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


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


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


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).