Jon says, “I learned this from the McGarrigles so I guess it’s a Canadian version. I also used to sing Tom’s Gone To Hilo but this rather superseded it.” Both names seem to occur in versions of this, although try as I might I can’t get anything definitive about it. It seems that Hilo is the Peruvian port of Ilo (actually pronounced Ee-low apparently), but there seem to be numerous minor lyrical variations and also other very similar songs. I did find this on the sleeve note’s of a Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem CD.
“A halyard shanty often called Tommy’s Gone to Hilo.” Other versions which state that “Hilo town is in Peru” lend support to the belief that the reference is to the Peruvian port of Ilo and that the shanty may have been popularized in the nitrate trade. (This info I got from one of Paul Clayton’s albums, Days of Moby Dick.)”
If anyone can rootle out any further information, please feel free to add below. I must say the piano also caught me off guard, although I rather like it and it adds a completely different tone that we haven’t experienced on here so far.
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