The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #145654   Message #4181647
Posted By: Gibb Sahib
14-Sep-23 - 06:47 PM
Thread Name: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
Not much substance here, just a remark:

I've noticed "Doodle [sic] Let Me Go" has become (recently, I think) more popular on the eastern side of the Atlantic and in the cyberspace.

I suppose the circa 2019 film _The Lighthouse_ contributed a little bit to that. (Funny enough, I suspect the makers had a look at Hugill, or [even more likely] a performer who had, for that.)

But Lloyd's rendition popularized it, I guess. Lloyd appears to have used Cecil Sharp _English Folk-Chanteys_ (1914) as his source. After the first verse, the lyrics are Lloyd's. Lloyd also changes the form by creating solo couplets (whereas the versions in Sharp, Terry, and Hugill have just one-line solos).

You can roughly tell who might have gotten it from the Lloyd lineage if they sing couplets, and if they do a little snap rhythm (Lloyd's addition, not in the books) on the word "yellow" in the chorus.

Anyway, my remark is that it strikes me as funny hearing so many people sing about "yaller girls." It's such a trope in minstrel songs and 19th c African American songs (though I don't know the exact extent of cross-influence between those spheres on this particular matter), that it's just kind of odd to hear it belted with such passion.

The interpretation I would hazard is that Lloyd's text lays on the narrative of "whoring down in Peru" so thickly that singers, if they care to think what a yellow gal is, suppose it means some quaint name for a "Spanish" prostitute. Or something like that. The cultural distance of "creoles down in Peru," perhaps, makes it politically more palatable than the alternative, a colorist term of US Black people. Concurrently, they are not based in the American cultural environment enough to know it as a the dated but still used term among some Black Americans (usually within their community only) and the connotations it has and had.

Mind, I don't have a strong complaint about people singing it, per se, but I figure that if they knew it better they might be a little less enthusiastic!

And no, Texans and their state song are not the same ;)