B2 |
w: *  *  \_  \_ \_ *   \_  \_ \_ *  | \_ \_ *  \_ | *  *  \_ \_ |
w: L9 L9 L5a L9 L9 R1a R1a L9 L5 L5 | L5 L3 L4 L7 | L5 L5 L5 R1 |
w: Send for de Capt'-n a-shore, Lem-me go home! Lem-me go home!_ Lem-me go
(c8c2) z2 c4 | B2 A2 G B3 B4 (3A2A2A2 | (G8G2) z6 |
w: *  *  *  | \_ \_ *  \_ \_ \_ \_ \_ | *  *  |
w: R1 R1 R1 | R1 L5 L5 R1 R1 L5 L5 L5 | L5 L5 |
w: home!_ I feel so break-up I want to go home!_

 

SloopJohnB.pdf

Edited by resistor
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36 minutes ago, resistor said:

I *believe* the melody itself should be out of copyright. The American Songbag has only 1 year left in copyright, and in its text it acknowledges that it is a record of a pre-existing melody.

 

According to Wikipedia it was published in 1916.

 

Do you know Les Barker’s parody, “The Sloop John A”?

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