The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #90153   Message #1707211
Posted By: Stilly River Sage
30-Mar-06 - 11:54 PM
Thread Name: Child-safe Sea Chanties
Subject: RE: Child-safe Sea Chanties
I don't know that most kids wouldn't have heard those--kids who were around sea chanteys probably did hear them--I certainly did!

I was thinking of "Paddy West" when I started reading this, but had forgotten that description of the crew. My Dad sang many of these songs to us as children. I remember getting on the Fauntleroy ferry in the family station wagon and my sister, aged four, piped up when a deckhand walked past her open window "Is that the dirty little cabin boy?" (Poor guy may have been puzzled if he heard her, and us, because the question was met with gales of laughter!)

There are lots of maritime songs. You could do a pretty good version of Eddystone Light and I don't think you have to go into a discussion of biology to get a laugh out of the "he slept with a mermaid one fine night" and resulting progeny verse. The Mermaid would work--they all die, but it isn't suggestive that I recall. I had a fairly liberal childhood, as have my children, so we aren't alarmed about a lot of the stuff that some of the church folks might find too suggestive.

There are silly songs for small children like "There's a hole in the bottom of the sea" that isn't a chantey but is fun.

As mentioned above, "Golden Vanity" is a wonderful little song, and "High Barbary." They're just plain fun to sing.

Songs go through my head as I consider this, and I glance over at my wall of records and recordings. Ed McCurdy, Richard Dyer-Bennett, Sam Hinton, there are lots of singers who did some sea songs or chanteys.

Of course, many more come to mind that you probably couldn't sing. And all of them are a jumble--I'll have to pull out a few albums and tapes and give them a listen.