Official TLOPO Music Roll The Old Chariot

Tyler Grow

TLOPO Staff
History
Also called The Golden Chariot, We'll Roll The Old Chariot, and more famously "Nelson's Blood".

Roll The Old Chariot is generally accepted to be of African American origins but as with many folk songs, a definitive source is difficult to be certain of. As for the dynamic of this song, it is a "Stamp-and-go kind of shanty" with verses being added where needed. Examples of verses being added could be a: Glass of hot whisky, nice fat cook, a bowl of Irish stew, etc. This was useful because the shanty was mostly sung during long voyages while sailors would be performing heavy labor around the ship.

Also, the alternative title to this song called: "Nelson's Blood" is thought to be acquired from the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Now what follows is most likely fictional, but according to most sources the origins for the name of "Nelson's Blood" follows the story that Nelson's dead corpse was put into a rum barrel to preserve it for the voyage back home to London. When the ship docked it was discovered that most of the crew had drunk the rum that Nelson's body was inside and was therefore known as "Nelson's Blood."

There are many different versions of the song that have been recorded. Most notably the David Coffin version has made this song popular.


The TLOPO Version
Composed By: Tyler Grow
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Sung by: Matt Espinoza
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Roll The Old Chariot has melodically stayed true to sea shanty we know today. There are some unique aspects of the sound we decided to change up. Most notably, it's no longer strictly a one-person singing kind of shanty. I preferred if the song had a "forward motion" beat to it so that listeners would always have the feeling of moving forward. To accomplish that I used a 3 beat progression with Ethnic African lion drums, and a guitar melody that walks down the c major scale after each chorus. You'll also notice some other instruments added in our song that makes this shanty completely excluded from being a "lyrical only shanty."

And yes, our song is in the key of C Major.


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Above is a screenshot of my Logic Pro Session where you can see the instruments used in this session. We have the 3-beat drum progression on the top, tambourines, the TLOPO Choir, Matt's voice, some woodwind, 2 banjos, 3 guitars, and at the bottom, you'll see the melody guitar which is muted. We used this guitar as a sort of "demo" for Matt to sing over when he was recording to be able to keep in tempo with where he should be at in the song.

This brings me to the next thing I want to talk about which is introducing you to the TLOPO Choir. Did you know TLOPO had a choir? We do! Well, not really. But in the song, you'll notice a background chorus singing. These are not virtual instruments, but a live group of people singing for a sea shanty to be put into TLOPO. Meet them below!


They aren't a real professional choir, but gotta give them props! They were able to sing the notes: A and G perfectly on the spot.

By the way, if you aren't a music buff... D-minor (which is the first chord of the song) has the note A in it, and G which is apart of the second chord has C Major attached to it.

So basically Matt was singing down the D-minor and C major chords while the TLOPO choir was holding the perfect fifth of each the respective chords. (Which are A and G).

I decided to use a choir of people because in most sea shanties (and I mean the very good ones) you'll hear more than one person singing. Whether it be a trio behind the main vocalist, or it would be a full-on chorus of people (Mostly can be found at events). So really we only wanted the most AUTHENTIC experience for our TLOPO listeners, after all The Golden Chariot is presumably one of the best sea shanties out there.

Lyrically, this sea shanty is completely different than any other version out there. We followed the basic outline for the beginning which was "Oh a [insert line here] wouldn't do us any harm." However, instead, we used TLOPO language for the song to make the shanty more "relatable" to those who play the game. Roll The Old Chariot was flexible enough as a shanty to be able to this since its a "Stamp and-go" kind of lyrical song. There really isn't another song that is dynamically like this, so this is the only shanty that will have it's lyrics dramatically altered to cater towards TLOPO.


Check out the song below!
Lyrics:
Oh, a drop of Beckett’s blood wouldn't do us any harm
Oh, a drop of Beckett’s blood wouldn't do us any harm
Oh, a drop of Beckett’s blood wouldn't do us any harm
And we'll all hang on behind.

So we'll roll the old chariot along
An' we'll roll the golden chariot along.
So we'll roll the old chariot along
An' we'll all hang on behind!

Oh, a run to Black Sam’s wouldn’t do us any harm
Oh, a run to Black Sam’s wouldn't do us any harm
Oh, a run to Black Sam’s wouldn't do us any harm
And we'll all hang on behind.

So we'll roll the old chariot along
An' we'll roll the golden chariot along.
So we'll roll the old chariot along
An' we'll all hang on behind!

Oh, to catch Speedy Lou wouldn't do us any harm
An, to catch Speedy Lou wouldn't do us any harm
Oh, to catch Speedy Lou wouldn't do us any harm

And we'll all hang on behind. So we'll roll the old chariot along
An' we'll roll the golden chariot along.
So we'll roll the old chariot along
An' we'll all hang on behind!

Oh, Calypso would be fair, if we found a chest of skulls.
Oh, Calypso would be fair, if we found a chest of skulls
Oh, Calypso would be fair, if we found a chest of skulls
And we'll all hang on behind!

So we'll roll the old chariot along
An' we'll roll the golden chariot along.
So we'll roll the old chariot along
An' we'll all hang on behind!

Oh, a night in King’s Arm wouldn't do us any harm
Oh, a night in King’s Arm wouldn't do us any harm
Oh, a night in King’s Arm wouldn't do us any harm
And we'll all hang on behind!

So we'll roll the old chariot along
An' we'll roll the golden chariot along.
So we'll roll the old chariot along
An' we'll all hang on behind!

If Jolly Roger in the way, we’ll roll it over him
Oh, if Jolly Roger in the way, we’ll roll it over him
An, if Jolly Roger in the way, we’ll roll it over him
And we'll all hang on behind.

So we'll roll the old chariot along
An' we'll roll the golden chariot along.
So we'll roll the old chariot along
An' we'll all hang on behind!
 
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squintz

Pirate Lord
Beautiful job. I've forgotten that music theory itself is a language and you speak it like my mechanic talking about changing the brakes or me about video production.
It's understandable, yet foreign. Your first three sentences were what got me. I have no clue what singing down while holding the perfect fifth means, but you write so second nature and that makes me more intrigued to learn.
Very nice job all around.

But, what does rolling the golden chariot mean in um, non pirate terms?
 

Tyler Grow

TLOPO Staff
Beautiful job. I've forgotten that music theory itself is a language and you speak it like my mechanic talking about changing the brakes or me about video production.
It's understandable, yet foreign. Your first three sentences were what got me. I have no clue what singing down while holding the perfect fifth means, but you write so second nature and that makes me more intrigued to learn.
Very nice job all around.

But, what does rolling the golden chariot mean in um, non pirate terms?
Or it could mean I just didn't write it out the best way I could have! Definitely is a little hard to explain but I did my best! Thank you.

Regarding your last question, I've heard from some sources the word "chariot" could also mean bilge pump.
 

squintz

Pirate Lord
Oh no, you did just fine. Specially the music work. It's just everyone does something they understand and it has a language all it's own, be it mechanics, airline repair, bio sciense whatever. And it rolled off the top of your head which you take for granted like a second language you speak. It's reading something like that again just makes me think I need to pay more attention to other things in life.

Music itself is universal to the listener, speaking it, not so much. Sorry to go weirdly off topic.

Personally, I think your work is pro Disney quality. I hope that isn't an insult.
 

Captain Cat

Honorable Pirate
A simply wonderful job creating a new Tavern favorite! I've been wondering for awhile who was behind this piece, and I enjoyed reading some of the story behind it. Bravo!

:cheers:
 
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