The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #8009   Message #4147683
Posted By: Gibb Sahib
18-Jul-22 - 09:09 AM
Thread Name: 'Wild Goose Shanty (Ranzo)' background
Subject: RE: 'Wild Goose Shanty (Ranzo)' background
Hi Steve,

Difference between a "long haul" (halyard) chanty's form -- which I consider THE standard chanty form -- and a "short haul" (course sheets/tacks, couple other doo-dads) -- of which there are actual less than a handful of exemplars -- is the balanced length between call lines and response lines in the former form. Sometimes the response lines might look shorter (i.e. than the call lines) in text on a page, but of course in singing the words will be stretched out so that in musical time they are the same. Take that as true in ninety-whatever-percent of cases and let's not worry about 100%.

I consider this chanty to be another variation of "hilo, my ranzo way" or "huckleberry hunting" etc etc, so here are some of the requested 1920s recordings you asked for! (there are 2 Carpenter recordings):

My conclusion is, yes, it could be sung at halyards, no problem. Form is right. Rhythm is right. The slow TEMPO of the singers might give you pause, and we could go on and on splitting that hair. If it helps to envision it better at a quick tempo, here's Craig Edwards singing it in modern times:

To reiterate, it COULD be sung at halyards. I'm not able to analyze all the data right now to give an opinion as to to what extent / how often it may actually have been sung at halyards.

For whatever it's worth for brainstorming -- I'm unable to elaborate -- I strongly suspect this song's origin to have been river steamboats. (And that's not in competition with the floating minstrel song verses; I'm talking about the "essence" of the song: tune and chorus.)

Gratuitous aside: I don't think Lloyd quite understood the rhythm of chanties, and the two prominent examples of when he screwed the pooch were in "Heave away, my johnnies" and "South Australia". In both, it's pretty clear that he was working from a transcription in a book but whereas the transcription in the books were fine, Lloyd mysteriously takes the correct pitches of the melody but sets them in rhythm incorrectly. The mystery is whether he just couldn't read the music well enough, didn't care to, or just felt like doing his own thing. So, I can't remember the story of how / where Lloyd got the "Wild Goose" one, except to say it seems like another of those cases where he just said "F- it, Homes. I'm just gonna go for it."