The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #128220   Message #3031652
Posted By: Gibb Sahib
14-Nov-10 - 05:21 AM
Thread Name: The Advent and Development of Chanties
Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
The March 5, 1887 issue of CHAMBERS'S JOURNAL contains an unsigned article about a trip to North Bimini (Bahamas) at the end of 1881. The travelers meet with some boat rowers, who sing a work song:

One of the large island boats, rowed by twelve stout blacks, took us the three miles to the landing-place, as, though we were only about two miles from the island then, we had to circumnavigate the reef which projects across the narrow strait dividing North from South Bemini, and which strait, sheltered by the reef, forms a most excellent harbour for the schooners and smaller craft of the island. These black rowers then started a chant, of a more Anglican than Gregorian tone, the music of which was prettier than the words, though this is not high praise, the words being:

Oh, I wish I was in Mobile Bay—
   Sally, get round the corner;
Loading cotton all the day—
   Sally, get round the corner;

This reads like a passage from the 1830s! Funny that the author doesn't connect this 'chant' to 'chanties,' but I suppose s/he didnt have the experience.