The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #128220   Message #3029159
Posted By: Gibb Sahib
11-Nov-10 - 06:35 AM
Thread Name: The Advent and Development of Chanties
Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
I've been able to see a copy of NEGRO SINGER'S OWN BOOK. I had to get it on an interlibrary loan, and even then it was just on microfilm.

It's a songster without any author given. In fact, the introduction is written in eye-dialect or minstrel language, and signed by "Ole Hardtimes." However, WorldCat attributes it to "Henry B Anthony". Neither is any date given, but WorldCat says "no earlier than 1843." That seems to be based on the fact that it purports to contain "every Negro song that has ever been sung or printed," and yet it is limited to earlier tunes. It's long--448 pp. No organization scheme that I noticed. Many songs are repeated several times, here and there. Seems like a third of them are set to the tune of "Dan Tucker." No music notation, but in a majority of cases a familiar tune is referenced.

There are several interesting examples in it that could point to the origin of certain chanties. I am curious to know what influenced a songster like this might have had on chanties. My assumption is that chanties inspired by minstrel songs would have developed from hearing the songs in live performances. However, the discussion above, that a whaleman jotted down in his journal some songs from this one, makes me wonder if written texts were any contributing factor?

Anyway, the discussion above, which led me to look for this book, was about GROG TIME in the Fanny Elssler context.
In NEGRO SINGER'S it appears as 3 verses (6 lines), pg. 337:


Fanny, is you gwyne up de riber,
       Grog time o' day;
When all dese here's got Elslur feber?
       Oh, hoist away.
De Lord knows what we'll do widout you,
       Grog time o' day;
De toe an' heel won't dance widout you.
       Oh, hoist away.
Dey say you dances like a fedder
       Grog time o' day;
Wid tree tousand dollars all togedder.
       Oh, hoist away!

Absolutely nothing else is given. Most of the songs in the book are attributed to a performing minstrel artist or group, if not the composer, too. That this has no such notes suggests (to me) that it was not only a "real" worksong but that also it was not (yet, at least) co-opted as a stage song. I imagine it must have been taken from, say, a newspaper report, and included in the interest of making the "ultimate collection of negro songs EVER, dude!!"

Stuart Frank may then have gotten his idea of it as a cargo loading song, etc, from THE ART OF BALLET. A peak at his bibliography would confirm this, unless he does it as a "Works Cited" format.