The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #106279   Message #2196736
Posted By: The Vulgar Boatman
18-Nov-07 - 11:13 AM
Thread Name: Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs
Subject: RE: Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs
So the songs we have now are a more or less modern attempt for whatever reason (including commercial) to set down a bit of otherwise oral history for the entertainment of canal enthusiasts. Isn't that how much of what we regard as folk music came into being? What isn't in doubt, at least from my conversations with ex working boatmen is that quite a number of the boatmen played instruments, melodeon and banjo (oh bugger) being apparent favourites, and what they played, again in the way of folk music, were the popular songs of the day. So when they say they sang "The Moon Shines Bright", forget folk carols and think Charlie Chaplin...I suspect that much of that died when carrying batteries and a wireless became more practicable. Also, they were one of the last bastions of step-dancing, including a combative variant that entailed holding on to opposite corners of a handkerchief and dancing on or near to your opponent's feet until one of you let go. I'm still trying to establish what tunes they used. Quite what pleasure boaters have got to sing about just now is beyond me.