The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #169754   Message #4105207
Posted By: Gibb Sahib
07-May-21 - 06:00 PM
Thread Name: 'Shenandoah' rhythm/meter
Subject: RE: 'Shenandoah' rhythm/meter
There's no way that a chantyman is getting out of work entirely! I, however, have no way to refute the idea (of which I'm certainly also aware) that chantymen didn't / sometimes didn't / often didn't work. I don't remember where it comes from -- let's keep an eye out.

Among cotton screwing gangs, the chantyman did not labor. He was the foreman. In fact, there would not be any space for him at the screw. I think this suggests the possibility that a shantyman's song as his labor did sometimes suffice.

When on the halyard, the chantyman is customarily at the head of the line and I feel that is an *easier* and more comfortable position. So that's a perk. On the windlass, according to the custom at Mystic Seaport at least, the chantyman is contributing as you see in the video, which I also find more comfortable than the other positions.

My somewhat haphazard opinion is that there could be an attitude that the chantyman could, at times, work LESS. "It depends."
How the nuance of that (i.e. how it depends) was in reality corresponds to what might be imagined from narratives of chanty writers is something I'm not sure about. Probably Hugill again, ha!