The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #128220   Message #2872130
Posted By: Gibb Sahib
25-Mar-10 - 10:52 PM
Thread Name: The Advent and Development of Chanties
Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
So much for rowing, cotton stowing, and firemen's songs of the 1830s (i.e. that I've turned up so far). Now to the shipboard work-songs attributed to that time.

These references are well know, so I will try to be brief.

Here is John M.'s intro to Marryat's text

*snip

April 3, 1837, the ship "Quebec" hoisted her anchor
in the harbor at Portmouth and sailed to New York. At the [windlass] the
crew sang "Sally Brown", according to an eye-witness, Captain Marryat,
a passenger, who recorded the words and the ongoing dialog in his book
A DIARY IN AMERICA, p.38-44.

*snip*

The crew were working at a pump windlass. Dobinson's invention had just been patented in 1832!

patent

I don't know if that was just an "improvement" or if it was *the* new pump style windlass altogether; from Marryat's surprise, it sounds like the latter. The earlier spoke windlass, pictured in the Moby Dick clip up-thread, is the one that required removing and replacing of handspikes into slots after each turn. The pump windlass chanteys tend to be akin to halyard chanties.

Here's the extended passage:

//
10, A. M.—" All hands up anchor." I was repeating to myself some of the stanzas of Mrs. Norton's " Here's a Health to the Outward-bound," when I cast my eyes forward I could not imagine what the seamen were about; they appeared to be pumping, instead of heaving, at the windlass. I forced my way through the heterogeneous mixture of human beings, animals, and baggage which crowded the decks, and discovered that they were working a patent windlass, by Dobbinson—a very ingenious and superior invention. The seamen, as usual, lightened their labour with the song and chorus, forbidden by the etiquette of a man-of-war. The one they sung was peculiarly musical, although not refined ; and the chorus of "Oh! Sally Brown," was given with great emphasis by the whole crew between every line of the song, sung by an athletic young third mate. I took my seat on the knight-heads—turned my face aft— looked and listened.

" Heave away there, forward."
" Aye, aye, sir."
" ' Sally Brown—oh! my dear Sally."' (Single voice),
" ' Oh ! Sally Brown.'" (Chorus)
" ' Sally Brown, of Buble Al-ly.'" (Single voice).
" ' Oh ! Sal-ly Brown.'" (Chorus).
" Avast heaving there; send all aft to clear the boat."
" Aye, aye, sir. Where are we to stow these casks, Mr. Fisher ?"
" Stow them ! Heaven knows ; get them in, at all events."
" Captain H.! Captain H. ! there's my piano still on deck; it will be quite spoiled—indeed it will."
" Don't be alarmed, ma'am ; as soon as we're under weigh we'll hoist the cow up, and get the piano down."
" What! under the cow? "
" No, ma'am; but the cow's over the hatchway."
" Now, then, my lads, forward to the windlass."
" ' I went to town to get some toddy-' "
"' Oh! Sally Brown."
" ' T'wasn't fit for any body.' "
" ' Oh ! Sally Brown.' "—
" Out there, and clear away the jib."
" Aye, aye, sir."
" Mr. Fisher, how much cable is there out ?"
" Plenty yet, sir.—Heave away, my lads.'"
"' Sally is a bright mulattar.'"
" ' Oh ! Sally Brown.' "
" ' Pretty girl, but can't get at her.' "
" ' Oh! '"—
" Avast heaving; send the men aft to whip the ladies in.—Now, miss, only sit down and don't be afraid, and you'll be in, in no time.— Whip away, my lads, handsomely ; steady her -with the guy; lower away.—There, miss, now you're safely landed."
" Landed am I ? I thought I was shipped.«' " Very good, indeed—very good, miss ; you'll make an excellent sailor, I see."
" I should make a better sailor's wife, I expect, Captain H."
"Excellent! Allow me to hand you aft; you'll excuse me.—Forward now, my men ; heave away !"
" ' Seven years I courted Sally.'"
" ' Oh! Sally Brown.'"
" ' Seven more of shilley-shally.'"
"'Oh! Sally Brown.'"
" ' She won't wed "—
" Avast heaving. Up there, and loose the topsails ; stretch along the topsail-sheets.—Upon my soul, half these children will be killed.— Whose child are you ?"
" I—don't—know."
" Go and find out, that's a dear.—Let fall ; sheet home; belay starboard sheet; clap on the larboard; belay all that.—Now, then, Mr. Fisher."
" Aye, aye, sir.—Heave away, my lads."
" ' She won't wed a Yankee sailor.'"
"'Oh! Sally Brown.'"
For she's in love with the nigger tailor."_
"'Oh! Sally Brown.'"—
" Heave away, my men ; heave, and in sight. Hurrah ! my lads."
" ' Sally Brown—oh ! my dear Sally !'"
"' Oh! Sally Brown!'"
" ' Sally Brown, of Buble Alley.'"
" 'Oh! Sally Brown."'
" ' Sally has a cross old granny.'"
" Oh ! ' "—
" Heave and fall—jib-halyards—hoist away." " Oh! dear—oh! dear." " The clumsy brute has half-killed the girl! —Don't cry, my dear.''...

//

Note that this "Sally Brown" has the simple call-response-call-response form of a halyard chantey. No "chorus" was needed, though what I call a "mock chorus" (having the same structure as the rest of the song) could be there for this job (it's not in this case).