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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Gibb Sahib The Advent and Development of Chanties (874* d) RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties 30 Mar 10


And, of course, stevedore songs continued. One might suppose there was a flow of these songs between the firemen on the steamboats and the stevedores that loaded those boats. The following is a description of the songs of stevedores loading a steamboat in New Orleans in 1841. The "extempore" text makes topical reference to two Austrian ballet dancers that were in town at the time.

from, THE ART OF BALLET (1915)

"Fanny [one of the dancers] was an especial favourite, and when the
sisters left New Orleans, some niggers, who were hoisting freight from
the hold of an adjacent steamboat—and niggers are notoriously apt at
catching up topical subjects—thus chanted, as the vessel bearing the
dancers left the wharf:

Fanny, is you going up de ribber?
       Grog time o' day
When all dese here's got Elssler feber?
       Oh, hoist away!
De Lor' knows what we'll do widout you,
       Grog time o' day
De toe an' heel won't dance widout you.
       Oh, hoist away!
Day say you dances like a fedder
       Grog time o' day
Wid t'ree t'ousand dollars all togedder.
       Oh, hoist away!"

It is "Grog time of Day" appearing again, however, the form really does not match the previously seen versions. My belief is that the phrase "Grog time of Day" had become a free floating one (perhaps like "round the corner, sally") and separated from the tune and framework of the widespread "West Indian" song. Here, actually, the form is much more like a halyard chantey (cf. the 1811 Jamaicans, probably at the capstan). And from the words "hoist away," one imagines that they were using a hauling technique for loading. Personally, this, too, looks like a close fit to the "Blow, boys, blow" framework, but that match is not so significant, because very many songs fit that mold.


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