The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #8009   Message #4148110
Posted By: Steve Gardham
22-Jul-22 - 03:46 PM
Thread Name: 'Wild Goose Shanty (Ranzo)' background
Subject: RE: 'Wild Goose Shanty (Ranzo)' background
Lighten up, Dick.
Bert was very widely-read and self-educated. He was an intelligent, clever journalist and like all journalists he knew how to manipulate the truth. I have not said his scholarship should be dismissed, it just needs scrutiny before repeating any of it. I cannot think of how Bert would have had first-hand experience of any chanties being sung at work. I'm sure he read much of the literature that was available in his day, but a lot of that was distorted by the English captains anyway. We can all present opinions on the pace, rhythm and usage of chanties, but none of us were actually there. Refacimentos like the Moby Dick film are all just speculation. Even people like Dick Maitland were scratching their memories of things that happened 60 years earlier.

Why should you feel sorry for Bert? We all remember him with fond memories and are very glad that he left behind such an influential legacy. Almost all of the stuff he distorted or made up is common knowledge now, so little harm done.

He was writing sleeve notes and books when very little serious research had been done in the history of folksong, so he made some of it up. We can go to other resources to find out nowadays, so not a problem.