The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #46744   Message #2597254
Posted By: Gibb Sahib
25-Mar-09 - 04:33 PM
Thread Name: Jamboree: Oat Cakes?
Subject: RE: Jamboree: Oat Cakes?
Ian A,

For what it's worth, I've learned to live with Hugill's style of bowdlerization. I've tried to look at it from the standpoint that in many (most?) chanteys, the verses/ lyrics were variable/optional. The "professional" chanteyman would be able to make his lyrics as clean or as dirty as he wished, at the moment. I get the feeling that even if I were to see the supposed "uncovered" versions of all these songs in print, I would still view them with suspicion because I could come up with something way more dirty!....and if I could, I'd suspect that some singers did. Otherwise, I'd be forced to admit that my mind is more debased! I am mostly kidding here, but there may be something to this, about what we view as obscene and why leave certain things unsaid.

Many of the earlier collectors printed only 1 or 2 verses on the grounds that there were no set verses, "so why pretend to set them down?" That being said, I am glad for all the variety of verses that Hugill gives. I agree that he is a tease, but at least he often provided rhyming equivalents or double entendre so you can guess, as opposed to wholesale bowdlerization.

I can deal quite well with "ringtailed black man sheet it home behind," but I really dislike "your pigtail, sailor, hanging down behind"!