The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #126347   Message #2860199
Posted By: Gibb Sahib
09-Mar-10 - 12:22 PM
Thread Name: From SF to Sydney - 1853 Shanties Sung?
Subject: RE: From SF to Sydney - 1853 Shanties Sung?
Here's a round-up of "Grog time" (which, by the way, has just struck here in EST). Hopefully I haven't made any significant mistakes.

LANDSMAN HAY (event from 1811)

Jamaica, stevedore apparently working at capstan

Grog time of day, boys
Grog time of day,
CH: Huro, my jolly boys,
        Grog time of day

[I don't know if the chorus marking is in the original. I've taken this from Hugill. In other references, this whole bit is the chorus]

SERVICE AFLOAT (published 1833, but appears to describe observations from during Napoleanic Wars, so 1815 or earlier)

Antigua, for rowing

Massa lock de door, and take away de key
Hurra, my jolly boys, grog time a day
CH: Grog time a day, my boys, grog time a day,
        Hurra, my jolly boys, grog time a day

WEST INDIA SKETCH BOOK, vol 1 (Published 1834 or earlier? and referring to events possibly as early as 1822 or earlier)

Hurra, my jolly boys
CH: Fine time o' day
We pull for San Thamas boys
CH: Fine time o' day
Nancy Gibbs and Betsy Braid
CH: Fine time o' day
Massa come fra London town
CH: Fine time o' day ETC

Here is Finn & Haddie's revival of "Fine Time o' Day":

"Waldie's Select Circulating Library," II (Dec. 24,1833)

Rowing, "well known West Indian canoe song"

The captain's gone ashore;
The mate has got the key;
Hurrah! my jolly boys,-
'Tis grog time o' day!

TAR BRUSH SKETCHES (story, published 1836)

"In Callao Harbor," solo

When de cap'un go ashore,
An' de mate he hab de key,
You want a nigger steward
When it's grog time o' day
[CH:] Grog time o' day [ETC?]

TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MAST (original 1840 manuscript, in reference to 1834-36)

Boston-California. The task is unclear.

"Grog Time a Day" (title only)

TELEMACHUS, OR, THE ISLAND OF CALYPSO (a play, republished in 1879. First performance was given 26 Dec. 1834.)

Gives stage direction for "Music – Grog time of day, boys" Set off the coast of "a West India island." Newly composed lyrics follow.


An anecdote about two sister Austrian ballet dancers touring America in 1841.

"Fanny [one of the dancers] was an especial favourite, and when the sisters left New Orleans, some niggers, who were hoisting freight from the hold of an adjacent steamboat—and niggers are notoriously apt at catching up topical subjects—thus chanted, as the vessel bearing the dancers left the wharf:

Fanny, is you going up de ribber?
        Grog time o' day
When all dese here's got Elssler feber?
        Oh, hoist away!
De Lor' knows what we'll do widout you,
        Grog time o' day
De toe an' heel won't dance widout you.
        Oh, hoist away!
Day say you dances like a fedder
        Grog time o' day
Wid t'ree t'ousand dollars all togedder.
        Oh, hoist away!

C# / Mr. NB Chisholm (1916)

Appalachians, as mnemonic aid to remember fife tune to "Napolean's Retreat"

It's grog time of day, my love
Grog time of day
When Boney crossed the Alps
It's grog time of day.