The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #35843   Message #1587530
Posted By: Ken Schatz
21-Oct-05 - 12:46 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Blackbird Get Up (West Indies chantey)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Blackbird Get Up
For context and some description of the song as it relates to the task of whaling, see Roger D. Abrahams' amazing book, Deep the Water, Shallow the Shore: Three Essays on Shantying in the West Indies. It's back in print, published by Mystic Seaport. Not all is explained, but it is fascinating. Apparently the 'wet' verses, including 'water feel a stick' were sung when the men were actually being rained on, and were sometimes used specifically to pull the boat out of the water during the rain. The boats were sprit-rigged sloops with a center- or dagger-board. The 'stick' could be part of the boat. It could also, I suppose, signify a harpoon, the harpoon gun, or the killing iron, 'a wooden-handled piece of steel, about two feet long.' Mm. I think it's the mast or tiller.

Hi Barry! Hi Ali-baby! Hi Charley!