The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #128220 Message #3014223
Posted By: John Minear
24-Oct-10 - 10:34 AM
Thread Name: The Advent and Development of Chanties
Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
In his new book, JOLLY SAILORS BOLD (published by CAMSCO), Stuart Frank gives us a list of tunes found in a journal kept by Frederick Howland Smith, a whaleman. He first sailed in the Lydia on October 9, 1854. The tune list is found on a page of one of his journals kept during the period between 1854 and 1869. Frank says that it was "probably written down while serving as third mate of the ship Herald just after the Civil War." (p. 358).
One of the songs that shows up on this list is (#178) "Fanny Elssler Leaving New Orleans". We already know this song as a version of "Grog Time Of Day". Here is Gibb's original posting on this song with the lyrics:
And here is a link back to one of the early accounts:
Fanny was a ballerina and toured the US in 1840-1842. Frank says that the lyrics for the song were "miraculously preserved through ephemeral publication in THE NEGRO SINGER'S OWN BOOK (circa 1845)." (p. 374) I was unable to find a full copy of this book on Google Books.
We don't know either from Frank or from Frederick Smith's journal when Smith learned this song. But we do know that sometime between 1854 and 1869, the title at least shows up on board of a whaling ship. Frank says that this list of songs were probably ones that Smith knew and sang. Frank calls this song a "cargo-loading" song, "evidently originating with African-american longshoremen in New Orleans...." (p. 374).
So, this puts this version of "Grog Time Of Day" at sea between 1854 and 1869 in a whaling context. Smith's early journals are in the Kendall Collection at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.