Blue Peter De IJzeren Man

In Hellevoetsluis daar staat een huis
Hoera, die ijzeren man
Daar zijn de dames van Baggermans thuis
Hoera, die ijzeren man

En in dat huis daar staat een stok
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Daar kregen de meisjes mee onder hun rok
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Van zorgen niet vrij was Baggerman
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Maar hij was een fijne visserman
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Als visser was dit wat hij dee:
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Hij viste met schuttings tot aan de zee
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En was de vangst een keer te klein
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Dan ving hij de rest als kastelein
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Toen Baggerman de aard' verliet
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Het gaf zijn vrouwtjes veel verdriet
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Maar de meisjes hadden zijn kunst geërfd
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Zij vingen hun mannen op de werf
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En wie dat niet gelooft van mij:
Hoera, die ijzeren man
Mijn vaders waren er zelf nog bij
Hoera, die ijzeren man

Most of the lyrics by Mysha; music traditional (De IJzeren Man).
The original shanty tells of the house where the ladies of Baggerman live, for two verses. After that, the lengthening of the song apparently sets in, with what looks to be an unrelated story about a maid going to church wearing golden rings in her hair.

Shanties were a dynamic type of song, as I see it. Verses would disappear when the job didn't need the length, and verses were added when the job needed more length. I doubt the versions that were collected were the only ones. So to keep the songs alive we shouldn't just recall the collected versions, but we should also keep changing them. Yet, for preservation we wouldn't want them to become too modernised.

Cycling home after the first evening of Liereliet 2018, I realised I knew enough about Baggerman and his family to replace the slanted verses with Baggerman verses. Over the course of the 20 km distance, I figured out a story line, like the original verses have one, and made up most of the changed verses. Before setting out for Liereliet again on Saturday, I put it all together, and that evening I sung it in the Sing-Around.

All the parts are true, including the fact that my forefathers lived in Hellevoetsluis at that time, though one has to know the details to know how they are true. Whether everything belongs together is a different matter, though: The Baggermans were "Herman Baggerman" father to son for generations, hence the historian would need to do some research to check that all the history mentioned here was about the same Herman Baggerman. The singer just enjoys how it fits together.


last modified 24 October 2018; last updated 24 October 2018

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