The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #128220   Message #2894086
Posted By: Gibb Sahib
25-Apr-10 - 02:40 PM
Thread Name: The Advent and Development of Chanties
Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
Bit by bit, I am going to break out references to shanties in RC Adams' ON BOARD THE ROCKET (1879). It probably refers to the late 1860s.

While the main vessel is the barque ROCKET -- aboard which we might assume Adams learned most of the chanties he discusses later on-- there is also the ship DUBLIN. Adams sailed in the Dublin from Boston, via Richmond, VA, to the Mediterranean. Here is what happened when that ship was leaving Boston. Adams was third mate. The crew members were all Black men.

The ship was bound to Richmond, Virginia, in ballast, there to load a cargo of tobacco for the Mediterranean. In the forenoon, a negro crew of fourteen men and two boys came on board. They were mostly fine "strapping" fellows, with bright eyes and shining " ivories," and as we proceeded down the bay they made the decks ring with their songs ; the maintopsail going to the mast-head to the tune of "Come down you bunch o' roses, come down," and the foretopsail halyards answering to the strong pulls following the sentiment:

"Sally Brown's a bright Mulatto,
She drinks ruin and chews tobacco."

So, BUNCH OF ROSES and SALLY BROWN at tops'l halyards.

Once arriving in Genoa, the Dublin was unloaded.

Every morning they were waked up by the song of the crew, as they commenced at five o'clock in the morning to hoist out the tobacco, for it is not customary in port to " turn to " until six, and all day long such choruses as "Walk along my Sally Brown," and "Hoist her up from down below," rang over the harbor, with all the force that a dozen hearty negroes could give them. When the " shanty man " became hoarse, another relieved him, and thus the song and work went along,...

I presume the hoisting of cargo was a similar maneuver to halyards. WALKALONG SALLY and what could be a number of different songs, "Hoist her up from down below," are here.