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Origins: What Shall We Do With a Drunken Sailor

DigiTrad:
DRUNKEN SAILOR


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Steve Gardham 04 Mar 16 - 03:58 PM
GUEST,Lighter 04 Mar 16 - 05:38 PM
Steve Gardham 04 Mar 16 - 05:55 PM
Steve Gardham 04 Mar 16 - 05:57 PM
Leadfingers 04 Mar 16 - 06:51 PM
GUEST,Lighter 04 Mar 16 - 08:01 PM
Snuffy 05 Mar 16 - 09:25 AM
Steve Gardham 05 Mar 16 - 03:13 PM
MGM·Lion 05 Mar 16 - 03:45 PM
MGM·Lion 05 Mar 16 - 03:52 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 05 Mar 16 - 07:37 PM
MGM·Lion 06 Mar 16 - 01:04 AM
Steve Gardham 06 Mar 16 - 08:27 AM
Gibb Sahib 06 Mar 16 - 03:56 PM
Steve Gardham 06 Mar 16 - 04:31 PM
Gibb Sahib 06 Mar 16 - 05:33 PM
MGM·Lion 06 Mar 16 - 05:37 PM
Gibb Sahib 06 Mar 16 - 08:14 PM
Gibb Sahib 06 Mar 16 - 08:17 PM
GUEST,Lighter 07 Mar 16 - 08:15 AM
MGM·Lion 08 Mar 16 - 07:39 AM
MGM·Lion 08 Mar 16 - 11:40 AM
Gibb Sahib 08 Mar 16 - 11:20 PM
MGM·Lion 09 Mar 16 - 06:02 AM
GUEST,Lighter 09 Mar 16 - 08:31 AM
MGM·Lion 09 Mar 16 - 10:29 AM
MGM·Lion 09 Mar 16 - 10:45 AM
Gibb Sahib 09 Mar 16 - 11:12 AM
MGM·Lion 09 Mar 16 - 11:53 AM
Gibb Sahib 09 Mar 16 - 05:31 PM
Gibb Sahib 09 Mar 16 - 09:57 PM
MGM·Lion 10 Mar 16 - 03:45 AM
MGM·Lion 11 Mar 16 - 04:04 AM
doc.tom 11 Mar 16 - 06:44 AM
MGM·Lion 11 Mar 16 - 01:19 PM
Keith A of Hertford 12 Mar 16 - 07:17 AM
doc.tom 12 Mar 16 - 01:34 PM
GUEST,gilly 13 Mar 16 - 02:57 AM
Joe Offer 30 Mar 17 - 03:17 AM
Steve Gardham 30 Mar 17 - 03:11 PM
Lighter 30 Mar 17 - 04:21 PM
Lighter 30 Mar 17 - 04:42 PM
GUEST,Wm 30 Mar 17 - 05:42 PM
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Subject: Origins: Drunken Sailor
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Mar 16 - 03:58 PM

Hi.
This query/piece of useful info, is directed towards Gibb mainly.
What is the earliest known reference to 'What shall we do with a drunken Sailor?'? Would a reference dating to 1836 by no less a person than Charles Dickens be useful or is this well-known?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 04 Mar 16 - 05:38 PM

Steve, news to me at least. What is it?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Mar 16 - 05:55 PM

I found it in Dickens's magazine 'Household Words' for September 18th 1855. He relates a couple of disastrous Christmas Dinner stories from his youth. 'Disaster number one, took place in the city of Paris full twenty years ago' (making it 1835) After a lengthy intro describing his trials as an English youth in a French boarding school he moves on to one saving grace which is he spent Christmas with an English pharmacist, Batten, who had a chemist's shop in Paris. To cut a long story short Batten had an Irish cook called Mary who was rather lively, prone to tantrums and drunkenness. On Christmas Day Dickens describes her as drumming with a ladel on a pan in her drunken state and yelling out the choruses of 2 songs, viz.

Flare up, Mary! Flare up, Mary!
Fiddle iddle um tum
Tow row, row!

This very likely belongs to one of the many traditional offshoots of Dicky of Taunton Dean.

Hee roar, up she rouses,
What shall we do with the drunken sailor?

There is no indication that it has anything to do with chanteying, but it is certainly part of the chantey that has come down to us. Now if Dickens was using poetic licence to tie this up to the drunken state of the cook, it still gives us a definite date of 1865 if not 1835.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Mar 16 - 05:57 PM

Sorry, that 1865 date should read 1855.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor
From: Leadfingers
Date: 04 Mar 16 - 06:51 PM

No knowledge of 'Drunken Sailor' , but 'Fifteen men on a dead man's chest' would appear to be from Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 04 Mar 16 - 08:01 PM

Thanks, Steve. Even 1855 is a bit early.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor-Dickens question for Gibb
From: Snuffy
Date: 05 Mar 16 - 09:25 AM

INCIDENTSOF A WHALING VOYAGE by FRANCIS ALLYN OLMSTED was published in 1841 and relates his experiences on board a whaling vessel in 1839-40.

If you go to Page 116 you will find the words and tune of the chorus to Drunken Sailor, as well as those to what is now known as Haul Her Away. These are reputedly the earliest known musical representations of shanties.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor-Dickens question for Gibb
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Mar 16 - 03:13 PM

Snuffy, Great stuff. The tune is almost identical to what we still sing today. A suspicious person like me might wonder if later publishers of the tune were trawling through books for chanteys and found this. 1835 Britain, 1841 American ships, almost contemporary. Another oddity, I've never seen any early references or even mentions of chanteys being used on British whalers, certainly not in Arctic whaling and I've read many books and journals on this. Although British whaling was very much in decline when chanteying was on the rise.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor-Dickens question for Gibb
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 05 Mar 16 - 03:45 PM

Shanties (or chanteys if you prefer) refd now & again in Moby Dick though, Steve, about an American whaler; which, like all whalers, would have had a pretty cosmopolitan crew: eg

"the hands at the windlass, who roared forth some sort of a chorus about the girls in Booble Alley" - ch 22 'Merry Christmas'

— which I would take to be "Haul Away for Rosie" or a close variant thereof.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor-Dickens question for Gibb
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 05 Mar 16 - 03:52 PM

...Moby Dick first published early 1850s, but begins "Some years ago -- never mind how long precisely"; so Melville's setting presumably 1820s-40s. Imprecision, I think deliberate, one of the hallmarks of that odd narrative [which I may be perhaps the only person round here ever to have actually read it right thru]. It is eg never clear at any point just how long they have been at sea, and seldom just whereabouts on the globe they are!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor-Dickens question for Gibb
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 05 Mar 16 - 07:37 PM

If it helps any, the "Pequod" was patterned after the American whaler "Essex," launched 1799, rammed and sunk 20 November 1820.

MGM: [which I may be perhaps the only person round here ever to have actually read it right thru].

Erudition may be hazardous to your health, display with caution:

http://www.nytimes.com/1999/09/28/health/alas-poor-doctors-they-read-too-little.html


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor-Dickens question for Gibb
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Mar 16 - 01:04 AM

Au contraire, I think it makes my point. And I do not think, in the scholarly purlieus of Cambridge UK, that I am in that much danger of inviting a visit from The·Men·In·The·White·Coats any time soon, just for having had the·whale·of·a·time reading a phocaenine-related classic!...

But thanks nevertheless for your kind concern, Phil.

≈M≈

What measures, meanwhile, I enquire again to terminate this drift, are we to take in the matter of the mariner who has overindulged in the spirituous liquors!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor-Dickens question for Gibb
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Mar 16 - 08:27 AM

British whalers did latterly hunt the sperm in the Pacific but predominantly the British Arctic crews were sourced from the East Coast and the Shetlands; and their other maritime experience, if any, would have been in the North Sea and through to the Baltic. Off the top of my head chanteying seems to have been mainly an Atlantic/Pacific phenomenon and generally this would have involved seamen from the south and west coasts, Southampton, Portsmouth, Swansea, Bristol, Liverpool, Glasgow.

Please pull this logic to bits if I'm wrong. As far as I'm aware there are no records of any 19thc seamen from the Humber area singing chanteys, except in Bert Lloyd's imagination and that was 20th century anyway.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor-Dickens question for Gibb
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 06 Mar 16 - 03:56 PM

Thanks, Steve. Yes, that one has been discussed here in the mega-thread about "The Advent of Chanties."

Here's a similar "years ago" reference published the same time:

Roberts, Edwin F. "Dock-side; Or, Liverpool Twenty-five Years Ago: A Local Sketch." _The United Service Magazine_ 2.319 (June 1855): 240-8.

Appears to quote from [DRUNKEN SAILOR] as heard circa 1830.

Pg. 248
//
On either side a dock-gateman is winding open the enormous watergates. The tide is up to the level of that held in the dock; and, being high water, vessels are now coming in and going out. Here is one entering the gut outward-bound, heavily laden, and looking very trim and compact. Half a dozen men and a gigantic negro are heaving away at the capstan. The topsails are hanging in the brails. As yet she is short-handed, for the whole of the crew are not aboard; but here they come, drunk and sober, leaping and tumbling upon the decks. Some go below to sleep their orgies out, and some aloft and hither and thither—and the vessel's way is quickened.
She is not yet out of the dock gates, and till then the gateman acts as a sort of pilot to her—giving directions and orders in the quick, short, stern tone which is the habit of seamen, from the fact that whatever is to be done must be done instantaneously, at once, without debate or dispute.
"Ship ahoy!" the gateman sings out, while, with a merry tramp and an enlivening song, the capstan bars go round—with some such burthen as this:
"Shove him in the long-boat till he gets sober."
//

The ultimate way-back reference is _Minstrelsy of Maine_ (1927), in which the editors claim that one of their grandmothers used to hear it sung by sailors on the Penobscot River over 100 years earlier.

For study purposes, I don't consider "Drunken Sailor" to be a chanty. According to my interpretation, it was one of a (seemingly small) repertoire of working songs that predate the advent of the chanty genre to the Anglophone sailing ships. So, one would expect to find it before the late 1830s, and we do. More notably: We find it rather *disappear* (from popularity) when chanties come in (and, yes, as ships' methods and crews changed). Authors throughout the main practice period of chanties (say, 1840s-70s) -- aside from these way-back comments -- give it no attention. It is Davis and Tozer's fanciful collection that puts "Drunken Sailor" on the table as something to consider in a discourse of "chanties." And John Masefield and others pick it up. This is where, I think, one's definition of the term "chanty" actually matters. Finer distinctions need to be made by us than were made by the popular writers of the last century.


the "Pequod" was patterned after the American whaler "Essex," launched 1799

While the whale story of _Moby Dick_ was inspired by the account of the ESSEX, the PEQUOD and life within were modeled on the 1840 whaler ACUSHNET in which Melville worked, and other experiences had by Melville as a whalerman, 1841-43. There is very little we would recognize as actual chanties in Melville's whaling accounts; I explain this due to the early date and older technology.

This paper I gave at Mystic Seaport elaborates all these thoughts far better than I could in a single Mudcat post:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B8MBMfZJUEBSLWVXdnFOcE5hS3M

Cheers,

Gibb


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor-Dickens question for Gibb
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Mar 16 - 04:31 PM

Ah, the master arrives in the nick of time!

Intriguing comments......'it was one of a (seemingly small) repertoire of working songs that predate the advent of the chanty genre to the Anglophone sailing ships'.

If that is the case that would explain Dickens's anecdote, but not the American whaler anecdote presented by Snuffy.

Basically it seems you are saying there was a small repertoire of worksongs used in association with seamen prior to the chantey proper.

I shall savour reading the paper when I have a little more time.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor-Dickens question for Gibb
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 06 Mar 16 - 05:33 PM

Thanks again, Steve.

The time of late 1830s to early 1840s was transitional. (Well, all times are transitional! By I view this as transitional with respect to this topic.)

The Olmsted reference (Snuffy's) is well known and important in the literature on chanty history. (Hugill had mentioned it, etc.)

In that incident, it was the whaleship NORTH AMERICA which had set out on her voyage in October of 1839. No reason to be surprised "Drunken Sailor" was still sung. The transition to new ways was complete about middle of the 1840s. The gradual, new use of the patent windlass, rather than a capstan or the old handspike windlass, was probably important—one of my main points in the above-linked paper.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor-Dickens question for Gibb
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Mar 16 - 05:37 PM

"There is very little we would recognize as actual chanties in Melville's whaling accounts"
.,,.
Do you not agree with my identification of Haul Away For Rosie in chapter 22 of Moby Dick, Gibb Sahib? -- see my post above, 5 Mar 0345pm.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor-Dickens question for Gibb
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 06 Mar 16 - 08:14 PM

Hi, M,

No, I don't agree. In brief, "booble alley" (what I presume to be the basis of your hypothesis) can be considered a floating lyric or an improvisation as it appears in ONE "Haul Away for Rosie" text of the 20th century. I don't believe it marks that item of repertoire.

For reasons I'd rather not get into here (for time reasons alone -- absolutely nothing personal about it, and I'd love to discuss, but alas... ) ... I suspect Melville may have cribbed that from Frederick Marryat's published description of "Sally Brown" -- which was brand new to the seasoned mariner Marryat when he heard it in 1837. (See my paper, above, for the detail.) It is entirely possible that Melville knew "Sally Brown" first hand, too, but I tend to doubt he experienced that during his career on ACUSHNET.

That, being "Sally Brown," makes up part of the "very little" in my statement! I hypothesize that "Sally Brown" was among the very earliest of the songs that fit into the song genre of chanties, which was only beginning to become established in certain ships / routes during Melville's sea days. That Melville's _Moby Dick_ — considered to be a tome of detail about everything mariners experienced — gives hardly a mention to things we recognize as chanties is, therefore, in accordance with his experience (or lack thereof).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor-Dickens question for Gibb
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 06 Mar 16 - 08:17 PM

Besides: How would one sing "Haul Away for Rosie" at a windlass? It's a heaving action, not a hauling one.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor-Dickens question for Gibb
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 07 Mar 16 - 08:15 AM

"which I may be perhaps the only person round here ever to have actually read it right thru."

So untrue. But perhaps I'm the only one here also to have seen all movie versions since John Barrymore in "The Sea Beast."

In that version, Ahab commands the "Shanghai Lady" and, after a terrible whaling cruise, returns to Nantucket and gets the girl.

Best line, from girl's skeptical father:

"What does he know of love? All he knows is hate - for a stupid fish!"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor-Dickens question for Gibb
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 08 Mar 16 - 07:39 AM

Have looked thru Hugill, Mr Gibb, in attempt to find any ref to "Booble Alley" in any other shanty than "Haul Away For Rosie", without success. Should be grateful if you could point me to one; until which I shall persist in my belief that that was likely to have been the one Melville intended to portray the crew as singing in Ch 22.

IIRC he points out also that not all shanties had a precise purpose, and that the shantyman might have recourse to one whose rhythm was suitable for the task in even if that not its conventional usage: which I take to imply that a shanty which referred to hauling might even on occasion be applied to heaving if that is what came to the shantyman's mind while he was intent on keeping things moving. A heave and a haul both involve a momentary effort followed by a pause, after all.

≈M≈

This merely intended respectfully to suggest possibilities, rather than to dispute your obviously superior knowledge on the topic.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor-Dickens question for Gibb
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 08 Mar 16 - 11:40 AM

To clarify last post, with apologies for awkward hanging pronoun at beginning of para 2:-

The 'he' it beginning of 2nd para means Hugill, not Melville!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor-Dickens question for Gibb
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 08 Mar 16 - 11:20 PM

Hi, M,

No worries. As you know, Hugill's text, 50+ years old, is neither a work of historical scholarship (in the academic sense), nor is it a primary source. For research purposes, I believe it should be the LAST stop. For the purpose of having a book to inspire fun music-making in certain gatherings today, it could be the first stop. (It's a song-book, with assorted commentary from someone that had certain experience and who read a lot of secondary sources with very little real criticism of what he read.) Very different purposes.

My paper, above, would give a sense of the broader or holistic framework in which I think about the chanty genre. And it includes the reference to Marryat's work, which was likely read by Melville in that Marryat was a popular writer of sea stories of Melville's time. (I recall reading somewhere that Abraham Lincoln claimed Marryat was his favorite author, for what it's worth.)

There are possibilities and then there are probabilities. When I say I rode to work today it could have been on an elephant, but it was probably in a car or bus! :-) In other words, the study needs t be grounded in the real world of probabilities, rather than the abstract or purely semantic world of threshold possibility.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor-Dickens question for Gibb
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 09 Mar 16 - 06:02 AM

Many thanks indeed for valuable response. Still exercised, tho, as to another shanty in which precise name "Booble Alley" occurs. Any enlightenment?

What -- taking up point of your last para above -- intrinsically IMprobable about 'Haul Away For Rosie' being the shanty that Melville intended readers to 'hear' the crew of the Pequod singing as they read the passage? Hardly as unlikely as your having ridden a burden-bearing pachyderm to work, surely?!



≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor-Dickens question for Gibb
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 09 Mar 16 - 08:31 AM

Aristotle (I didn't go to school all those years for nothing) advised us never to draw from data more than what's there.

The possibility that Melville was thinking of that particular chantey is real but less than compelling. The line (whatever it was in full) could have drifted into "Haul Away for Rosie" from an earlier song. Who knows?

Though obviously not beyond conjecture, the identity of the chantey Melville was thinking of is simply imponderable. There's not enough data.

BTW, Gibb's informed critique of Hugill's _magnum opus_ is long overdue for us pedants. Hugill was a conscientious amateur collector, not a social scientist. (As he told me at Mystic in the '80s concerning "The Indian Lass," "They were sailors, not blinking anthropologists.")


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor-Dickens question for Gibb
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 09 Mar 16 - 10:29 AM

But Gibb conjectured the phrase as part of a 'floating lyric' (6 Mar 0814). But surely the concept of the 'floater' implies widespread use and familiarity; whereas here we have a phrase which nobody can point to more than one usage of: in the shanty I have identified, in which I have often heard it sung, sometimes varied to "Dogleg Alley".

If it's a 'floater', I ask again: to which other shanties is it known, or alleged, to have 'floated'?

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor-Dickens question for Gibb
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 09 Mar 16 - 10:45 AM

BTW -- re Dickens. I had some correspondence with Hugill about Captain Cuttle in Dombey and Son singing what I took to be, and he confirmed probably was, a bit of "Cheer'ly, men"; only the Captain's version only sang "Cheer'ly" without the "men", which was why I wrote with the query. But it does seem that Dickens was, as we would say today, 'shanty-conscious', as the gravamen of this thread would seem to suggest.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor-Dickens question for Gibb
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 09 Mar 16 - 11:12 AM

M,

All non-chorus chanty lyrics are potential "floaters." Does that mean the (non-chorus) lyrics of every chanty were completely unexpected before every performance, that there was never any consistency? No.

(I speak the language of "floater" only to communicate here in brief. [One can't go explaining the entire aesthetic system (or at least one's theory thereof!) every time a reductive question comes up about a specific line in a song.] It's not a floater in the sense discussed more typically in Anglo-English traditional songs. It's more like "improvisation," though the connotations of that word in this community, I fear, would make it less understood than "floater." Suffice it to say, the non-chorus lines of most chanties are not fixed, especially not after an opening line or two.)

The chanty text to which a line about a "Booble Alley" (sic) is ascribed comes in Marryat, as I have been saying, and you can find the reference to that and some discussion in my paper linked above. I don't know how many times I have to type "Marryat" and "read my paper if you want to understand where I'm coming from." Sheesh! hehe...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor-Dickens question for Gibb
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 09 Mar 16 - 11:53 AM

Have of course read your paper -- 3 times now; and found it most fascinating. But do not find this precise reference in it. Can you give me perhaps a page ref? or even a precise ref within the śuvre of Captain M, which I could then follow up next time I am in the Camb Univ Lib to which I am privileged enough to have access. But not to worry if it's just too 'sheesh!' Have not read that particular bit of Marryat; tho Mr Midshipman Easy always a great favourite book of mine. My late father always much amused by the triangular duel. Must reread it again soon!

Thanks anyway for all your trouble & indulgence...

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor-Dickens question for Gibb
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 09 Mar 16 - 05:31 PM

M,

The reference is to Marryat's _A Diary in America (Vol. 1_, the London edition, 1839. Please see page 40, here:
https://books.google.com/books?id=hK46AAAAcAAJ

Note again that Marryat was seeing this patent windlass in use for the first time, as well hearing the song, "Sally Brown" for the first time and, implying through is language, that it was generally musically different than songs he might have heard before.

In my interpretation, there is a correlation between the use of the patent windlass and the use of this style of song.

The earlier "windlass" was operated in a way that was not conducive to singing the "chanty" type songs. A close reading of multiple sources in which describe the earlier handspike windlass compared to sources that describe the patent windlass reveal a difference in the sort of vocalization (if any) at work. The latter day category of "windlass chanties" has led to conflation, even worse when all is subsumed under "heaving chanties" and a worse situation still applies when one interprets the truism "chanties were not strictly assigned to any one task" too liberally.

I don't believe Melville was acquainted with the patent windlass during his seafaring experience. It was not yet well established technology in sailing vessels then. Later, the patent windlass became an essential tool in whaling vessels, used to haul up parts of whales (as was the handspike windlass). The absence of the patent windlass in Melville's otherwise rich description of shipboard life is, I believe, in accord with the absence of "windlass chanties."

If this reading is accurate, it suggests:
1) the "booble alley" of Melville was a line in some song, unknown to us, that Melville experienced sung at the handspike windlass -- and about which we may never known, but which was probably not like the familiar chanties. These utterances at the handspike windlass (generally speaking) were so choppy and, to invert Marryat's observation, un-musical, that they do not cohere into well-defined "songs," but rather consisted of assorted phrases.
2) Melville read Marryat and, though he was previously unfamiliar with Marryat's "Sally Brown" (perhaps reflected by Melville's non-specific phrasing, "some chorus...") he took the liberty of setting this "windlass" song to his own windlass in his fictional work.
3) something else ...! But there are several strikes against the probability that John Short's rendition of "Haul Away..." can be matched to what Melville had in mind. The Folk Revival phenomenon has reified the John Short rendition.

Gibb


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor-Dickens question for Gibb
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 09 Mar 16 - 09:57 PM

The above suggestions are meant as 1 OR 2 OR 3...!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor-Dickens question for Gibb
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Mar 16 - 03:45 AM

Many thanks for all your trouble, Sahib. Greatly appreciated!

≈Michael≈


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor-Dickens question for Gibb
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Mar 16 - 04:04 AM

ust another suggestion, if not overdoing it.

"Sally Brown of Buble [sic] Alley" [Marryat p40 as you cite]

is not quite the same as "the girls of Booble Alley", the fragment quoted by Melville.

Could either he, or a crew he recalled heaving, have conflated the address of Miss Brown with what is probably the more common address of the girls with whose roll-&-go "your Bristol/Baltimore/wherever gals like Up-in-the-corner Sally" cannot be compared —

ie 'Dogleg Alley'?

I fear I might be getting to be a bit of a bore and overmilking this topic; which, if so, please feel no obligation to re-engage. But I happen to have the sort of compulsion with which Dickens's Arthur Clennam, the hero of Little Dorrit, was blessed or cursed: I always "do want to know, you know".

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor-Dickens question for Gibb
From: doc.tom
Date: 11 Mar 16 - 06:44 AM

Seeing as how John Short's name has now come up - for the avoidance of doubt, the words he gave to Cecil were:

Haul Away, haul away, haul away my Rosie
Way haul away, haul away Joe.

O you talk about your a-ver girls, and round the corner sad-i-ly
But they cannot come to tea with the girls of Booble Alley

Once I had a nice young girl and she was all me ...
...   ...   ...   ...   ...   ...   ... ... a pony

Once I had a little dog and his name was Toby
And he bit the crack out of poor little Rosie

Now up aloft this yard must go, we'll pull her free and easy
Another pull and then belay, we'll make it all so easy.

"Mr. Short described it as a tacks and sheet chantey." C#

NB: Sharp's published text was rubbish he had made up himself!

Tom


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor-Dickens question for Gibb
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Mar 16 - 01:19 PM

I take it that "a-ver girls", in first line of doc. tom's version above, would mean "Le Havre girls"?

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor-Dickens question for Gibb
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 12 Mar 16 - 07:17 AM

I thought it was "harbour girls" and surely "Round the corner Sally."

John Samson (sailed 1886-1898) says this about Drunken Sailor,
"This was the favourite runaway or stamp and go Shanty.
Unlike the other shanties it required no Soloist, but was usually sung by all hands as they ran away with the braces when swinging the yards round in tacking ship."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor-Dickens question for Gibb
From: doc.tom
Date: 12 Mar 16 - 01:34 PM

Yup!It's Le Havre.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor-Dickens question for Gibb
From: GUEST,gilly
Date: 13 Mar 16 - 02:57 AM

Off the point rather but, having sung 'Wings of a Gull' for years, I had a chill run through me when I discovered the Right Whale was so called because it was the ' right one to kill '.


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Shall We Do With a Drunken Sailor
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Mar 17 - 03:17 AM

This seems to be the most substantial thread of many, so I think I'll declare this our "origins" thread. We've had a lot of fun with this song in various threads, with a lot of innovative verses. I think it would be good to ask that we post lyrics only from documented sources in this thread, so we have one thread that more-or-less approaches authenticity. (please???)

Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry for this song:

Drunken Sailor, The (Early in the Morning)

DESCRIPTION: Walkaway (stamp and go) shanty. The sailors ask, "What shall we do with the drunken sailor (x3), Early in the morning. Way, hey, and up she rises (x3), Early in the morning." Various suggestions are offered, few of them pleasant.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1841
KEYWORDS: shanty sailor drink punishment
FOUND IN: US(MA,MW,SE) Canada(Mar) Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (21 citations):
Wolford, p. 85=WolfordRev, p. 233, "Sailor" (1 text, 1 tune)
Doerflinger, p. 48, "The Drunken Sailor, or Early in the Morning" (1 text, 1 tune)
Walton/Grimm/Murdock, pp. 70-71, "The Drunken Sailor" (1 text, 1 tune)
Shay-SeaSongs, pp. 61-62, "Early in the Morning" (1 text)
BrownSchinhanV 783, "What Shall We Do with a Drunken Sailor?" (1 short text, 1 tune)
Smith/Hatt, p. 36, "What You Going To Do With a Drunken Sailor" (1 text)
Bone, pp. 40-41, "Early in th' Morning" (1 short text, 1 tune)
Colcord, p. 78, "The Drunken Sailor" (1 text, 1 tune)
Harlow, pp. 25-26, "The Drunken Sailor (Up She Rises)" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hugill, pp. 134-135, "Drunken Sailor" (2 texts, 2 tunes) [AbEd, pp. 109-110]
Sharp-EFC, VII, p. 8, "Drunken Sailor" (1 text, 1 tune)
SharpAp 257, "Up She Rises" (1 text, 1 tune, actually a playparty which shares only the chorus and a variant of the tune with "Drunken Sailor")
GreigDuncan1 4, "The Drunken Sailor" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
Terry-Shanty1, #14, "What shall we do with the drunken sailor?" (1 text, 1 tune)
Opie-Game 129, "Drunken Sailor" (1 text, 1 tune)
Fireside, p. 176, "The Drunken Sailor"(1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 92, "What Shall We Do With a Drunken Sailor" (1 text)
Fuld-WFM, pp. 205-206, "Drunken Sailor (Monkey's Wedding -- John Brown Had a Little Injun -- Ten Little Injuns)"
DT, DRNKSILR
ADDITIONAL: Edwin F. Piper, "Some Play-Party Games of the Middle West" in The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. XXVIII, No. 109 (Jul 1915 (available online by JSTOR)), #19 p. 277 "Sailor" ("What shall we do with the drunken sailor?") (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Frederick Pease Harlow, _The Making of a Sailor, or Sea Life Aboard a Yankee Square-Rigger_, 1928; republished by Dover, 1988, p. 121, "The Drunken Sailor, or, Up She Rises" (1 text)

Roud #322
RECORDINGS:
Cadgwith Fishermen, "What Shall We Do With a Drunken Sailor?" (on LastDays)
Richard Maitland, "The Drunken Sailor" (AFS, 1936; on LC26)
Pete Seeger, "What Shall We Do with a Drunken Sailor?" (on PeteSeeger31)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Maria"
cf. "Ten Little Indians (John Brown Had a Little Indian)" (tune, floating lyrics)
cf. "The Mustering Song" (tune & meter)
cf. "I Had a Wife" (tune)
SAME TUNE:
What Shall We Do for the Striking Seamen? (Greenway-AFP, pp. 233-234)
What Do You Do with a Dirty Family? (Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 231)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
Hooray an' Up She Rises"
Up She Rises
NOTES: A modern verse: "Put him in charge of an Exxon tanker..." - PJS
Bone says of this that it "must be of fairly recent date, for only in a comparatively large ship could there be room on deck for 'walking' a light sail aloft, the operation at which [this] was generally used. It was not a chanty often sung. I remember it chiefly as a showy accompaniment when all hands were employed on deck and there was an atmosphere of good humour with us." - RBW
Emrich has "What're ya gonna do with a drunken miner," (3x) "Early in the morning?" "Put him in a long hole till he's cooler" (3x) "Early in the morning" from Utah. (source: Duncan Emrich, "Songs of the Western Miners" in California Folklore Quarterly, Vol. I, No. 3 (Jul 1942 (available online by JSTOR)), pp.230-231, "What're Ye Gonna Do with a Drunken Miner?"). - BS
Last updated in version 4.1
File: Doe048

Go to the Ballad Search form
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Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.



Here's the version from the Digital Tradition. It's not like any other I've seen. Anybody know where it's from?

DRUNKEN SAILOR

cho: Way hay and up she rises
Way hay and up she rises (patent blocks o' diff'rent sizes)
Way hay and up she rises
Earl-eye in the morning

What shall we do with a drunken sailor (3x)
Earl-eye in the morning!

Put him in a long-boat till he's sober

Keep him there and make 'im bale 'er.

Trice him up in a runnin' bowline.

Tie him to the tasffrail when she's yard-arm under.

Put him in the scuppers with a hose-pipe on him.
Take 'im and shake 'im and try an' wake 'im.

Give 'im a dose of salt and water.

Give 'im a taste of the bosun's rope-end.

Stick on 'is back a mustard plaster.

Soak 'im in oil till he sprouts a flipper.

Shave his belly with a rusty razor.

Put him in the guard room till he gets sober.

note: Stamp-and-Go shanty
@sailor @work @drink
filename[ DRNKSILR
RG


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Shall We Do With a Drunken Sailor
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Mar 17 - 03:11 PM

Just a thought: 'Ratcliffe Highway' as a place occurs in lots of songs that are not related to each other, so why not Buble Alley occurring in different songs unrelated? Is/was Buble Alley a real place. I seem to remember looking at maps at it some time in the last year, but that could easily have been something else. We're all getting older and short-term memory is a problem.....is a problem....is a proble....


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Shall We Do With a Drunken Sailor
From: Lighter
Date: 30 Mar 17 - 04:21 PM

From Melville's "Redburn" (1849):

This passing allusion to the murder will convey some idea of the events which take place in the lowest and most abandoned neighborhoods frequented by sailors in Liverpool. The pestilent lanes and alleys which, in their vocabulary, go by the names of Rotten-row, Gibraltar-place, and Booble alley, are putrid with vice and crime; to which, perhaps, the round globe does not furnish a parallel. The sooty-and begrimed bricks of the very houses have a reeking, Sodomlike, and murderous look; and well may the shroud of coal smoke, which hangs over this part of the town, more than any other, attempt to hide the enormities here practiced. These, are the haunts from which sailors sometimes disappear forever; or issue in the morning, robbed naked, from the broken door-ways. These are the haunts in which cursing, gambling, pickpocketing, and common iniquities, are virtues too lofty for the infected gorgons and hydras to practice. Propriety forbids that I should enter into details; but kidnappers, bunkers, and resurrectionists are almost saints and angels to them. They seem leagued together, a company of miscreant misanthropes, bent upon doing all the malice to mankind in their power. With sulphur and brimstone they ought to be burned out of their arches like vermin."

Marryat mentions "Buble alley" in the version of "Sally Brown" he prints in "A Diary in America" (1839).


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Shall We Do With a Drunken Sailor
From: Lighter
Date: 30 Mar 17 - 04:42 PM

But the massive database of "British Library Newspapers 1732-1950," said to contain two million pages, turns up no other references to either "Buble" or "Booble" Alley. (Nor for a hypothetical "Boble" or "Bobble" Alley.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Shall We Do With a Drunken Sailor
From: GUEST,Wm
Date: 30 Mar 17 - 05:42 PM

Perhaps "Blue Bell Alley"? Here are some approximately period references on Google Books.

According to The History of the Violin (William Sandys & Simon Andrew Forster, 1864), the violin seller Thomas Dodd lived in Blue-Bell Alley, Mint Street, Southwark from 1786–89 (pg 367, link).

On May 19, 1887, The Architect confirms that Bluebell Alley is on Mint Street, and assesses it in biting terms:

Mint Street Scheme (St. George the Martyr).——This area, which adjoins Mint Street, from Harrow Street to Bluebell Alley, is morally and structurally one of the worst in the southern portion of the metropolis. A rearrangement of the houses can readily be effected on the same site, so as to give improved accommodation. The net cost is estimated at 25,150Z.
(pg 325, link)

A place of that name is also referenced in Harold Hastings; or, he Vicar's Son (James Yeames, 1882) twice (link).

"What are we to do? Here is a list of thirty names. We have visited every family, and we know that there is neither food nor fire in these thirty homes. And Blue Bell-alley is as bad ; and the Silver-street district, so they tell me, worse."
(pg 191)

Oh, it was a right merry Christmas! Such real enjoyment at the Hall, and such a treat at the "Gardens" among the children. And is it strange to say Mr. Canning spends more time now among the poor in Golden-gardens and Silver-street and Blue Bell-alley than he does in his sumptuous library?
(pg 204)


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Shall We Do With a Drunken Sailor
From: Lighter
Date: 30 Mar 17 - 06:24 PM

Plausible suggestion, Wm., except that Melville places "Booble Alley" in Liverpool.

OTOH, the British newspaper database produces only three refs. to London's Blue-bell Alley from 1780 to 1856. Where it went to after that I don't know.

If Blue-bell Alley was so unworthy of mention, Booble might have been as well.

I couldn't find a "Gibraltar Place" in Liverpool, either. Or a "Rotten Row."

Or a possible "Bauble" or a "Bubble" Alley.

"Buble" is a very rare English surname, known in the 19th century mainly in Warwickshire.

So possibly "Buble's Alley" was named (temporarily) for somebody who lived there.

Well, possibly.


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