The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #152346 Message #3563560
Posted By: Lighter
02-Oct-13 - 07:49 AM
Thread Name: 'Obscenity' in Chanties/Shanties
Subject: RE: 'Obscenity' in Chanties/Shanties
Bert, so what?
A further point about the chanteys is that except for the virtually unique "Cruising 'Round Yatmouth/ Ratcliffe Highway" family, their ribaldry, as Hugill says, didn't rely on double-entendre or ren-faire innuendo, a clever style presumably more likely to appeal to modern folkies. The few examples we have confirm that it was straightforward, unapologetic, and no more or less "witty" than other chantey lyrics.
As the Gordon ex. shows, sailor ribaldry could also be racist - as one would expect from the racist era in which chanteys were common.
(I've switched over to the "chantey" spelling because of the persuasive evidence, unearthed on another thread, that the word really does come, ultimately, from French "chanter." Maybe I'll switch back some day.)