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Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)

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Wincing Devil 05 Apr 02 - 12:30 AM
MMario 05 Apr 02 - 08:30 AM
Wincing Devil 05 Apr 02 - 08:48 AM
MMario 05 Apr 02 - 09:09 AM
masato sakurai 05 Apr 02 - 09:27 AM
Bat Goddess 05 Apr 02 - 09:34 AM
masato sakurai 05 Apr 02 - 10:56 AM
masato sakurai 05 Apr 02 - 11:00 AM
Wincing Devil 05 Apr 02 - 11:27 AM
Dead Horse 05 Apr 02 - 01:24 PM
MMario 05 Apr 02 - 01:29 PM
Wincing Devil 05 Apr 02 - 01:45 PM
Charley Noble 05 Apr 02 - 05:25 PM
Dead Horse 05 Apr 02 - 11:52 PM
Wincing Devil 06 Apr 02 - 12:09 AM
Dead Horse 06 Apr 02 - 01:27 PM
shipcmo 27 Jan 11 - 04:49 PM
Gibb Sahib 27 Jan 11 - 09:49 PM
Charley Noble 28 Jan 11 - 09:34 PM
Gibb Sahib 29 Jan 11 - 04:53 AM
JWB 21 Mar 11 - 08:54 PM
Gibb Sahib 22 Mar 11 - 02:41 AM
Gibb Sahib 22 Mar 11 - 03:04 AM
Gibb Sahib 22 Mar 11 - 03:33 AM
Gibb Sahib 22 Mar 11 - 06:29 AM
Lighter 22 Mar 11 - 08:54 AM
JWB 22 Mar 11 - 04:57 PM
Lighter 22 Mar 11 - 05:58 PM
JWB 22 Mar 11 - 06:14 PM
Gibb Sahib 22 Mar 11 - 06:42 PM
Lighter 22 Mar 11 - 07:25 PM
JWB 23 Mar 11 - 11:10 AM
Gibb Sahib 23 Mar 11 - 04:27 PM
GUEST 23 Mar 11 - 04:55 PM
Gibb Sahib 23 Mar 11 - 05:02 PM
Snuffy 23 Mar 11 - 06:09 PM
Gibb Sahib 23 Mar 11 - 06:24 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 24 Mar 11 - 01:10 AM
Gibb Sahib 24 Mar 11 - 02:18 AM
Lighter 24 Mar 11 - 09:08 AM
greg stephens 24 Mar 11 - 09:42 AM
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John Minear 24 Mar 11 - 06:45 PM
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doc.tom 13 Jun 17 - 02:34 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: HUCKLEBERRY HUNTING (Pumping Chantey)
From: Wincing Devil
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 12:30 AM

Couldn't find this anywhere, transcribed it from Mystic Seaport: American Sea Chanteys

HUCKLEBERRY HUNTING

Windlass or Pumping shanty


Oh, the boys and the girls went a-huckleberry hunting,
To me hay To me Way to me hey o way!
Oh, the boys and the girls went a-huckleberry hunting,
And sing Hilo, me Ranzo Ray!

Then a little girl ran off, and a little boy ran after,
The little girl fell down and he saw her little garter.

He said, "I'll be your beau if you'll have me for a feller,"
But the little girl said "No, for me sweetheart's Johnny Miller."

Then took her on his knee, an' he kissed her right and proper
She kissed him back agen, an' he didn't try to stop 'er

An' then he put his arm all about her waspy waist
She sez "Oh um, young man you are in great haste"

An' then he put his hand all upon her knee
She sez "Oh um, young man you're a little bit to free"

An' then he put his hand yet higher still.
She sez "Oh um, young man that is really quite a thrill!"

Oh, I'm shanteyman of this workin' party
So sing lads, pull lads, so strong and hearty


WD


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: MMario
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 08:30 AM

Have any way to post the tune?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: Wincing Devil
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 08:48 AM

You asked for it, you got it!

122KB WAV file featuring a VASTLY underapprciated singer.

WD


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: MMario
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 09:09 AM

mille grazie!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: masato sakurai
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 09:27 AM

"Huckleberry Hunting" as a halliard (or halyard) shanty is in Joanna C. Colcord, Songs of American Sailormen (1938; Oak, 1964, p. 65). The tune is almost the same, with 1-3 stanzas Wincing Devil posted above and a similar chorus:

Oh, the boys and the girls went a-huckleberry hunting,
To me way-aye-aye-aye-aye-i-yah
Oh, the boys and the girls went a-huckleberry hunting,
And sing highlow, my Ranzo Ray!

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 09:34 AM

It's also in Hugill, although I think it's listed as a variant of "Wild Goose." But it's there as well as in Colcord.

Linn


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: masato sakurai
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 10:56 AM

RANZO RAY in the DT (from Hugill [p. 181]), which has this stanza:

Oh, the boys an' the gals went a huckleberry huntin',
The gals began to cry an' the boys they dowsed their buntin' [stopped their huntin'; stopped their courtin'].

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: masato sakurai
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 11:00 AM

Ranzo Ray


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: Wincing Devil
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 11:27 AM

I added this chanty as it had additional verses that furthered the story. I find that shanties that tell a story are easier to memorize, as you just have to follow the story. But, I ain't no pro-fesh-i-null, so I feel free to use cheat sheets at chantey sings. (I managed to spell "shantey" 4 different ways in one message!)


Wincing Devil
Computers are useless. They can only give you answers. -- Pablo Picasso


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: Dead Horse
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 01:24 PM

Masato Sakurai posted the link to the correct(if there is such a thing)words to this shanty, which I always sing as The Wild Goose. Other versions are (until I hear different?)modern fabrications. As far as I'm concerned, if it's in THE BIBLE (Hugill's book)then it's genuine, if it aint in, it's fake, so there! Yah Boo Sucks.
I agree that shanties that actually make sense as a narrative are much easier to remember, but virtually every one of the old time REAL shantymen sung their own version, and sometimes a different one each time, with verses added or subtracted at whim. Also singing the words of one shanty to the tune of another, either by intention or accidentally, and swopping halyard shanties for capstan, pumps, stamp & go, etc. which makes a nonsense of collectors valiant efforts to get down a difinitive version for anything sung at sea. Thank God they tried, or my song book would be nearly empty!!!
Keep posting your versions, as it adds verses to the general repertoire.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: MMario
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 01:29 PM

but virtually every one of the old time REAL shantymen sung their own version, and sometimes a different one each time, with verses added or subtracted at whim. Also singing the words of one shanty to the tune of another, either by intention or accidentally, and swopping halyard shanties for capstan, pumps, stamp & go, etc. which makes a nonsense of collectors valiant efforts to get down a difinitive version for anything sung at sea.

Perhaps the collectors should have admitted that the genre was fluid, elastic and highly mutable - rather then trying to pin down "definitive versions".


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: Wincing Devil
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 01:45 PM

Hughill, while a valuable resource, is not the be-all, end-all. Chanteys are a VERBAL tradition, there is no wrong or right, no definitive version. One of the best examples of that is the recent GREAT recording by Ship's Company Chanteymen.
In the Hauling Shanty "South Australia", they've extapolated a new verse:

In South Australia Skylab fell
To me heave away, to me Haul away!
Fifteen Billion shot to hell!
We're bound for south Australia!


Wincing Devil
Beware of programmers carrying screwdrivers


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 05:25 PM

A version of Huckleberry Hunting can also be found in Bill Doerflinger's SONGS OF THE SAILOR AND LUMBERMAN, which Hugill also refers to. I've always suspected that the Huckleberry verses came from Maine but I can't seem to find a reference to nail it down; it's not in Minstrelsy of Maine, nor anything I have of Sandy Ives, or Creighton.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: Dead Horse
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 11:52 PM

Wincing Devil, I agree with the premise that there is no right or wrong or definitive version of a shanty (to a large degree anyway, there are of course exceptions) and Hugill explains this in some detail. The shanties given in his book are not HIS shanties, but shanties collected from singers and other collectors that he personally has vetted, in his own way. I love the new verse for "Rolling King", "Ruler King" or, as seems to be most popular nowadays "South Australia" (to my mind another shanty altogether) but wonder why you state that it is a hauling shanty, when Doerflinger, Colcord, et al. give it as capstan or pumps? It is THIS definition of what a shanty is used for that smacks of being definitive, saying that a shanty was used for one particular purpose. There are them as what was used for one job only, but the great majority were used for any damn thing that seemed appropriate at the time, by the person or persons singing it. I daresay that nearly all shanties have been sung at capstan and pumps at some time or other, as the tasks were often long, laborious, and downright bloody boring. So sooner or later the whole repertoire of shanties would be used up.
Thanks again for new verse, will add it to rest next time I sing this shanty. But I don't sing Nancy Blair anymore, not since the obvious and popular connection with Tony's missus. It's Nancy Brown for me, from now on.
P.S. To me, "South Australia" is the shanty known by the hoi palloi as The Cape Cod or "Codfish" shanty.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: Wincing Devil
Date: 06 Apr 02 - 12:09 AM

Nancy Blair, to Me is the USGS head Librarian. I called it a hauling shanty because that's how I've used it. (Hauling the mower around the lawn!) Hey, a MOWING shanty!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: Dead Horse
Date: 06 Apr 02 - 01:27 PM

That one is in Gardiners collection, and he was a grass, too. (Surely you PUSH a mower? Ever tried pushing a halyard?)So what do you sing when pruning. No, let me guess.........."Go Down, You Blood Red Roses", right?
Not having a mower of my own, I sing "Strike The Bell" when cutting the grass, to the tune of Click Go The Shears.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: shipcmo
Date: 27 Jan 11 - 04:49 PM

refresh


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Subject: Lyr Add: WE AM DE NIGGERS FROM DE WILD GOOSE NATIO
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 27 Jan 11 - 09:49 PM

From another thread:

Subject: RE: 'Rare' Caribbean shanties of Hugill, etc
From: Gibb Sahib - PM
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 03:58 AM

Might this be the progenitor of "Huckleberry Hunting"/"Ranzo Ray"?

From NEGRO SINGER'S OWN BOOK, ca.1843(?), pp148-9:
//
WE AM DE NIGGERS FROM DE WILD GOOSE NATION.

Written and sung by the Luminaries.

We am de niggers from de wild goose nation,
    Come dis night to sing to you;
We're just arrived from de old plantation,
    Down on the banks of de O-hi-o.
To de fields, to de fields must go,
    When de driber calls we must obey
To chop de wood, de corn to hoe,
    And work hard all the day.

[Full Chorus]
Den sing away, sing away,
    Tambourine and de banjo play;
Happy niggers while we sing,
    Today we work no more.

Ebery morning bright and early,
    How dese niggers hates to rise,
Because dey am all-ways attacted,
    By de ting called the Blue-tailed fly.
To de fields...

When the big white moon am shining,
    De niggers de am out fore soon;
And up the cimmon tree are climbing,
    For to catch de possum and coon.
To de fields...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 28 Jan 11 - 09:34 PM

Gibb-

If there's a connection, I'm not seeing it.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 29 Jan 11 - 04:53 AM

Charlie--

Can you picture it? It's the early minstrel era. A blackface group calling itself The Luminaries creep out on stage in a comic, maudlin style. As they come out, they begin their signature opening number:

We am de niggers from de wild goose nation,
    Come dis night to sing to you;
We're just arrived from de old plantation,
    Down on the banks of de O-hi-o.

Subsequently, that catchy opening cliche gets adopted by work-singers. They discard the grand chorus, which is superfluous to this particular chanty form.

Hugill's:

I'm shantyman of the Wild Goose nation
    Timme way, timme hay, timme hee-ho hay!
Got a maid that I left on the big plantation
    An' sing Hilo, me Ranzo way!

Terry's:

I'm the Shanty-man of the Wild Goose Nation.
    Tibby Way-ay Hioha!
I've left my wife on a big plantation.
    Hilo my Ranzo Hay!

Harlow's:

I'm Ranzo Jim from the Southern cotton growing belt
    To me way, hay, oh hi o!
De sun am so hot dat you'd think a man would melt
    And sing, Hilo, my Ranzo way

Harlow's version is straight up minstrel. The Mystic version, at the beginning of the thread, is composed of pieces from Hugill and Colcord -- the latter whose verses sound very prim and Cecil Sharpy. The lads at Mystic have effectively "whitened" the song by omitting any obvious race-related language. Hey, I can understand 100% why they'd do that. They have to. My only word of caution is that this particular Revival version shouldn't become the "go to" version if someone is *seeking lyrics*, because I think it inadvertently contributes to erasing Black people from the face of the chanty genre.
Gibb


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: JWB
Date: 21 Mar 11 - 08:54 PM

Coming late to this thread I hope to add more confusion to the mix. And ain't that the fate of anyone who tries to untangle the "truth" about a particular chantey?

First, let me confess that I led this chantey on the Mystic Seaport recording "American Chanteys", to which Wincing Devil refers. Actually, in the early '90s the recording was made jointly by the Seaport and the French maritime museum Chasse-Marée, as volume 11 of a 12-volume set of CDs called "Anthologie des chansons de mer". After being released in France, Mystic released it in the US, with liner notes in English.

I had put together an arrangement of "Huckleberry Hunting" a couple of years before the recording was made. I used the three verses Colcord gives, and to flesh out the story (I heartily agree with Wincing Devil that a story thread makes a chantey much easier to remember, as a revival performer) I incorporated stanzas from Hugill. Taking a cue from Hugill, who writes, "The remaining verses are mainly obscene and much the same as those used in the bawdy version of A-rovin'," I added an additional verse I picked up from Stuart Frank before ending with the first verse of Hugill's version.

So, for list-minded 'Catters, here's how I constructed my version of Huckleberry Hunting (which is the one in the first post of this thread):

Verses 1-3: Colcord's first three (and only) verses
Verses 4 + 5: Hugill's verses 7 & 8
Verse 6: from A-Rovin'
Verse 7: from the singing of Stuart Frank
Verse 8: Hugill's verse 1
Chorus 1: from Hugill
Chorus 2: from Colcord (though the only difference is I use of "me" instead of "my")

Wincing Devil, I must correct your transcription. The second solo line of verses 5-7 begins "She said to him, 'Young man…'"

I used Colcord's tune and find tonight as I play it as written that I've changed it slightly.

Sitting here at my desk with my copies of Colcord, Hugill, Doerflinger and Harlow open, I'm struck by both the differences and similarities between them. No mention of the Wild Goose Nation by either Harlow or Doerflinger. Harlow, as Gibb Sahib points out, does use minstrel-sounding words, but he also includes Colcord's three verses as an alternative set. Colcord references Terry's version, which she says "bring[s] in the mysterious 'Wild Goose Nation'…"

Let's look at the title, shall we?
Colcord: Huckleberry Hunting
Hugill: We'll Ranzo Way (alternative titles: Sing Hilo, Me Ranzo Ray; Huckleberry Hunting; The Wild Goose Shanty)
Doerflinger: Huckleberry Hunting
Harlow: Hilo, My Ranzo Way

The first chorus is different in each version:
Colcord – "To me way-aye-aye-aye-aye-i-yah!"
Hugill – "Timme way, time hay, time hee ho hay!"
Doerflinger – "To me Hilo, me Ranzo boy" (same as his 2nd chorus)
Harlow – "To me way, hey-oh, hi, oh!"

Hugill's second chorus line runs "An' sing, Hilo me Ranzo way" while Colcord writes "And sing high-low, my Ranzo Ray." Harlow and Doerflinger both give "Hilo" as well. Is there any significance to the place name, or is it pure phonetics (none of the collectors make mention of the port of Hilo in their notes on this song)? Doerflinger ends his 2nd chorus with the word "boy".

Now to the usage of the chantey.
Colcord: no mention.
Doerflinger: "Here is a shanty often sung at the pumps as well as the halyards."
Hugill: "This was sung at windlass and capstan, but Doerflinger gives it as halyards and pumps – in other words it appears to have been used for every shipboard job with perhaps the exception of tacks and sheets, and hand-over-hand!"
Harlow: "Hand Over Hand"
Isn't chantey science wonderfully precise?

Finally, I want to try and reassure Charlie Noble about the Downeast origins of the song. On 4/2/05 Charlie posted, "I've always suspected that the Huckleberry verses came from Maine but I can't seem to find a reference to nail it down." Our collectors are fairly definite on that point:
Colcord: "Although the words of the next shanty make it certain that it must have originated on a 'down-East' ship…"
Hugill: "Most forms indicate a Negro origin, as far as the tune and refrains are concerned, but the words of the solo savor of a Down East or Nova Scotia source."
Doerflinger: "Judging by the allusion to courting while picking huckleberries, the solos may have originated with white sailormen – quite likely with men hailing from along the coast of New England."

So, while we may yearn for certainty about the true origins of songs like these, it's useful to recall that by their very nature chanteys were fluid, plastic, mutable and protean.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 22 Mar 11 - 02:41 AM

Thanks for that run-down, Jerry!

I have a question and a comment.

Why do the huckleberry verses point to Downeast? What are you Mainiacs aware of that I'm not? :) Is it just because lots of berries grow well in that area? To me (not that it necessarily means anything), huckleberry connotes not Downeast but "downHOME" -- they give it a Southern flavor. Huckleberry Finn, Huckleberry Hound (!)... I dunno.

My comment is that I don't think Hugill's writing can be used to effectively learn about this. What did he know about what would "savor of a Down East or Nova Scotia source"? Perhaps something, but I think it's more likely he read that in Colcord and Doerflinger. Hugill did not "collect" in the same sense that e.g. Doerflinger did. His verses to songs are composites of what he learned (/collected from individuals), what he culled from earlier collections, and what he made up. So his statements/verses that may seem to corroborate another author's are often just repetition.

As an example, Hugill's "An' sing, Hilo me Ranzo way" could be an exact repetition of Colcord's "And sing high-low, my Ranzo Ray." He habitual changed "and" to "an'", changed "my" to "me" and, in accord with his theories about "hi lo," he would presume that "high low" should be rendered as "Hilo."

Strictly speaking, Doerflinger may have also got his feeling from reading Colcord. Colcord baffles me why she says it is "certain" it "must have originated". What is her evidence and/or reasoning? Well, actually it is Whall (1910) who says the language suggests Down East or Nova Scotia origins. He cites not "huckleberry" but rather "beau" and "feller" as the reason. His three verses are exactly the same as Colcord's.

All of these statements, possibly influenced by the first, appear to corroborate each other when we read them, and it's even possible that Charlie unconsciously has absorbed the same feeling from reading them repeatedly all these years. (Any thoughts on that, Charlie?)

Colcord's "certain" conclusion is further in err, to my mind, because the solo lyrics of a chanty do not necessarily tell much about its origins. The chorus and the tune (in some form) are the salient features. Solo lyrics sometimes were originally or later became attached. But here, the chorus of "Hi lo my Ranzo way" -- what I would consider core to the "identity" of the chanty -- isn't accounted for. How does it jive with the "huckleberry" theme? There is a pattern of "hi lo" chanties being connected with African-American (Southern) songs. So the Huckleberry verses may originate in New England, but doesn't tell us that the chanty did.

In _How We Talked_, Verna Mae Sloan, giving an inventory of memories from the early 20th century life in Kentucky (Appalachians), gives the following rhyme in her section on "Children's Rhymes":

"Me and my gal went a huckleberry huntin'.
She fell down and I saw sumpen'."

It is followed by a rhyme on a similar theme:

"My gal Sal went up the hill.
I went along behind her.
She stooped over to tie her shoe
And I saw her coffee grinder."

Randolph also has something about this in his Ozarks collection, but I don't have access.

So it seems to have been a folk-rhyme of some sort. In some spheres, this theme must have gotten spliced to the chanty and became popular. I say that because the "wild goose/plantation" theme also appears in pervasive "regulation verses" and yet the two themes don't seem to go together. The comparison could be made to themes like "The Milkmaid" which, fitting the meter, were sometimes attached to "Rio Grande" or "Blow the Man Down," but which seem unlikely to have been there in the earlier/original singing of the song.

FWIW I think the minstrel song fits more completely as an "original." It has a double chorus built in, and the "Ohio" of the chorus, often used as nonsense syllables as much as it also named the river, is similar to that use of "hilo" in Black songs.

So it looks (to me) like there were 2 common lyrical themes (Plantation and Huckleberry). (Bullen gave the additional, completely different "Leg o' Mutton" verse.) They were not necessarily mixed. Hugill mixed them, but it is clear that he created a composite and we cannot assume this was actual practice. As far as I can see, the only other person to mix them is Terry. He included the one basic Huckleberry verse (non-rhyming) among the Plantation theme verses. The diehard skeptic in me says he could have even gotten that from Sharp (it is the only verse Sharp gave). Or, perhaps both collectors (I know Sharp did) had it from John Short. I can be more specific and break these down, later.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 22 Mar 11 - 03:04 AM

From the Gordon "Inferno" Collection:

Accompanying note: "Sung in 1908 in Georgia near Atlanta--work song, cotton picking."

UNCLE BUD

Me and my gal a goin' cross de field
Kicking up dust like a automobile.

Uncle Bud, Uncle Bud,
Who in hell is Uncle Bud?

Me an' my gal went a huckleberry huntin'
She fell down and I saw somethin'.

Big cat, little cat, teeny insey kitten
And de little cat farted like a nachul man.

Uncle Bud had forty-nine children

Corn pone and taters, chicken and ham
Cornfed nigger and nachul man.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 22 Mar 11 - 03:33 AM

From "Turkey Buzzard Blues," 1928, by Peg Leg Howell:

"Now me and my gal went chinkypin huntin'
She fell down and I found somethin'"

(*chinkypin = a Southern term for chestnuts)

Another blues lyric spotted goes "Me and my gal went to Shanky Town Huntin'".

Maddox Brothers, "Step it up and go":
"Me and my gal went a huckleberry huntin, she fell down and I kept a huntin'"

More hits if you search on "chinquapin hunting".


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 22 Mar 11 - 06:29 AM

Davis and Tozer, in either the 2nd or 3rd edition, added "The Chantey-man's Song." It seems clear to me that they modeled it off of the one-verse excerpt in LA Smith's (1888) collection. (Smith, in turn, was just reproducing Alden's 1882 article.) As in almost all the chanties they presented, however, Davis/Tozer made up lyrics. I believe they made up the verse,

I'm Chantyman of the working party
So sing, lads, pull, lads, so strong and hearty.

Perhaps "wild goose nation" would not scan for them. They continue on with some fanciful lyrics about wild geese.

Hugill seems to have liked the above lyric, and added it to his mix. Unless I'm mistaken, it does not appear elsewhere.

Davis/Tozer were evidently not acquainted with the song, otherwise they would not have based it verbatim on Smith. So we can assume they made up the lyric. And since Smith and Alden did not give it a title, D/T called it "The Chanty-man's Song."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: Lighter
Date: 22 Mar 11 - 08:54 AM

The "saw somethin'" lines would undoubtedly have made shanty editors blush, but they're so widely attested (well, relatively speaking) on land that they must have been part of the shanty.

"Huckleberry pickin'" (the more usual idiom for the activity) offers other possibilities.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: JWB
Date: 22 Mar 11 - 04:57 PM

Gibb Sahib, you ask a valid question about "huckleberry" being the clue to Down East origins that the collectors mention. I grew up in Maine, and picked wild blueberries every summer of my life, yet never heard the word huckleberry used as anything other than a fictional character's name.

Apparently, huckleberry is a corruption of "hurtleberry", which was used by 17th-century English settlers on the East Coast for the fruits of native plants of the family Ericaceae.

I imagine that Colcord, who was fron Searsport, ME, on the shores of Penobscot Bay, associated the wild-growing low-bush blueberry (for which huckleberry was apparently a generic term) with that part of the world. Today, in fact, a majority of the wild blueberries produced in the US come from Down East. It may be that, due to the abundance of the fruit in Maine and the Maritimes, 18th- and 19th-century rural social structures evolved around berry picking. A young seaman, who'd spent part of his summers berrying with large groups of mixed gender, would likely have looked back fondly on the opportunities for sexual exploration that a day out among the blueberries might have presented.

(My very first paying job, at the age of 14, was raking blueberries on the "barrens" in my hometown of Brunswick, ME; I learned a fair amount about girls during that time, though by that date they didn't wear dresses to go berrying so there was no chance for viewing anyone's "coffee grinder.")

Any collector of chanteys had her or his world view which affected how they perceived their subject. Ego, prejudice, morals and more determined what collectors included, so how could we ever be confident that any of them speak truth; it will always be their version of the truth, right?

Let me share a bit about Joanna Colcord's methods of collecting chanteys. According to the Introduction (written by her brother, Lincoln) to the first edition of "Roll And Go, Songs of American Sailormen", published in 1924, "...the greater number of these shanties and forecastle songs have been verified, especially as to music, from the editor's personal recollection. She remembers the tunes as she used to hear them on shipboard, as they were actually sung by sailors in the American merchant marine of her day. She remembers many points raised by her father, who was a good shantyman himself, a stickler for accuracy, and who had a wonderful memory...most of the material in this volum has been put to the test of living memory; and where it differs from forms already recorded, it takes its stand on the ground of actuality...The book is a field-work; in the truest sense of the word, it is an authority."

Colcord was born at sea on her father's ship, and up to the age of 18 she spent most her life at sea with her father, a 4th generation shipmaster. To me, at least, that gives a pretty solid base for making a claim about a chantey. But we'll never know for sure.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: Lighter
Date: 22 Mar 11 - 05:58 PM

>But we'll never know for sure.

This is unfortunately usually the case. A collector can always be mistaken or even disingenuous.

The fact remains that Colcord's background and interests make her as authentic a source as any of the other editors (except those who made sound recordings). I don't believe she "camouflaged" texts either - just omitted them.

Harlow and Hugill, to name two, could have enhanced our knowledge - or at least lessened our confusion - significantly if they'd only been trained folklorists as well as singers of shanties. But they weren't. And, of course, neither was Colcord.

Of the thousands (tens of thousands?) of English-speaking sailors who sang shanties between, say, 1830 and 1920, how many wrote books about them? Let's see:

Whall
Bullen
Harlow
King
Hugill
Rutzebeck

Who did I leave out? (Let's add Davis & Tozer and Terry just to be polite.) This is a vanishingly small (but hopefully not too unprepresentative) proportion of (white) sailors. Certainly less than one in a thousand.

We're lucky to know as much as we do.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: JWB
Date: 22 Mar 11 - 06:14 PM

Well put, Lighter. You might add Capt. David Bone to your list, but that won't skew your point at all -- it was just a very few people who took enough interest in the songs to capture them.

It's such a shame there was not a black Harlow...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 22 Mar 11 - 06:42 PM

Jerry--

Thanks for that confirmation on the associations of huckleberries!

We do see, however, that they have also been associated with elsewhere. As you say,
Any collector of chanteys had her or his world view which affected how they perceived their subject. Ego, prejudice, morals and more determined what collectors included, so how could we ever be confident that any of them speak truth; it will always be their version of the truth, right?

The point of my critique is to demonstrate that how they perceived their subject was not based on just their life experiences generally but also more specifically on what they'd read. Additionally, it is to caution that we do not let their version of the truth become ours, unwittingly. The gist of my specific argument is that Whall may have put the idea of a Downeast origin on the table, after which Colcord, Doerflinger, and Hugill accepted it, and after which we know have the false appearance of consensus.

That Colcord did fieldwork is not in question. It is her manner of compiling the text and her analysis that I am critiquing. Hugill's pedigree was also impeccable. But he made assumptions that have come to be viewed as accurate but which really don't hold up to criticism.

Colcord's second and third verses are exactly the same as Whall's. How likely is it that two chanty texts in the oral tradition (in those days) would come out exactly the same? Well it is possible. But it is more likely IMO that Colcord (in the manner of Hugill) adopted these from Whall. Note that Whall states, "This was a chanty with regulation words to the first three verses." If Colcord took that at face value, she may have felt it was safe to assume that her second and third verses (perhaps she had only collected one verse) could be safely taken from Whall.

And again, Whall is the one to state first that "beau" and "feller", not *huckleberries*, point to Downeast. No matter how much fieldwork Colcord had done, she could have been inspired to make her "certain" conclusion from reading Whall. She doesn't say why the language makes it certain, and I am unwilling to assume her fieldwork and upbringing gave her a special intuitive sense to know the chanty originated Downeast. This is especially the case when we see that the lyric pops up in Appalachian and Southern blues songs.

It seems to be Doerflinger who then brings huckleberries into the picture, as if reading into Colcord's vague statement about language. The idea of Downeast origins was there on the table, and Doerflinger could form an association, just as we can today if we want to. But these huckleberries are like "blood red roses." If someone hadn't initially put them there, I don't believe we'd be swallowing them.

There is a general problem with these canonical chanty collectors' texts in this way they influence and borrow from each other in subtle ways. Individually, they are not necessarily any more flawed or biased than any book. But they have come to form a sort of bloc of standard reference that in some instances makes it hard to envision their subject in alternative ways. They have certainly created much of the reality of chanties that we now live with.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: Lighter
Date: 22 Mar 11 - 07:25 PM

As one who's done a fair amount of literary investigating, I can only underscore the fact that as long as it sounds plausible, nonacademic writers will usually accept at face value what somebody else has written.

It's easier that way.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: JWB
Date: 23 Mar 11 - 11:10 AM

A glance at the bibliographies of the later collections, such as Hugill and Doerflinger, bolsters your assertion about the way collectors borrowed from each other. Colcord and Harlow do not provide bibliographies, but they mention other collectors in their notes to the songs.

Doerflinger was particularly comprehensive, listing in the notes for Huckleberry Hunting these citations: Bullen & Arnold; Colcord; Davis & Tozer; Harper's Magazine July,1882; Mackenzie; Robinson in The Bellman; Sharp; L.A. Smith; Terry; Whall. He also refers the reader to "The Ethiopian Glee Book" of 1849 as an example of the appearance of the Wild Goose Nation in minstrel songs.

So if the collectors borrowed from each other, what's our best chance of finding the "purest" version? How about if we go to the earliest collection? In the case of Huckleberry Hunting that may be Smith's "Music of the Waters", published in 1888. Thanks to Google Books, I found her entry on page 21. She gives one verse/chorus set, with tune. The solo runs, "I've just come down from the wild goose nation/I've left a wife on a big plantation" The first chorus is, "To me way ay e-oh-yah" and the second chorus, "And sing hilo, my Randso, way." So no mention of huckleberries.

Her tune is very similar to the versions in Hugill, Harlow and Colcord, with what seem to be regulation phrases at the end of the first and second choruses. The first chorus in all these versions ends with the same two intervals between three notes: an ascending fourth followed by a descending octave. The second chorus in all four versions ends with three notes descending stepwise, from the third to the tonic. None of these authors cite a specific individual source for the song.

Doerflinger, however, states that he collected Huckleberry Hunting from former sailor Richard Maitland at Sailor's Snug Harbor in the 1930s. The tune is dramatically different, and the two chorus are identical in tune and lyric. No mention of wild geese in Maitland's version, just the berries, the boys and the girls.

So, Gibb, would you posit that Colcord, Harlow and Hugill all lifted the song from Smith for their own collections, while Doerflinger collected it in the field?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 23 Mar 11 - 04:27 PM

Hi Jerry,

No, I don't think they lifted their song versions from one another (necessarily). Most have unique/original versions which, with some caveats (depending on the source) are just as authentic/pure as any other. My comments were on the ideas they write about the songs. To some extent, these ideas affect their "version," but again that's complicated and can only be illustrated on a case by case basis.

Smith got this song from Alden's article.
1882        Alden, W.L. 1882. "Sailors' Songs." Harper's New Monthly Magazine (July 1882): 281-6.

She just reproduced the whole song (untitled) of "Hilo, my Ranzo." In fact, her collection contains every song that Alden published. The majority of songs in her text come directly from elsewhere, though there are also a signiicant number of songs that she did collect herself, including gems like "South Australia."

Colcord, of course, did do fieldwork for most of her songs. My understanding is that she would have only taken song material from elsewhere for certain cases where she did not come across the material in fieldwork, but wanted to be inclusive. So she includes some chanties, for example, from Robinson, like "John Cherokee."

1917        Robinson, Captain John. "Songs of the Chanty-Man: I-IV." The Bellman 23(574) (14 July-Aug 1917).

Colcord explicitly acknowledged Robinson. However, in the case of "Hilo, my Ranzo" (or whatever she called it), as per my comments above, I think she heard the song, perhaps the first verse only, and "innocently" fleshed out the rest using Whall's text. (Incidentally, Robinson also gave a one-verse version of this song, but Colcord did not use it -- she didn't need to.) It really seems unlikely that they would have the same exact words and punctuation if she had not.

Harlow learned most of the songs first hand, but he omitted or bowdlerized a lot when it came to publishing. There is also the issue that his voyage was in the 1870s but his final version of text didn't come out until 1962. His versions seem pretty credibly what you'd get in 1870s, but here and there I think he made up new lyrics for the solos -- since "one lyric is as good as the next." Also, from a 1909 article by a Buryeson, introduced to Mudcat by shipcmo and Lighter, we've seen that Harlow reproduced a few of those songs or padded a few of his songs with verses from them. It's my personal belief that Harlow may have used a couple other articles in that way. Lastly, the final section of the 1962 edition of Harlow's book is an assortment of songs that are culled from other texts. All those things being said, his version of "Hilo me Ranzo" looks to be totally independent.

Doerflinger collected all his songs or noted explicitly where he got them. He is the most rigorous of all the editors.

Hugill used a combination of techniques. If a song he gave was rare, then most/all or the verses are probably what he collected. But if the song had been printed several places elsewhere, he tended to combine verses from all of those , as if to give a sense of what the possibilities were. Sometimes the verses are authentic, sometimes they come from contrived settings by people like Davis or Masefield. If he knew the song from the oral tradition, usually he gave his own setting of tune and chorus; the borrowings mainly affected the solo verses. Hugill never explicitly says which verses came from where, or which ones he made up (albeit in true sailor spirit) at the time of publication. This vagueness helps maintain the image of his omniscience! However, he typically did mention, in the surrounding text, most of the editors whom he'd read.

In the case of "Hilo me Ranzo," I believe he said it was "my version" -- leaving us to assume he learned and perhaps sang this particular tune and chorus. The solo verses are from Whall/Colcord, Davis & Tozer, and other books and probably his own experience. The tune, as written, seems a bit awkward at times, and I have a suspicion that there may be errors in notation (pretty common in SfSS). I have a terrible rendition of it on YouTube that I don't want to revisit. :) Perhaps it's time to rerecord!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Mar 11 - 04:55 PM

A couple of versions with the boys and the girls but no huckleberries (and no Ranzo Ray) in (H)ilo Man


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 23 Mar 11 - 05:02 PM

Is that you, Vaughan? Link doesn't work! ;D


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: Snuffy
Date: 23 Mar 11 - 06:09 PM

Yes, that guest at 04:55 was me (away from my own machine).

The link works for me, but I'll try again ILO MAN

http://www.mudcat.org/Detail.CFM?messages__Message_ID=762608


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 23 Mar 11 - 06:24 PM

Link still doesn't work for me (missing "mudcat.org" in the URL?) but copy-pasting the address did work. Thanks!

I'm not sure (yet) what to think of that one.

There does seem to be a lyrical theme or "world" being evoked. But it may just be a creative extrapolation.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 01:10 AM

I have a vague memory of reading somewhere that "Huckleberry Hunting" originated as a popular song of the 19th century, but can't find anything to document it.

Can anyone?

Bob


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 02:18 AM

Bob--

So far as I have been able to speculate, the language of the song points to minstrelsy. The usual question is there of whether the documented minstrel songs took certain lyrics from oral tradition or gave them back to it. Given what seems to be a fairly wide spread of the racy "huckleberry/chinquapin" verse, i wouldn't be surprised if it had been part of a popular minstrel song.

Of course, lyrics were also shared/floated between minstrel numbers. Earlier in the thread I cited a song from early minstrelsy (i.e. early 1840s or earlier) that was using similar language. As another example, a version of "Old Tar River" by the Virginia Minstrels, from the same publication (ca.1843-1843), goes as follows:

pp239:

ORIGINAL OLE TAR RIVER

Banjo and dance accompaniments.
Sung by the Virginia Minstrels.

Its way down in ole Carolinar,
    Oh, ah, oh, ah
'Twar on de bank ob ole Tar riber,
    Dah, da, tiddle dum de da.

'Tis dar I met Aramintah Glober
She wanted me but I choose anudder.

Jim Carron katch a turkey buzzard
Black Betsy charmed dis nigger's gizzard

Her figure set dis heart a trotting
Her shabe war like a bale ob cotting

I ride upon de rolling riber
Wid a sail made ob a waggon kiver

Ole fat Sam died ob de decline
An dey dried him for a bacon sign

Is dere any one here loves massa Jackson
Yes I's de nigga loves General Jackson

He had a wife and a big plantation
De odder one in de choctaw nation

He thrashed the red coats at Orleans
He gib Packenham all sorts of beans

He is growing old, and will hab to leab us
His going will make a nation griebous

Along come a nigger wid a long tail coat
He wanted to borrow a tend dollar note
Says I go away, nigger, I ain't got a red cent

This has the obscure "Indian" nation referencing couplet, the Orleans/beans couplet (recycled in several chanties like "Stormalong" and "Knock a Man Down"), "rolling river" (smacking of "Shenandoah"), and a reference to a "turkey buzzard." The last seems to be another trope in American folk/popular music. A lyric from "Turkey Buzzard Blues" (cited above) uses the huckleberry idea.

"Uncle Bud" was also a song that was typically bawdy, and a version cited above uses the huckleberry couplet.

Songs like that were probably "carriers" of this floating couplet, but I couldn't say which one might have had the most influence.

It seems somewhat unlikely to me, in the nonnarrative discourse of minstrel songs, for there to have been any elaboration beyond the one couplet. If that was true, then someone later (perhaps a creative chantyman) may have started to continue it and construct a narrative.

Then again, maybe there was a popular song that did do a narrative of it.

When one strips down the chanty collections and eliminates versions that were copies of previous texts, one find few that continue the narrative beyond the one verse. There are other reasons why that may be the case, but it may be significant.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: Lighter
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 09:08 AM

Obviously Masefield should be that list too. Too bad he didn't print tunes.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: greg stephens
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 09:42 AM

Thanks to Gibb Sahib, there is some information a couple of posts back on a subject I have been chasing for years(on mUdcat anong other things). Thirty years ago I found a tune called "Is there anyone here knows General Jackson?" in the notebook of William Irwin the English Lake District fiddler. I have been chasing its presumably American antecedent for years.
And in Old Tar River GSahib has the lines
"Is dere any one here loves massa Jackson
Yes I's de nigga loves General Jackson"

Have you got a tune for that song? Incidentally, Irwin's version of the couplet is more in tune with modern sensibilitites I am glad to say. He has:
"Is there anyone here knows General Jackson
(fiddle bit)
Yes I'm the man knows General Jackson
(fiddle bit)"
(Irwin's piece is a three part fiddle tune, with the third part alternating between voice and fiddle).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 04:33 PM

Hi Greg

No, the book gave no tune. If memory serves, there may have been several different variations of "Old Tar River" throughout the book. The lyrics seem to have floated around, probably as per different performer's renditions. In other words, this was not the version you might find on sheet music or a broadside, but rather what was being sung around that time that someone captured.

The name of the book is NEGRO SINGER'S OWN BOOK. It has no date or author, but based on the stuff it includes, it seems like early-mid 1840s. No tunes in it. Just a jumble of song lyrics from different sources. I saw a microfilm of it that I ordered on an interlibrary loan. I was able to copy a few selections, but not all of it. I think I took down the above lyrics by hand.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: John Minear
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 06:45 PM

There is a different version of "Ole Tar River" in Lydia Parrish's SLAVE SONGS FROM THE GEORGIA SEA ISLANDS.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Apr 14 - 06:32 PM

My dad is from South Carolina and he said some of the lyrocs wsere "me and my girl were huckleberry huntin' she fell down and I saw somethin'."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: Lighter
Date: 13 Apr 14 - 07:08 PM

I've heard that too. ("The boys and the girls went..../ The girls fell down and the boys ...")

Did your dad know any other lyrics?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 13 Jun 17 - 02:07 PM

I've always thought of this as a story of sexual exploration, like "playing doctor." The girl does not seem upset, angry, or frightened. I don't think she's trying to get away from the boy. The only time she says no is when he wants to be her boyfriend, and the reason she says no is because she already has a boyfriend. However, I recently attended a panel discussion in which one female chantey singer, who is more than a generation younger than me, called it a rape song. Other opinions?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: doc.tom
Date: 13 Jun 17 - 02:34 PM

He took her on his knee and he kissed her hard and proper
To my way ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, yah
She kissed him back again and then he couldn't stop her
To my hi-lo my Ranzo Ray

Hmmm! Doesn't read like rape to me.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 14 Jun 17 - 01:49 AM

LOL. Just sing what you want to.

It's just nursery rhymes (as I call them) and minstrel/blues phrases, but Hugill, that old badmash, stuck in one lecher line ("kissed her hard and proper") in his book and shifted the tone (as was his prerogative). As a personal touch, and as one might do in the moment when ad libbing a chanty, he shifted from the nursery rhyme type lyrics to his favored whore-monger lyrics (from tunes like "A-Roving," where the context establishes there is "consent" for the amorous John to make sexual advances. It's not a fully formed text meant to be read as a whole and analyzed. Did the person who called it a rape song know anything about the song's history?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: Lighter
Date: 14 Jun 17 - 06:54 AM

> know anything about the song's history?

For many, history is for old people. "All that counts is what I'm feeling now!" - Tom Servo, Mystery Science Theater 2000.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 14 Jun 17 - 09:41 PM

I'm pretty sure the woman knows a lot about the history of chanteys. Certainly she spends time with and works with others who do, too.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey)
From: Lighter
Date: 14 Jun 17 - 09:52 PM

The actual origins of most individual chanteys are essentially unknown - and probably unknowable.


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