Cape Ann

TITLE: Cape Ann
AUTHOR
: unknown
CATEGORY: traditional, public domain
KEYWORDS: comic, hunting, nonsense
EARLIEST DATE: 1613 (broadside, “Choice of Inventions)
HISTORICAL REFERENCES: None, although Lomax says it is reminiscent of the exaggeration’s colonists made about the American colonies.

429px-The_Two_Noble_Kinsmen_by_John_Fletcher_William_Shakespeare_1634Cape Ann is a comic song about three jolly (Frenchmen/Welshmen/other) who go hunting. Periodically they see things (barn, frog, moon) which they cannot identify. In each case they propound their theories and move on. Finally they see an owl. One says it is the “evil one”; they flee

What appears to be a stanza of this song is quoted in the play The Two Noble Kinsmen (c. 1611).  The Two Noble Kinsmen is a Jacobean tragicomedy, first published in 1634 and attributed to John Fletcher and William Shakespeare In III.v.67-71, immediately after singing a snatch of “The George Aloe and the Sweepstake,” the mad jailer’s daughter sings,

There was three fools, fell out about an howlet,
The one sed it was an owl, the other he sed nay,
The third he sed it was a hawk,
and her bels were cut away.

OTHER TITLES AND VARIATIONS:

  • Cape Ann
  • The Englishman, Irishman and Scotsman
  • It’s Hunting We Will Go
  • Lookie There!
  • Looky There Now
  • Look Ye There, Now
  • The Three Hunters
  • The Three Huntsmen
  • Three Jolly Hunters
  • Three Jolly Huntsmen
  • Three Jovial Huntsmen
  • Three Jovial Welshmen
  • Three Little Hunters
  • Three Men of Gotham
  • Three Men Went a-Hunting
  • ‘Twas of Three Jolly Welshmen
  • The Two Noble Kinsmen
  • We Hunted and We Halloed
  • We Hunted and We Hallowed
  • We Went Along a Bit Further
  • We Whooped and We Hollered

RECORDINGS:

  • Jim Douglas, “Cape Ann”—Amazon MP3
  • David Jones, “Cape Ann”—Amazon MP3
  • Jerry Garcia & David Grisman, “Three Men Went A=Hunting”—Amazon MP3
  • George Endicott, “Three Scamping Rogues”—Amazon MP3
  • A. L. Lloyd, “Three Drunken Huntsmen”—Amazon MP3
  • New Lost City Ramblers, “Three Men Went a-Hunting”—Amazon MP3

YOUTUBE VIDEO: 

YOUTUBE AUDIO: download
LYRIC & CHORD PRO CHART:
 download
PPT LYRICS FOR THE CLASSROOM: download
BONUS YOUTUBE VIDEO: Jack Connally


Cape Ann

We hunted and we halloed,
And the first thing that we found
Was a barn in the meadow
And that we left behind.
Look ye there!
One said it was a barn,
But the other said nay;
He said it was a meeting house
With the steeple blown away.
Look ye there!

So we hunted and we halloed,
And the next thing we did find
Was the moon in the element
And that we left behind.
Look ye there!
One said it was the moon,
But the other said nay;
He said it was Yankee cheese
With the one half cut away.
Look ye there!

So we hunted and we halloed,
And the next thing we did find
Was a lighthouse in Cape Ann
And that we left behind.
Look ye there!
One said it was the lighthouse,
But the other said nay;
He said it was a sugar loaf
With the paper blown away.
Look ye there!

So we hunted and we halloed,
And the next thing we did find
Was the the owl in the olive bush
And that we left behind.
Look ye there!
One said it was an owl,
But the other said nay;
He said it was the Evil One
And we all three ran away.
Look ye there! HOO! HOO! HOO!

SOURCES:

  • Traditional Ballad Index
  • Digital Tradition— 315, THREWLSH JOLLWLCH
  • Roud #283
  • Folk Song Index: A Comprehensive Guide to the Florence E. Brunnings Collection, Florence E. Brunnings, Garland Publishing, Inc., New York and London 1981—Amazon Books
  • Country Music Sources: A Biblio-Discography of Commercially Recorded Traditional Music, Guthrie T. Meade, Jr. with Dick Spottswood and Douglas S. Meade, Southern Folklife Collection, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries, NC 2002—Amazon Books
  • Folk Songs of North America (in the English Language), Alan Lomax, Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York 1960—Amazon Books
  • Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore (1952), Volume 2: Folk Ballads from North Carolina. Edited by Henry M Beldin and Arthur Palmer Hudson. Duke University Press. [This volume will be indexed on this site in the weeks to come.]
  • Baring-Gould Annotated MotherGoose #348, pp. 183-184, “(There were three jovial Welshmen)”

NOTICE: I’m not the best guitar player or vocalist, but no one loves these songs more than I do. The tune and lyrics are in the public domain unless otherwise noted. The recording © copyright 2013 by Stephen Griffith and may be used by permission of the copyright holder. The variation of the song I’m posting is the version I perform and is not exactly replicating the sources cited, but is always in the same song family. If anyone has more details about this song, or believes I’ve stated something in error, please let me know. I’m also open to suggestions to improve the site. Thanks. sgg

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