Damn, clicked "submit" too soon. As I was saying, before I rudely interrupted myself, is that finding out the meanings to these songs does increase our understanding, and even if that understanding is not of earth shattering significance, it, at least, satisfies one's curiosity about what the chantey's original composer meant, and in what historical context he was working in. Chanteys were such great outlets for expressing their hardships, their feelings about women, their complaints and praises for various people, I have to believe that the chanteymen who made them up or adapted songs from shore DID care about what they were singing. Others who sang them might not have, as long as they were the right tools for the job. It looks like in this case, though, we might not be able to separate the theories from facts. A worthwhile question and interesting responses.