The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #94329 Message #3492340
Posted By: Gibb Sahib
19-Mar-13 - 05:37 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Stowing Sugar in the Hold
Subject: RE: Origins: Stowing Sugar in the Hold
I've not seen this song in any history except Lafcadio Hearn.
Evidently, before being gathered into _Lafcadio Hearn's America_, it appeared in Hearn's _Miscellanies (Vol. 1)_ (1924), _Selected Writings_ (1949), and _Children of the Levee_ (1957), along with being borrowed into books like Botkin and _The Book of Negro Folklore_ (L. Hughes & A. Bontemps, 1958).
The excerpt originates in the news article "Levee Life: Haunts and Pastimes of the Roustabouts: Their Original Songs and Dances," _Cincinnati Commercial_, March 17, 1876.
The version performed by recent singers does look (IMO) adapted to someone's personal taste.
I think you've already done most of the work in eliminating suspects.
Pint & Dale state in the the notes to their 1997 album _Round the Corner_ that the song was introduced to their local Seattle chanty-singing community by Marc Bridgham—former Morrigan with Pint (1978-1980). I doubt Morrigan would have performed this sort of material themselves; I am guessing that this was after the break up of Morrigan! Bridgham evidently moved away from Seattle, so if you find the date of that move it *might* narrow things down.
The song seems to have stayed in the Seattle/Vancouver scene (e.g. lyrics from Jon Pfaff in the DT). One of the albums featuring Pacific Northwest musicians, the "Victory Sings at Sea" series, includes it: 1995's _The Curse of the Somers_. It would be good to know who sang that one.
So perhaps between 1980 and 1995 one would find how it was adopted/adapted.
If there were other historical sources, it would make the story more interesting.
It would be interesting to know why the person changed the boat to J.M White.
Incidentally, I've never sung the song myself.