The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #126347   Message #2829938
Posted By: John Minear
04-Feb-10 - 12:33 PM
Thread Name: From SF to Sydney - 1853 Shanties Sung?
Subject: RE: From SF to Sydney - 1853 Shanties Sung?
Lighter, I really shouldn't try to write these notes when I'm tired at the end of the day. Especially when I lose the first two attempts! By the time I finally got that note posted, I'm not sure what I was trying to say or in fact what I did say. What I would say in the clear light of day is that whatever the unknown source of Shay's "maverick verse", etc., without that source, we don't have much to go on today. I'll let Benet, Berger and Shay stand on their own for what they are worth, but I'm not going to go any further with them.

Likewise with the "Congo River" verses. It's clear they were sung. Colcord doesn't say when or where she might have heard this verse herself or that she got it from her father, which would have put it either between 1890-99, or as far back as 1874. Doerflinger's version is from Richard Maitland, who went to sea in 1869 at the age of 12, but we don't know when Maitland heard or learned his version. So, I'm not going to pursue "Blow Boys Blow" as a strong candidate for a shanty from the slaver ships. However, a version may have originated in that context.