The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #126347 Message #2838595
Posted By: Lighter
13-Feb-10 - 09:47 PM
Thread Name: From SF to Sydney - 1853 Shanties Sung?
Subject: RE: From SF to Sydney - 1853 Shanties Sung?
"Can anyone think of a reason why any of these shanties would not have been current then in that location?"
Unfortunately I can: there is no documentation that they were. And the researcher always bears the responisibility of establishing the reliability of the evidence before he goes on to discuss it or apply it.
As far as I can tell (and you may know more avout it than I do), any statement about particular shanties (and perhaps even shantying in general) in the period before Dana and "Steerage Passenger" is based entirely on inference, supposition, informed guesses, etc.
While it seems extremely likely, for reasons we know, that many or most of the well-known "revival" shanties - at least their tunes, choruses, and some of the familiar verses - were sung in the 1850s and earlier, we can't apply that very general statement to any particular shanties without particular documentation.
Words that might come in handy in a discussion of early shantying include "possibly," "plausibly," "conceivably," "presumably,"
"likely," and "uncertain," "unclear," and "maybe."