The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #145654   Message #3372585
Posted By: GUEST,Lighter
05-Jul-12 - 06:49 PM
Thread Name: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
I may have said this some years ago, but I can't find the post quickly, so I'll repeat it.

I met Stan Hugill at Mystic Seaport in 1988 and 1989. In '88 I asked him straight out what he thought of MacColl and Lloyd's performances. He believed that they had caught the "spirit" of the shanties better than any revivalists who had yet recorded (he was especially scornful of "radio singers.")

He objected mildly to the occasional harmony singing, because sailors (except Welsh crews, many of whom came from a strong tradition of choir singing) didn't often sing in harmony.

What he objected to most was Lloyd & MacColl's combination of bowdlerizing on the one hand (which he realized was unavoidable) and then, on the other, fashioning mildly bawdy or double-entendre lines of their own.

The example he gave instantly and with unmistakable disdain was the line from Lloyd's "Farewell Nancy": "Your little behind, love, would freeze in the wind, love." Hugill said that sailors didn't use words like "behind": "They called a spade a spade." Furthermore, they wouldn't have sung about their girlfriends' derrieres in a sentimental song like that anyway. The shanties, of course, were different, and they wouldn't have said "derriere" either.

He told me the only sea songs he knew that relied partially on double entendres were "Ratcliffe Highway"/"Cruising 'Round Yarmouth," and "The Fireship," which has a similar theme.