The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #63103   Message #2566821
Posted By: GUEST,Gibb
14-Feb-09 - 12:36 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo / Fire Marengo
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
Hi Charley, Lighter,

Yes the honor still goes to Nordhoff for "first" reference to "chanty-man." (Gosse does refer to the songs by any particular name.) My chief interest in the Gosse text is to supply more clues on what Fire Marengo might have been like.

For reference: Nordhoff heard it sung sometime between 1845 and 1853 (those were the years he was at sea -- perhaps someone can be more precise). Gosse heard it in 1838.

Nordhoff seems to be a much more reliable source. Still....I know the whole "What is 'Marengo'?" thing reached the beating a dead horse phase long ago. But this "the ringo" bit gives it some more life, at least for obsessed crazies like me. For example, did Nordhoff hear "Fire MY ringo" (i.e. making "ringo" still the operative word)? Unfortunately, I am not coming up with anything related to "ringo" (or variations) in slang/jargon dictionaries.

In any case, I'm going to try singing a version of it with the "Walk him along" tune -- if I'm going to sing a contrived melody, I'd rather it be my own contrivance :) Just kidding, of course.

On a different note-- and if this is an inappropriate thread for this please tell me-- Does anyone have a good sense of the nature of the action of the cotton screwing? I don't mean the process of doing it, I mean the actual action where one exerts energy. Even with the 3-4 19th century descriptions I've come across, I havent fully understood it.

Granted it required very heavy exertion, but was it a heaving or pulling action? I assume the latter. Was it fairly quick (not the interval between pulls, but the course of the pull itself) or very slow? Gosse, for example, says that the workers kept "perfect time" with their songs, but I would imagine either the solo verses were held out/rubato or else the overall tempo had to be very slow indeed. Thanks for your insights.