Folklorist, have you read Black Culture And Black Consciousness: Afro-American Folk Thought From Slavery To Freedom, by Prof. Lawrence W. Levine? Though it doesn't cover chanteys (ah, well), this 1977 groundbreaking book's thesis is that historians, by and large, principally academic historians, have for too long ignored oral folk culture as serious history, and calls for historians to raise their own consciousness through studying the oral traditions of cultures that have been rendered inarticulate by historians in general (and this from a man who was himself a U.C. Berkeley history prof). My point is about the historian's craft. I should have defined "recent times" - which I mean to be the last 30 years or so. Levine's book is quite an eye-opener. Folklorist Richard Dorson said "It is the first historical work written by a professional historian to make exhaustive and sophisticated use of folklore sources..." I don't think the impact of black influences is yet fully realized - and I pose the question whether it's too late for a major historical work on that aspect of it, or will a major historical work emerge and help answer some tricky questions? If only historians of long ago had...ah, but that's hindsight :-).