The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #9242   Message #60761
Posted By: Barry Finn
28-Feb-99 - 05:22 PM
Thread Name: sea shanties
Subject: RE: sea shanties
Hi Wotcha, thanks for the straighting out on those sessions. I've yet to hit the NYC sessions but have sung in various places with a good bit of those that are regulars & I've been mightly impressed. It's been 20 yrs since I've frequented the San Francisco sessions & would die for any excuse to hit that one or the others that you've mentioned.

Hugill leans to the word Shanty as coming from the southern ports & the Afro American influence. I'd venture to take this a good bit further. The Eastern seaboard, from New England to the West Indies, prior to the Civil War & going back to the Revolution, was governed if not ruled by Black Watermen. In the North, Captain A.B.Boston, a contempory of Chrispuis Adioux (Sp?), was an Afro American captain of the whaling schooner 'Industry' & she was manned by an all black crew. This was not anymore uncommon than finding white sailors working the seaports. The best a black man could hope for at the time would be to work the water (later came the RR), weither it was on a plantation owned vessel or a foreign owned ship with a checkerboard crew. The slave & the freeman sailed the Alantic rim for near 100 years singing work songs, the shanties from their tradition lasted far into the 19th century on the smaller vessels while the shanties of their white counterparts died out. Would it not then be very likely that the shanty may have been in use in these areas a good many years before the rise of the so called mid 18th century golden age of shanties, only not collected or documented until it's near demise. Abrahams collected in the 1960's throughout the Caribbean, Lomax along the Georgia Sae Islands from the 40's to the 60's & we have the living legacy of the Manhaden Chanteymen & the Northern Neck Chanteymen that sang up until the 50's in the Manhaden fishing industry. I think that the Afro American influence on shanties is still greatly underestimated. Any input &/or comments would be a great value to me if anyone would care to make on this subject. Barry