The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #128220   Message #2888918
Posted By: Gibb Sahib
17-Apr-10 - 10:17 PM
Thread Name: The Advent and Development of Chanties
Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
Here's one to file back with the African-American rowing descriptions of the 1830s.

THE PLANTER, by David Brown, 1853. The narrator is on the St. Johns River, Florida. It is Feb. 1834.

What most surprised us in the negroes,—strangers till then to their peculiarities—was their remarkable talent of improvisation. Their extemporaneous songs at the oar, suited to various scenes and occasions and circumstances present, induced the natural feeling that our boatmen were a set of rare geniuses, selected by our generous friend for the purpose of giving us additional pleasure and surprise. It was afterwards found that extemporaneous singing was not uncommon among them.

The negro boatman of the South seems inspired by the improvising muse whenever he seizes the oar; and especially if it be to row a company of agreeable people on a party of pleasure. If there be young ladies of the number, they may be quite sure to be introduced by the muse, and to receive not only compliments, but admonitions.