The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #94329   Message #3492679
Posted By: Gibb Sahib
20-Mar-13 - 02:18 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Stowing Sugar in the Hold
Subject: RE: Origins: Stowing Sugar in the Hold
OK, but what would be the significance of the dating of the JM White? (i.e. besides general interest?)

This is the type of song that seems as though its lyrics would change at the whim of the singer. If someone was still singing this song in 1878, I see no reason why they might not slip in the name JM White. Not out of the question.

However, I haven't seen any reason to suspect there *is* an historically documented performance "out there" that was sung with "JM White." The popular version, with the exception of the JM White swap, has all the earmarks of Lafacdio Hearn. It implicates itself as an adaptation of a modern singer because it follows the same lyric themes in the same order. Given the variable nature of lyrics in this style of song, I'd expect that if another version turned up its verses would at least be partly different or in a different sequence.

It's more logical to suspect it was rebooted in the Seattle scene, along with the grunt in "John Cherokee"! Those zany Northwesterners.