Five of the songs are traditional
shanties. Felicia's saucy singing of the French song "Roulez" is a highlight,
as is Jerry Bryant's "Harbo and Samuelson," the inspiring true story of two
Norwegian oystermen who rowed to France in the early part of this century.
"If you thought that the sea never gave up her treasures, then think again.
Port of Dreams is just that, a treasure chest of traditional and contemporary
songs with nautical themes. ...A must for all lovers of sea songs!"
- Harbourfolk News, Nova Scotia, 1994
The Saltpetre Shanty
2. Tow Rope Girls
3. Inside Every Sailor
5. Heave, Boys, Away
6. The Gallant Frigate Amphitrite
7. Three Bourrées
8. Harbo & Samuelson
9. The Clumsy Lover
10. John Damaray
11. The Female Rambling Sailor
12. Hooker John
13. Port of Dreams
Bransle De Bourgogne,
George Sands, Last Chance
HARBO AND SAMUELSON
© Jerry Bryant
In Brooklyn, New York,
at the turn of the century,
Lived two young Norwegians
so brave and so bold,
Frank Samuelson only halfway
through his twenties,
George Harbo had just become
thirty years old.
Now, Harbo had spent all his life on the water,
He shipped in square riggers when only a lad,
His partner likewise was no stranger to working,
No matter the task he gave all that he had.
That year a rich publisher offered a challenge,
That men in a vessel no matter the size,
Couldn’t cross the Atlantic
without steam or canvas,
Ten thousand dollars he named as the prize.
Now dredging up oysters by hand is no picnic,
And these two Norwegians were tough as a whip.
Says Frank, “If we row only four miles an hour,
In fifty-four days we could finish the trip.”
“We’ll see you in France
or we’ll see you in Heaven,”
Cried Harbo and Samuelson out on the bay,
Two hardy young oystermen after adventure,
And no one believed they could row all the way.
Obtaining a sponsor
they started their training,
They ordered a dory of cedar and oak.
Just eighteen feet long
with a draft of eight inches,
Fox was the name of their cockleshell boat.
On the sixth day of June,
eighteen-ninety and six,
Messrs. Harbo and Samuelson started to row.
They took food and water to last them till August,
And the newspapers said
they were foolish to go.
From the slips of Manhattan
they rowed through the narrows,
Out onto the gulf stream and over the deep,
Each day they would row
eighteen hours together,
At night they took turns
getting three hours sleep.
Their stove wouldn’t light
so they ate cold provisions,
Their arms and their legs
became swollen and cramped.
The odd passing vessel that took them on board ,
Was their only relief from the cold and the damp.
Then out on the Grand Banks
the weather attacked them,
The wind humped the water
into mountainous waves.
They lashed down their oars
and tied on their lifelines
And prayed they were not going
straight to their graves.
Then out of the dark came a monstrous wave,
Capsizing the Fox and her terrified crew,
Their lifelines held fast,
but they lost half their water,
And most of their food it was swept away, too.
They carefully rationed the little remaining,
Praying for help as they rowed o’er the brine,
Then, out in the distance they spied a tall ship,
With the colors of Norway a floating behind.
The Captain could not be convinced
they weren’t crazy,
But he gave them supplies
and they went on their way.
By the lines on the charts
they were half-way to Europe,
But now they must row sixty miles every day.
The weather held fair
and the two men kept pulling,
All through each long day
and far into each night,
Then early one morning before the sun rose,
Far out on the horizon they spotted a light.
On August the first they made land off St. Mary’s,
On the south coast of England
just by Bishop’s Rock,
In amazement the townsfolk
gathered down by the water,
Where Harbo and Samuelson barely could walk.
Most men would have stopped there
to bask in the glory,
After having been sunbeaten,
capsized and starved,
But they were both back in their boat
the next morning,
And in less than a week they arrived at Le Havre.
So those of you listening
who yearn for adventure,
Like Harbo and Samuelson so long ago,
Like them, be prepared for the task you are facing,
They were not only brave
but by God they could row!