The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #164243   Message #4155295
Posted By: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
16-Oct-22 - 02:38 PM
Thread Name: Cotton screwing songs
Subject: RE: Cotton screwing songs
Steve: I posted an earlier link to this thread in Maritime work song in general but didn't post anything here for some reason.

Steve: Also interesting that some of the mentions of worksong use refer to steeving hides, quite similar to screwing cotton. (Two Years Before the Mast) -

"This was the most lively part of our work. A little boating and beach work in the morning; then twenty or thirty men down in a close hold, where we were obliged to sit down and slide about, passing hides, and rowsing about the great steeves, tackles, and dogs, singing out at the falls, and seeing the ship filling up every day.” [p.286]

"The next day, the California commenced unloading her cargo; and her boats' crews, in coming and going, sang their boat-songs, keeping in time with their oars. This they did all day long for several days, until their hides were all discharged, when a gang of them were sent on board the Alert, to help us steeve our hides. This was a windfall for us, for they had a set of new songs for the capstan and fall, and ours had got nearly worn our by six-weeks' constant use. I have no doubt this timely reinforcement of songs hastened our work several days.” [pp.290-91]

More than similar, and hemp is actually a lot harder to do right than cotton or raw hide -
“We took in a cargo of hemp at Cronstadt, the stowing of which by means of jackscrews was the work of the Russian serfs, whose brawny limbs were fed on nothing better than black bread of a very sour flavour and garlic. But they were kept in heart by glasses of fiery "bottery," which it was my office to give them at stated hours; and they lightened their heavy labour by improvised chants sung in untiring chorus, under a leader, who gave the improvisations.”
[Autobiography of Archbishop Ullathorne, 1892, p.26]