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The Advent and Development of Chanties

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Steve Gardham 16 May 18 - 05:21 PM
Gibb Sahib 15 May 18 - 10:28 PM
Lighter 15 May 18 - 09:50 PM
Gibb Sahib 15 May 18 - 08:23 PM
Gibb Sahib 15 May 18 - 08:05 PM
Lighter 15 May 18 - 05:18 PM
Steve Gardham 13 May 18 - 05:45 PM
Lighter 13 May 18 - 11:43 AM
Gibb Sahib 13 May 18 - 12:18 AM
Lighter 12 May 18 - 08:20 PM
Gibb Sahib 12 May 18 - 07:49 PM
Gibb Sahib 12 May 18 - 07:00 PM
Gibb Sahib 12 May 18 - 06:58 PM
RTim 12 May 18 - 05:11 PM
Lighter 12 May 18 - 04:16 PM
Steve Gardham 12 May 18 - 02:53 PM
Lighter 11 May 18 - 05:59 PM
Gibb Sahib 10 May 18 - 12:27 AM
Steve Gardham 09 May 18 - 06:12 PM
Lighter 03 May 18 - 09:08 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 02 May 18 - 12:08 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 02 May 18 - 12:05 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 31 Aug 17 - 02:40 PM
Gibb Sahib 31 Aug 17 - 01:36 PM
Dave Hanson 31 Aug 17 - 11:16 AM
Lighter 31 Aug 17 - 07:23 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 30 Aug 17 - 11:41 PM
Sandra in Sydney 30 Aug 17 - 09:48 PM
Gallus Moll 30 Aug 17 - 07:17 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 30 Aug 17 - 06:41 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 26 Aug 17 - 05:10 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 24 Aug 17 - 09:52 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Jan 17 - 09:50 AM
Charley Noble 29 Oct 15 - 08:48 AM
Lighter 28 Oct 15 - 01:24 PM
Steve Gardham 24 Aug 15 - 02:34 PM
dick greenhaus 24 Aug 15 - 10:25 AM
Gibb Sahib 24 Aug 15 - 08:05 AM
Steve Gardham 22 Aug 15 - 09:11 AM
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GUEST,Andrew 23 Mar 15 - 09:42 AM
Lighter 26 Sep 14 - 08:23 AM
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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 May 18 - 05:21 PM

One of Villiers' books is 'The Set of the Sails' 1949 which has lots of references to singing chanties. He was from Adelaide in Australia and he sought out the last of the tall ships to sail in in the 20s. I haven't got to hand the date he first went to sea. The useful chanty references in that book are pp 32, 40, 54, 86, 87, 92. There is an unusual text for 'Leave her, Johnny' on p54.

I know Villiers wrote several books. At times he came ashore as a journalist. I had a copy of his biography but passed it on to Les Fromull, I think. This would contain a list of all his works.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 15 May 18 - 10:28 PM

Thanks for the more details of Hutcheson! I think you did present that one, partially, before; I have notes from it in my draft writing about cotton screwing. I've been trying to pull together a piece that makes sense of all the data on the topic.

Among the points that I hope to make is that the foremen of the chanty gangs (cotton screwing gangs) belong to the ports. The would scrape up the other four men to constitute the gang. That's opposed to 5 guys, which may have come off a ship, getting hired. This is significant because the foreman is the chantyman, and it suggests that he would be the one based in the local chanty singing practice, to which the migrant laborers would conform when hired.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Lighter
Date: 15 May 18 - 09:50 PM

Gibb, you should look up that entire article. It's a model of nostalgic schmaltz - the very best kind, if you ask me.

"Whiskey, Johnny" is the only chantey mentioned. And it's entirely possible that the reporter was a little hazy on what a "main sheet" is.

Meanwhile ...

On June 9, 1934, the Wellington [N.Z.] Evening Post printed a letter from 78-year-old John Hutcheson, listing the titles of chanteys he'd learned as an "apprentice in a Western Ocean packet-ship (Liverpool-New York)" in 1871:

"Reuben Ranzo"
"Johnnie Boker"
"Paddy Doyle"
"Blow, my Bully Boys, Blow"
"Tom's Gone to Hilo"
"John France Wah"
"Whisky for my Johnnie!"
"Hurrah, My Boys, We're Homeward Bound!"
"Santa Anna"
"Shenandoah"
"Heave Away, My Johnnie, Heave Away-ay"
"Old Stormalong"
"Oh! You New York Girls, Can't You Dance the Polka?"

Hutcheson also quotes two lines from the forebitter, "The Stately Southerner," though he doesn't identify the song by name:

"When bending low her bosom in snow,
She buried the lee cathead.’”


Besides the "Western Ocean" shanties, Hutcheson mentions that:

“I have heard the Mississippi Screwmen (the very aristocrats of labour) screwing cotton in the hold till they raised the decks to the sound of 'Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag that Flies the Single Star!' etc. I've heard the Jamaica niggers sing 'The Saucy Rosabella' or 'Waitin' for de Steamboat,' or 'Jimmy Riley,' etc., as they rolled the big hogsheads of raw sugar or hove at the winch discharging their coastal drogher; I've heard the coolies in Moulmein chanting as they staged rice over the side; but of all the sea songs, for real life and go, give me the good old vulgar, obscene Western Ocean chanty before them all.


Mention of “The Saucy Rosabella” is valuable. Horace P. Beck also found it being sung in the Caribbean in the 1950s. Hutcheson's 1870s date for "Can't You Dance the Polka?" may be uniquely early. I can't identify "Jimmy Riley" unless (as seems likely) it's "Old Billy Riley."]

Further, Hutcheson mentions that “The language of the average sailorman in those days was, as [the American humorist] Bill Nye puts it, ‘painful and frequent and free,’ and was scarcely fit for polite society. Some of the most popular chanties just could not be written - they'd set the paper afire!” Concerning sung complaints about the officers, the food, and the treatment, “It's wonderful what they got away with when expressed allegorically to music.”

Hutcheson seems unaware that any shanties had ever been printed. “Of course, the music could be scored, but that's a job nobody seems to have done yet.”


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 15 May 18 - 08:23 PM

Tangentially related:

I don't know whether I've shared this before, but I got a group together on a brigantine to try hoisting a fore and aft sail (gaff) with chanties. This is something I've never read of being done, so it was an experiment to see how it might work. Namely, it involves hauling on two different halyards in consort, while commands are given periodically for one or the other halyard haulers to hold. To do this, would you have one chantyman? That's very awkward. So, we tried having a chantyman at each halyard! Granted, the operation could go more smoothly if the crew was more experienced at being attentive to the mate's commands.

Here is an audio recording of the experience. I am chantyman on the throat halyard and one of my students was chantyman on the peak halyard. Note: We decided (based on experience) that towards the end of the haul, which tends to be more difficult, we'd switch from halyard chanties to short drag chants. Since the decision to switch to the short drag was based on the subjective impression of "when the work was getting too hard" (and since this was also affected by the inexperience of the crew, for whom it may have felt "too hard" at an earlier point than is usual), the short drag segments went on a bit long.

https://soundcloud.com/user-225366318/chanty-sing-while-setting-mainsail-on-brig

During the same voyage we conducted numerous upper topsail hoists (with chanties) on the foremast, varying the number of haulers, tempo and style of the chanties. But these did not get recorded.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 15 May 18 - 08:05 PM

Hi Steve,

I don't have data from Villiers in my notes, which may mean that I didn't look or it may mean that I've looked through his books (for example, I reviewed a lot of books of that sort at Mystic Seaport's library) and decided the information was not so notable. Probably the former. Could you give us a summary?

Lighter,

The last account is pretty fun, presented as it is as an account of the "last" clipper ship. The attribution of a halyard song (as I believe "Whiskey Johnny" is *without* much flexibility) to the main sheet is something I don't recall seeing before. Which could mean this is either an interesting exception or a misattribution by the author. Hard to say.

The nature of the work of hauling the main sheet, in my experience, does not fit well with chanties in this form. Generally one pulls on the main sheet willy nilly until all the slack is taken out, and then one or a few so called "short drag" chanties may come into play to get the last slack out. Said differently, the task of hauling a sheet entails pulling until a line is taut (well, until the corner of the sail, sometimes stubborn, comes into place), versus hauling a halyard which lifts a yard gradually into place but which doesn't require such force.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Lighter
Date: 15 May 18 - 05:18 PM

"LAST CLIPPER SHIP SAILS AWAY UPON SEA OF MEMORIES," Boston Daily Globe (Oct. 22, 1925), p. 4:

"New York (Oct. 21)...The last American clipper ship has 'set sail' on her final voyage, a journey from the realm of things material to the land of memories. Within a few weeks she will be junked, ground to bits...., torn down because she has outlived her usefulness.

"A little group of sober-faced men ... who had swabbed her decks and oiled her masts in years gone by, men who raced with her round the Horn,...gathered today on the decks of the Benjamin F. Packard, last of the clippers, to bid her farewell.

"...Some little ceremony was planned.Capt. D. J. Martin, who brought the Packard safely through on her last trip, ...grasped the halyards, the little group in the waist faced aft, and with bared heads watched the ensign flutter to the deck.

"But it did not stay down, for Capt. Martin sent it aloft again immediately. ...The response was instantaneous...as an involuntary cheer broke from husky throats.

"'Champagne is good and so is rum,' boomed Capt. P. B. Blanchard. In a flash, the 'crew' was at the main sheet, hauling away and roaring the chorus: 'Whisky for my Johnny.'

"'And beer is good enough for some,
But whisky for my Johnny.'

"...Captained by a phantom skipper, manned by a ghostly crew of bygone days, she will sail on in the remembrance of those who trod today, for the last time, the decks of a clipper ship. Better than a painted ship upon a painted ocean, she will be recalled to sail around many a fireside, when old skippers gather to swap yarns."


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 May 18 - 05:45 PM

Gibb
January 2017 I asked if you were aware of the chanteys in Alan Villiers' books. I presume you are because he wrote an intro for Hugill's SfTSS.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Lighter
Date: 13 May 18 - 11:43 AM

Victorian writers who mention specific chanteys in contemporaneous use - and express an opinion - often disparage the words, though not usually the music. As a mundane, rather than a vanishing, activity, chanteying was not usually regarded as holding any interest for the educated public. It was at best a diverting curiosity.

From Henry John Webber, "The Voyagers’ Companion and Adviser" (London: The Author, 1885) p.20:


"About every four hours the sailors had to pump the ship; they always did so about half-past seven in the evening, when they would lighten their labours with a song. All their songs were celebrated for strong choruses, but for what else, I will leave you to judge by the following specimens. The burden of one of them was an illustrious lady rejoicing in the name of Brown, the chorus of which was:--

                Sally! Sally! round the corner, Sally Brown!
                Hi! hi! hi! hi! round the corner, Sally!

"No less sublime and beautiful is the following effusion:--

                Huzza! huzza! huzza! my boys, huzza!
                Then fare you well, my bonnie brown gal,
                        Britannia rules the main!

"This is highly patriotic:--

                Victoria! Victoria ! very well done, Jim Crow-o-o!
                Victoria ! Victoria! very well done, Jim Crow!

"The beauty and romance of the following must be apparent to every intelligent observer :—

                Yankee John, storm along;
                        Hurrah for Liza Lee!
                Yankee John, storm along;
                        Hurrah for Liza Lee!"


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 13 May 18 - 12:18 AM

I agree, to Hugill's credit!

Some of the other old timers at the festival have told me about Hugill's scheister ways there.

I do think, however, that Hugill's research (for better or worse) changed his ideas about what he thought about this subject versus what he did / might have thought previously and based only on his life experience.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Lighter
Date: 12 May 18 - 08:20 PM

Hugill may not have wanted to dampen any spirits by interfering with the kitschy fun.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 12 May 18 - 07:49 PM

Lighter,

We are already aware though, I think, that chanty singing is non-narrative. As I put it in my teaching: There's a start and a stop, but not a beginning and end. We know it both from earlier authors' statements and from the direct evidence of the texts themselves. What would be notable (though not terribly) about Bowling's statement, in my opinion, is he is saying this in the context of an article that is presumably about the "passing" of the genre/practice and in which one might expect a similar idealization and romanticization as one sees in many other writings of that style/time period. But he doesn't do the latter.

The typology / categorization of chanty repertoire by task, as a concept, may have been put on the table by certain writers (as I outline in _Boxing the Compass_). The truism of "things can vary" is another one but there e.g. by Hugill as a response, something I also address in BTC. The truth is somewhere in the middle. It's clear that certain items of repertoire—more to the point, certain styles of song—were predominantly applied to one task or another. "Blow the Man Down" is overwhelmingly attributed to halyards, specifically topsail halyards, and I think for Hugill to say one might also sing it at the capstan is true but disingenuous, and maybe even part of his M.O. to constantly assert his superior (e.g. more nuanced) understanding over other plebs'. Go ahead and apply lots of different songs to capstan, sure... but try doing the "reverse" and applying them to halyards--Nope! Doesn't work. The "Misleading Capstan Issue" (as I'll call it) causes a lot of confusion; because it appears that one can sing nearly "any" song at the capstan, and because people apply a definition to "chanty" that identifies its place of practice (shipboard) rather than its sound-form, you get this situation where it appears "Tiny Bubble" could be a chanty and where chanties can be said to have come from every cultural group in the world and where they can be any speed and any meter and whatever form, etc... and where ultimately one who asserts some borders may be called (in Hugill's words) "too dogmatic". But that weird dogmatism was some by product of the Revival that Hugill had to deal with. I don't think we are being dogmatic if we are being descriptive, accurately. And anti-dogma rhetoric from Hugill, in my opinion, keeps us from being accurate.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 12 May 18 - 07:00 PM

Let's try one more spelling!: PAWL


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 12 May 18 - 06:58 PM

heave and paul/pall


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: RTim
Date: 12 May 18 - 05:11 PM

Dr Gardiner collected a version of Leave Her Johnny from Frank Shilley in Portsmouth Workhouse in April 1907 and he finished the song by singing:
- "Heave and Paw"....

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Lighter
Date: 12 May 18 - 04:16 PM

You're right, Steve.

"'Vast heaving!" it was.

...as a few more brain cells bite the dust.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 May 18 - 02:53 PM

Jon
If you were at the capstan the call should be 'vast heaving!' You wouldn't be belaying anything on a capstan surely?


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Lighter
Date: 11 May 18 - 05:59 PM

While working on other projects over the years I've collected hundreds of passing comments about traditional music from old books, newspapers, etc.

A lot relate to chanteys. I'll post the most interesting from time to time.

I like Bowling's observation that typically the chanteys had no beginning, middle, or end. Surely this means that he heard few thoroughly fixed texts and that the "performances" (obviously) ended when the mate shouted "Belay!" rather than when the story (as of "Boney," for example) or the verses "ran out." And, of course, if the job was a long one, ad lib verses could be added to any chantey, no matter how "established" the usual text. Hence, "no end," and for thoroughly plotless chanteys, no absolutely prescribed opening stanzas or "beginning."

When I visited Mystic thirty years ago and took a hand at the capstan of "Joseph Conrad," I was impressed by just how unlike a "musical performance" the chantey singing sounded. First (of course) not all the singers were in tune. More importantly, the length and difficulty of the job - not contents of the song - ultimately dictated the text that was sung. (When "Belay!" was shouted, "Blow the Man Down" - ended somewhere in the middle.)

Stan Hugill was present, and when somebody objected that "Blow the Man Down" was *really* a "halliard chantey," he observed that it ultimately depended on the whim of the chanteyman. If a song worked for a particular job, it worked. The familiar chantey categories were pretty loose rather than highly prescribed.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 10 May 18 - 12:27 AM

Great info, Lighter!

It's good to know that Bowling wasn't a mariner who sang the songs at work, but rather someone with the memory of hearing them from others. And he was conscious of the 1920s revival (or at least the narrative of the "dead/dying genre of the past."

For reference purposes, I have in my notes that the songs Bowling contributed were:

SING SALLY-O [MUDDER DINAH]
[WHISKEY JOHNNY]
ALL FOR THE GROG [ALL FOR ME GROG]
[HANGING JOHNNY]
[ROLL THE COTTON DOWN]
[DRUNKEN SAILOR]
[BLOW YE WINDS]
JOHNNY’S GONE TO HILO [TOMMY’S GONE]


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 May 18 - 06:12 PM

Refresh


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Lighter
Date: 03 May 18 - 09:08 PM

The same Harry Bowling whom Carpenter recorded in 1928 appears to have been the author of the article "The Chantey Passes" (Los Angeles Times, Nov. 8, 1925, p. B4.) Bowling (1867-1955) was a prominent journalist with the Times between 1912 and his retirement in 1942. He was born in Warwickshire and came to the U.S. in 1895.


Besides giving a few scraps of chantey words, Bowling's article is notable as one more eloquent statement about the nature of chanteys as the writer recalled them in actual use:

"In my boyhood I heard many of these songs straight from the crews of the windjammer, and the story of the last clipper ship and an appropriate requiem brought them back with a strange, sad rush of memory.

"These persistent chanteys had no form, little tune, and less sense. They were neither sweet nor humorous. The tunes were draggy, without beginning, middle, or end, so that they lent themselves to continuous performance. They generally had "grog" as the motif and the misery of Jack afloat for the antiphon. Yet in their right setting of tar and cordage and seamen's kits, rough weather and rougher human nature, they had the same penetrating quality as folk songs, gospel hymns, and negro melodies, in their repective and more respectable spheres.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 02 May 18 - 12:08 AM

Same dictionary:

CHANTIER, fr.s. m. (Du bas latin Canterium.) (Gr. mod. ?????.) Pièce de bois équarrie. Plusieurs de ces poutres, mises les unes au-dessus des autres, forment des piles plus ou moins hautes, espacées entre elles et solidement attachées au sol. Sur ces piles s'établit la quille d'un navire qui s'y développera, y grandira, et s'y achèvera avec le temps. Ces piles sont les Chantiers. Le bâtiment qui s'édifie sur ces bases, assez élevées pour qu'on puisse librement travailler sous le ventre du vaisseau, est dit Être sur les Chantiers (augl. On the stocks). C'est par extension du sens primitif qu'on a nommé Chantier le lieu où sont établis les Chantiers. Un Chantier de construction (gr. anc. et gr. Litt. mod. ?p??e???, ?e??, 'Es??????, Na?p?????, ?????; gr. Mod. Ne???a, S????; lat. Textrinuin; bas lat. Scharium; ital. Scario, Schario, Squero, Squerro; port. Escaleiro; provenc. Tchiantiero; basq. vulg. Chantiera; bas bret. Chantier, March'-koad; angl. Ship wright's yard; all. Stapel, Werft, holl. Stapel, Werf; dan. Vœrf; suéd. Värf; rus. ????? [Verfe], ?????? [Stapel]; tur. Kiakanè; pers. Derïabend; hongr. Hajó-epitö-hely, Hajó-gyartó-hely; ar. côte N. d'Afr. Mandjèra; mal. Tampat baik-i kapal parang), un Chantier de construction peut contenir plusieurs cales de construction ou plusieurs établissements et files de Chantiers. Il y a des Chantiers couverts (gr. mod. ?e?s?x??). Le Chantier des embarcations (angl. Boat-yard; bas bret. Kal ar embarkasioun) est celui où, dans un arsenal, on construit les chaloupes et les canots. Sur les navires, l'espèce de berceau dans lequel sont fixés, debout et l'un dans l'autre, la chaloupe et quelques canots, s'appelle: Chantier (angl. Scantlings).— «A l'égard de la fluste le Chariot, faites-la acheuer promptement, n'y ayant rien qui préjudicie tant à la bonté des bastimens que de les laisser longtemps sur les Chantiers.» Lettre de Colbertà Desclouzeaux, 28 mai 1678; Ordr. du Roy, vol. XLIV, p. 273 ; Ms. Arch. de la Mar.— «Le Roy,veut à l'aduenir que vous fassiez en sorte que les vaisseaux que vous aurez ordre de faire bastir ne soient pas plus de trois ou quatre mois sur les Chantiers...» Colbert à Demuin, 21 juillet 1678, p. 361, vol. cité. — «Sa Majesté veut aussi qu'il fasse commencer les deux vaisseaux qu'il a eu ordre de faire construire; et comme il sait qu'il n'y a rien de si préjudiciable à leur bonté et à leur durée que de les laisser longtemps sur les Chantiers, c'est à lui à réparer par vne diligence extraordinaire le temps qui a esté perdu, en sorte qu'ils ne demeurent pas sur les Chantiers pendant l'hyuer.» Lettre au sieur Arnoul, intendant de la Mar. à Toulon, 2 juin 1779. Ordres du Roy, vol. XLVI, p. 3o5; v° Arch. de la Mar.

Les instructions qu'on vient de lire constatent l'opinion des charpentiers du XVII* siècle sur une question que nos constructeurs ont résolue, depuis une trentaine d'années , dans un sens tout à fait opposé à celui qu'avait fait prévaloir l'expérience des Hollandais. Aujourd'hui la construction des navires de guerre est partagée en vingt-quatre vingt-quatrièmes; et chaque année on fait deux, trois vingt-quatrièmes, plus ou moins, selon que les ressources du budget sont plus ou moins grandes, ou quel'on a besoin des bâtiments commencés. On trouve, dit-on, cet avantage au mode de construction par vingt-quatrièmes, que le navire restant longtemps sur les Chantiers, son bois est plus sec et moins exposé à la pourriture ; que le vaisseau est d'ailleurs plus léger, et que, pendant sa durée, ses membres sont moins disposés à se déjeter. Le jeu qu'avait à faire la matière ligneuse est fait, et les défauts contractés peuvent être réparés à temps.

[ibid pp.455-56]


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 02 May 18 - 12:05 AM

Posted the Combes reference here:

CHANTER, fr. v. a. (De l'ital. ou du lat. Cantare.) (Angl. Song [To]; bas bret. Kana; rus. ??????? [Trioukate].) La marine antique avait l'Hortator (V.) et le Svmplioniaque, dont la voix ou la flûte donnait le mouvement aux rameurs pour obtenir une action simultanée et une nage au besoin courte ou allongée, lente ou précipitée. Le rhythme vocal ou instrumental avait pour effet de soutenir les matelots dans leur travail, et de les encourager tant que durait l'action fatigante à laquelle ils prenarent part. Nous ignorons quand la flûte du symphoniaque disparut; mais nous savons qu'au moyen âge le comité, armé d'un bâton qui n'était pas sans rapport avec celui du Portisculus (V.), était aussi muni d'un sifflet qui donnait le signal aux rameurs, et leur commandait toutes les manoeuvres. Le sifflet et le bâton restèrent sur les galères tant que vécurent ces navires. A la fin du XVIII siècle, les galères furent réformées; mais le sifflet (V.) avait été introduit à bord des vaisseaux ronds, où il communiquait les commandements aux matelots. En même temps que lui, et même avant lui sans doute, le chant de l'Hortator avait passé des navires à rames sur les autres vaisseaux, et chaque bâtiment avait, non pas peut-être un Céleuste à gages pour Chanter dans les manœuvres de force, mais un Chanteur volontaire (rus. ???????????. [Trioukalchtchik]) qui, toutes les fois qu'on voulait hisser un corps d'un poids considérable, haler un cordage qu'il fallait roidir, ou faire toute autre opération du même genre, donnait le signal d'ensemble à l'aide d'un certain cri, d'un certain Chant, répété quelquefois par tous ses camarades.

Ce Chant (angl.-sax. Soe-leoð; chin. Pang) s'est perpétué traditionnellement, et il est encore d'usage à bord des navires du commerce, qui, en général, ont des équipages peu nombreux , obligés de ne rien perdre de leurs forces. Sur les bâtiments de guerre, les Chants ont été supprimés; le sifflet, le tambour et le fifre les remplacent à l'avantage de la discipline, qu'on a basée en partie sur le silence observé pendant la manoeuvre. Dans les arsenaux, les ouvriers, les forçats Chantent pour cercler les mâts, et pour faire les autres opérations qui veulent des efforts simultanés.—V. ?e?e?st??, ?e?e?µa, ?at??at?. — Voici un passage du Voyage en Egypte et en Nubie, par M. Edmond Combes (1846), qui prouve que la tradition antique du Céleusme ou Chant d'en couragement s'est perpétuée dans la marine arabe de la mer Rouge: « Les matelots ne mettent jamais la main à l'œuvre sans Chanter, ou plutôt sans réciter des espèces de litanies sur un rhythme très-monotone, mais qui paraissent les exciter beaucoup. Il en est qui , pour s'encourager, expriment des vœux essentiellement matériels dans un chant improvisé, et l'espoir de voir ces vœux exaucés redouble leur ardeur: « Allah! Allah! fais-moi l'époux d'une esclave blanche,» s'écrie le matelot noir; et tous les autres répètent son refrain avec des transports frénétiques, et les manoeuvres s'exécutent avec plus de promptitude et de vigueur. »M. J.-J. Ampère, dans ses Voyage et recherches en Egypte et en Nubie (Revue des Deux Mondes, t. XIX [15 juillet], p. 215), s'exprime ainsi sur le Céleusme des navigateurs du Nil: — « Les matelots» (des canges, sur le Nil)« Chantent perpétuellement; toutes les fois qu'ils ont à ramer, le Chant est pour eux une nécessité. Ils entonnent alors une sorte de litanie qui marque la mesure, et leur permet de combiner leurs efforts. Cet usage, fondé sur un besoin naturel, paraît bien ancien en Egypte. Dans une représentation qu'on a trouvée deux fois répétée dans ce pays, et qui montre un colosse traîné par un très-grand nombre de bras, on voit un homme qui frappe des mains pour diriger le travail, et paraît Chanter.»

[Glossaire Nautique. Répertoire Polyglotte de Termes de Marine Anciens et Modernes, Par A. Jal, (Paris, Chez Firmin Didot Fréres, Libraires-Éditeurs, Imprimeurs de L'Institut de France, 1848, p.455)]


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 31 Aug 17 - 02:40 PM

I prefer "fhanty." -

"They have particular laws amongſt themſelves, during thoſe piratical cruiſes; and keep up a certain order and diſcipline. In rowing, at which, from habit, they are dextrous, they have always a ſong as a kind of tačtic, and beat on twobraſs timbrels to keep time. I have known one man on board my little veſſel opportunely, with ſometimes a Molucca, ſometimes a Mindano Mangaio ſong, revive the reſt, who from fatigue, were droufing at their oars; and operate with pleaſing power, what no proffered reward could effect: ſo cheared, they will row a whole night....

...The Moors, in what is called country ſhips in Eaſt India, have alſo their chearing ſongs ; at work in hoiſting, or in their boats a rowing. The Javans and Molucca people have theirs. Thoſe of the Malays are drawling and inſipid. In Europe the French provençals have their ſong: it is the reverſe of lively. The Mangaio is briſk, the Malabar tender. The Greeks and Romans had their Celeuſma or chearing ſong. Martial ſeems to have made one, III. 67.
"

A Voyage to New Guinea, and the Moluccas, from Balambangan: An Account of Magindano, SooLoo, and other Islands; And Illustrated with Thirty Copperplates. Performed in the Tartar Galley Belonging to The Honourable East India Company, During the Years 1774, 1775, 1776, By Captain Thomas Forrest, pp.303-305

I'll post some of the lyrics in a bit.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 31 Aug 17 - 01:36 PM

http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=125224#2848422

This is not really the thread to go around and around again with these 2-bit comments.

In brief: We largely have musicologist and organist Richard Runciman Terry to thank for popularizing the "sh" spelling particularly in spheres of UK and Commonwealth English. Terry was not a chantyman, but rather an academic musician who favored a "sh" spelling because he worried people would mispronounce the French-style orthography "ch" and because he had a theory that the word related to huts/small dwellings. There was also an aversion to things French going on. He was met with resistance by other UK colleagues. Yet due to his classical music clout, not his seafaring or scholarly clout, Terry won out. He put together one of the most handy collections of pre-arranged chanties set to piano accompaniment. The book was a boon to the people in classical and popular music circles -- those people that had no idea how to create music without having the dots on the page. It became the basis of countless performances and recording which, naturally enough, used the "sh" spelling it contained. The American chanty collection editor Concord followed in the steps of Terry, and her own book became poised as a resource for folk revival people like Lloyd and MacColl. Hugely entered the scene after both Terry and Colcord, also borrowing heavily from their works, and added another coat to the varnish.

Any spelling is indeed "good enough" for basic communication, but if you want to do any research on the subject before the 1920s, then you'd better be prepared to use "ch" spellings.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 31 Aug 17 - 11:16 AM

If ' shanty ' was good enough for Stan Hugill, an actual shantyman, it's good enough for me.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Lighter
Date: 31 Aug 17 - 07:23 AM

It was established on this thread long ago that the etymologically correct spelling is indeed "chantey."

While the pronunciation remains "shanty," for those who care.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 30 Aug 17 - 11:41 PM

*Lee rail.

Process of elimination. Can't afford a pot on sailor's pay.

Also: Michael Jackson sang the theme song to Free Willy.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 30 Aug 17 - 09:48 PM

we call it a guzunder (which is actually a Brummie word, I didn't know that)


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gallus Moll
Date: 30 Aug 17 - 07:17 PM

wish you'd call them shantys

(chanty is stored under the bed for having a pee during the night!)


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 30 Aug 17 - 06:41 PM

The capstan/windlass/pulley/crane (& viticulture & the proceleusmatic metric & much of Western art music's "roots") were invented/developed over 2,500 years ago by the Greeks and Romans. Why wait until circa 1800 for a chanty system?

Answer: We didn't. The modern "practical working" shanty was born with the steam printing press and mass produced sheet music. It is the popular music, vernacular descendant of the Latin lingua franca "celeusma." The latter still means "rower's chant," "sea song" &c in Portuguese, Latin & Greek.

In having popular entertainment to fall back on, Euro-American chanties managed to outlive the steam era altogether.

The more it changes...


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 26 Aug 17 - 05:10 AM

Peregrinatorium Religiosum

When the Priests and Clerks embarked, the Captain made them mount to the castle (round-top) of the ship, and chaunt psalms in praise of God, that he might be pleased to send them a prosperous voyage. They all with a loud voice sang the beautiful hymn of Veni Creator, from the beginning to the end, and while they were singing, the mariners set their sails in the name of God," [singing "Salve Regina ,"] which was the Celeusma of the Middle Age. A Priest having said, that God and his mother would deliver them from all danger if processions were made three times on a Saturday, a procession round the mast was accordingly begun on that day.

Fosbroke, Thomas Dudley, British monachism, (London: M.A. Nattali, 1843, p.331


CELEUSMA (κελεύειυ, to call). In antiquity the celeusma was the shout or cry of boatmen, whereby they animated each other in the work of rowing; or, a kind of song, or formula, rehearsed or played by the master or others, to direct the strokes and movements of the mariners, as well as to encourage them to labour. The word is used by some early Christian writers in application to the hallelujah, which was sung in ecclesiastical assemblies. Apollinaris says, that the seamen used the word hallelujah as their signal, or celeusma, at their common labour; making the banks echo when they sung hallelujah to Christ. In the church, hallelujah was sung by all the people. St. Augustine says, it was the Christians' sweet celeusma, whereby they invited one another to sing praises to Christ.

Farrar, Rev. John, An Ecclesiastical Dictionary, Explanatory of the History, Antiquities, Heresies, Sects, and Religious Denominations of the Christian Church, (London: John Mason, 1853, p.142)


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 24 Aug 17 - 09:52 PM

Bit too off topic for the "chantwell" thread.

Morris-ey (22 Mar 10 - 11:41AM):

"Call-and-response goes back to ancient Greek theatre: it is, as a form, very old."

CELEUS'MA (κέλευσμα). The chaunt or cry given out by the cockswain (hortator, pausarius, κελευστής) to the rowers of Greek and Roman vessels, in order to aid them in keeping the stroke, and encourage them at their work. (Mart. Ep. iii. 67. Rutil. I. 370.) The chaunt was sometimes taken up, and sung in chorus by the rowers, and sometimes played upon musical instruments. Auson. in Div. Verr. 17.

Rich, Anthony, A Dictionary of Roman and Greek Antiquities with Nearly 200 Engravings on Wood From Ancient Originals, (London: Longman, Green, & Co., 1884, p.140)


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Jan 17 - 09:50 AM

GS
Apologies if there are already refs on Mudcat but have you got Alan Villiers' books? I have just acquired 'The Set of the Sails' written in 1949 in which he describes his sailing ship experiences in the 20s. There are several pages that describe chanteying. He was an Australian sailor. The book makes fascinating reading. it's an old Pan paperback.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Charley Noble
Date: 29 Oct 15 - 08:48 AM

Gibb et al-

Just checking in for an update. Glad to hear you made it to Galveston. Sad that you were not able to find more photos of cotton screwing/jamming.

I did find a cotton screw-jack at the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath but not much information about where it was from or how it was used.

Cheerily,
Charlie Ipcar


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Lighter
Date: 28 Oct 15 - 01:24 PM

Here's a significant but all too brief note about the nature of chanteys before the American Civil War.

On Nov. 17, 1916, the Boston Herald printed a letter from Dr. J. E. Crockett who, as he said, had just turned eighty-three. Crockett notes that when he was a youth at sea, the solos of chanteys "were mostly made up or improvised, mostly as hits on matters pertaining to the ship, officers, and crew."

Unfortunately Crockett gives no examples, but at least he confirms what we might suspect.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 Aug 15 - 02:34 PM

Fascinating stuff. And some surprising observations. In England we tend to associate the chanty with the tea clippers and the meat run. A good book charting the different origins and evolutions it seems is long overdue.

I particularly look forward to learning how a work-song aboard can be different to a chanty. And of course those all-important references upto about 1840.

Thanks for the summary.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 24 Aug 15 - 10:25 AM

Still eagerly awaiting the book.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 24 Aug 15 - 08:05 AM

Hi, Steve,

These are just addenda.

I am working on a book dealing with the early goings-on, up to about 1845. I prefer devoting the time to that rather than Mudcat housekeeping.

I have several conference/symposium papers. The latest is from the last Mystic Music of the Sea Symposium, and can be seen here:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8MBMfZJUEBSLWVXdnFOcE5hS3M/view?usp=sharing

Most of what I have to say (though I hope to eventually say it better) about "Cheer'ly Man" is in this Mudcat thread:
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=152560

I'm not too focused on "Cheer'ly" as such because I don't consider it part of "the chanty genre", but rather one particular shipboard working song that, I think, merely co-exited with chanties. I think it was practically in a class of its own, rather than representative of a genre or a wide-ranging body of songs. And I try to carefully distinguish my main topic, "the chanty genre," from a different topic, vocalizations or singing at work on sailing vessels. They overlap at times, but they aren't the same.

There is much more than port workers in the Gulf to consider. I consider there to be a wide-ranging base of an African-American style work-song paradigm or genre, connected by water indeed, but shared between such contexts as:
Squads of enslaved canoe/boat rowers
Black firefighting companies
Steamboat "deck" crews - firemen, deckhands, and roustabouts
Longshoremen
Cotton-stowers
Corn-shucking on plantations

Some of this activity introduced the genre to sailing ship crews before the Gulf ports were operating. I think the plantations and rivers of the Eastern seaboard of the US, which was then well connected to the Caribbean via ports at the mouths of those rivers, provided the first "layer" of chanty-singing to deep sea craft. We are talking end of 18h c, through 1830s.

I suggest some of the prior established customs of vocalizing at work in Anglophone ships, somewhat limited, primed them for acceptance of the chanty genre. I also think that a new found popular/mainstream appreciation of Black American music may have encouraged the adoption of chanties by non-Black seamen. Another factor was the advent of the lever windlass (discussed in my paper, above) by the mid 1840s.

Cotton-screwing remains, along with seafaring, the only of the above mentioned contexts where non-Blacks participated in chanty performance to a degree, and seems to have been a gateway to the shipboard practices. The cultural/ethnic map of the cotton-screwing is complex and varied. It started in the East (before the Gulf ports were established) and began with Blacks only. Enslaved and free Blacks (the latter who were a significant part of the population in the former French/Spanish parts of the Gulf) both worked. Slaves were "leased" out by their masters, so the pay was relevant to all. In New Orleans, Irish and German immigrants had begun to displace Black American cotton-screwers, and an all White (largely Irish) union of cotton screwers founded in 1850 excluded Blacks. But that is late in the timeline. I can't say at what point exactly, whether in the late 30's or the 40's that the Black-White balance shifted, but those years (end of 30s through mid 40s) looks to be when the next "layer" of chanty practice on ships was laid -- when transient White laborers were in most contact with the earlier-established practices of Black laborers. Things became very segregated after the U.S. Civil War, and shipboard chanty customs of European/White seamen would develop in their separate way.

In the big picture, I think shipboard work may have been the least significant context for chanty-singing. It was, however, a context where White people would become most likely to participate or observe it, resulting in that the history of chanties has tended to be told through the narrow lens of where White writers encountered it.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Aug 15 - 09:11 AM

So when's the definitive book out then, GS? I appreciate a lot of your research is on here, but in a very haphazard way.

You really ought to start a new thread. It must take those people on slow computers an age to download this lot.

If nothing else, how about a new timeline on mentions of shantying and in what contexts? I am getting the impression that the whole phenomeneon evolved from the workers in port in the Gulf. Which references if any appear to predate the Gulf influence. Is it still thought that British seamen used 'Cheer'ly Man' earlier?


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 21 Aug 15 - 10:59 PM

Re: Charles Nordhoff and his well-known observation of chanty-singing as a merchant seaman --

I was frustrated that I did not have the exact years of his account. After considerably more frustration and too-much time, I believe I have determined:

His observation of cotton-stowers' "chants" in Mobile Bay would have been in the autumn (say, October) of 1848, and his account of "Across the Western Ocean" (returning from Liverpool to Philadelphia) would have been November (or very early December) 1848.

He finished up his merchant sailor life in 1851 (afterwards being a whaler man for a couple years), but he notes no other chanties after that. He goes on to London, to Calcutta, Madras, Sydney, Canton, Mauritius, Rio de Janeiro, New Orleans… Much of his time in the eastern hemisphere he was in British vessels.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 15 Aug 15 - 07:04 AM

Addendum:

The "one reference" I mentioned in the last post, to cotton-screwers of Galveston singing chanties, came from a statement by Maud Cuney Hare, the daughter of the activist/businessman/politician Norris Cuney who had organized Black screwmen. So she must have been thinking of those let couple decades of cotton-screwing—her remarks come in 1924-ish. An excerpt:

Negro chanteys were sung by the crews of the West Indian vessels that loaded and unloaded at the wharves in Baltimore. Many of the old songs are those of the longshoremen who were employed on the wharves in southern ports to stow cotton in the holds of the ships. The custom still prevails of employing large gangs of both American and West Indian Negroes in the ports of Galveston and New Orleans.

[from _The Crisis_ vol 29, #?]

Cuney-Hare, a conservatory trained musician, would go on to write _Negro Musicians and their music_ (1936).

A curiosity is this letter from her to W.E.B. DuBois, editor of _The Crisis_, asking if he'd be interested in her writing an article for the magazine on "Songs of the sailor -- those of Negro origin."
letter to Du Bois, Nov. 1924

The passage above was simply quoted in The Crisis from Cuney-Hare's piece she mentions in The Christain Science Monitor. It may be that DuBois never took interest in a chanties article, and instead just borrowed the passage after reading this letter.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 15 Aug 15 - 12:33 AM

re: Cotton-screwing

I paid a visit to Galveston, Texas this summer to do some research on cotton-screwing. The reason for Galveston is that it seems the knowledge of cotton-screwing as a phenomenon is most alive there, as one might say, in the "cultural memory." For comparison, I also paid a (second) visit to the port of Mobile, and there it seems the local historians are hardly aware of it. Perhaps it is best known in Galveston because, in the last quarter of the 19th century, Galveston became the leading port of cotton export.

Unfortunately, Galveston's cotton-screwing enterprise seems to intersect little with the early history of chanties. We can surely imagine that chanty singing was practiced there, however the histories of cotton-screwing in that port are silent on it. (Well, I do have one reference from the early 1920s that refers to Black chanty-singing cotton screwers in Galveston, but that's it.) Nonetheless, and though the situation in Galveston was quite different from other ports (I'm thinking especially in relation to the ethnic composition of cotton-screwers), there was a little information to be had about the logistics of this type of labor.

As a point of reference, when cotton was screwed in Savannah in the 1810s -- see the journal of Capt. Carr a few posts above (which I also examined in Columbia, SC this summer)-- the work was done completely by enslaved African-Americans. Galveston as a port, of course, did not develop until significantly later: the late 1830s. The harbor was less than ideal. Until 1874, cargo had to be lightered out to ships. It also had to be brought into Galveston by rail, rather than down river as in Mobile and New Orleans. Before 1838, Texas cotton was actually brought to New Orleans.

It seems the cotton stowing work had hardly started by the time the Civil War upset it. However, after the War, the business grew back up to and then far exceeded pre-War cotton output. Again, this later (post-War) history is not very helpful to the study of chanties. Still, it is interesting to note what went on.

Allen Taylor wrote a M.A. thesis for UT Austin on this period (post-War until the decisive end of cotton-screwing), "A History of the Screwmen's Benevolent Association from 1866 to 1924", 1968. Taylor interviewed at least one retired screwman, along with some other people in the business.

What makes the scene very different is that White cotton-screwers formed a union right after the War, excluding the recently freed Black laborers. Black men were excluded from cotton-screwing in Galveston until 1882, and even after that a lot on conflict meant that Black cotton-screwers did not become "significant" in the workforce (after forming two unions of their own) until around 1900 -- the time when cotton-screwing itself was in major decline. Black cotton-screwers were only able to get some leverage in the late 19th century due to a labor shortage; some men were recruited from New Orleans. Galveston paid higher wages. The 4 regular screwers in a gang made about $6 a day, whereas the foreman (5th member, who arranged for the labor through local stevedore agents) made $7.

Each gang carried a pair of jackscrews. The screws weighed about 200 pounds. They were about 3 1/2 feet long, and the screw extended a further 2 1/2 feet. Along with the screws they had other tools, including a stout metal rod called a "dolley." This came into use when needing to sneak in more cotton bales after screwing one. That is, after screwing in a bale, in the space that was gained by the extension of the screw, one needed to insert another bale…without releasing the pressure. This was very tricky business, and the trick of it (in addition to the strength required) is what made cotton-screwing a specialized labor. Taylor describes the process of screwing in his thesis, but I must admit that it is difficult to follow. Several posts, the dolley, and the second jackscrew were needed to be employed, as certain angles, to make it all happen. The second screw in the pair was called the "tuming screw." Yes, tuming -- I suppose related to "tumid," swollen.

Screwing cotton resulted in a gain of 10-15%. Because having cotton screwed (i.e. rather than just placing the bales in there by hand) required more time and expense (to pay the screwmen), this margin was rather tight. Ultimately it was profitable to screw cotton, but the gains were precarious -- and ultimately became negligible as technology progressed.

3-4 gangs were assigned to work each hold. A small vessel might have 9 gangs working at a time, whereas the very large vessels (later) might have 25 gangs.

A transition to steel hulled steamships occurred in the 1880s. This was one of the big technological changes. Earlier, smaller vessels might ship out 1500 bales, whereas later ships could take 20,000.

The real death knell to cotton-screwing was the perfection of a high-density cotton press, by 1900. Up until WWI, there were still some "standard" bales (older level of compression) produced, and cotton stowing was still used for those, here and there. But eventually all bales were "high-density bales." These bales meant 1/3 more cotton could be stowed, and while at first the screwmen tried to screw them, eventually they realized there was no point to it. So, it only made sense to hand-stow (no screw), and the cotton-screwing profession became obsolete.

A few publications I encountered in Galveston used the photo we have seen (Charlie posted), from the New York Public Library. Here, for example, is from the city of Galveston's website:
http://www.galveston.com/juneteenthcottonjammerspark/
Incidentally, I went to look for the site of the Cotton Jammers' Park (this was the Black screwmens' union), exploring on foot, only to discover that this place, once a spot of community functions of Black screwmen, had long been built over with homes.

A brochure in the Galveston and Texas History center, from around 1915, also includes the photo, allowing us to estimate its date between 1900-1915.

Each cotton bale weighed about 500 pounds.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: GUEST,Andrew
Date: 23 Mar 15 - 09:42 AM

Hi All - This is Andrew from Cardiff, Wales, UK.
I've been researching my family tree and find that I come from a family of welsh shipwrights. My Grandfather, born in 1888 had an unusual middle name: Orenso. We have never been able to find the origin of this name (which apparently he was a bit embarrassed about). However there is a reference in this thread to a book called 'Around Cape Horn to Honolulu on The Bark Amy Turner 1880' which appears to refer to an original form of the well known chanty 'Ranzo' being 'Orenso'. Does anyone have the book (By Briggs?) and can help?

Many thanks
Andrew
(e-mail : tomo.home@me.com)


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Lighter
Date: 26 Sep 14 - 08:23 AM

Worth listening to:


http://www.mediafire.com/listen/47n101di4sl8n69/Songs+of+the+People+4+-+A.L.Lloyd+-+Sea+%26+Sailors.mp3


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Lighter
Date: 23 Aug 14 - 06:21 PM

> Man, you've just summed up one of the major points of my book

Oops.

Your diligent research, however, makes you the real expert.

Many of us are looking forward to your shanty book.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 23 Aug 14 - 05:15 PM

It suggests to me that the influence of the increased size of sailing vessels after 1812, while significant, may have been less critical in the development of shanties than has been supposed. The tradition was already there, at least in South Carolina, and the bigger ships and increased commerce merely gave it the opportunity to spread out.

Man, you've just summed up one of the major points of my book - if I can ever get it out! …and with full acknowledgements, of course.

In the spirit of acknowledgements: though the South Carolina site does not credit it, my guess is that Prof. Michael Thompson, History, U Tennessee may have been the person to get the Carr journal excerpts in the remotely-accessible world of the Web. Thompson has worked on labor history in Charleston, and I hope one day we'll hear more from him about what he might have seen in archival material.


Although I haven't been very active writing on Mudcat lately, I think it was in the "Visuals of Chanties at Work" thread that I mentioned one of the main issues that has been driving my research lately. Which is, separating out the factor of "need" from the development of chanties. The common narrative, from "rise" to "fall," is based on what is supposed to have been needed. While practical requirements *were* an issue at various points, however, cultural custom was at least as important a factor. One does things a certain way because, well, that's how one does things. So the focus becomes the sites of cultural exchange / acculturation.

As has long been supposed, the cotton screwing trade was one of the sites. Up to a point, it was all slave labor, although not necessarily unwaged. Perhaps another point can be distinguished of when the labor became (in certain ports, thinking of the Gulf) waged ore highly, and practiced by Freemen of color. Then would be the point that White men entered the trade. This would be one of the notable professions, in Antebellum US, where White and Black men both participated. And though I believe the work gangs were segregated, White men taking up cotton screwing in the 1830s (? - by the 1840s) would be entering a space where "chanting" had been a long-established *custom*.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Lighter
Date: 23 Aug 14 - 10:45 AM

Really a fabulous discovery, Gibb.

>they work & sing with all their might & whither hoisting hauling – rowing – or heaving at the Jack screw, they keep perfect time in all their motions – this gives them more force as they are united & simultaneous in the exertion.

This is one of the best brief descriptions of shantying I've seen, as well as the earliest by far. The whole passage suggests a well-developed shantying tradition in the Charleston area by 1815, 25 years after the rowing songs of 1790.

It suggests to me that the influence of the increased size of sailing vessels after 1812, while significant, may have been less critical in the development of shanties than has been supposed. The tradition was already there, at least in South Carolina, and the bigger ships and increased commerce merely gave it the opportunity to spread out.

As far as we know.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 23 Aug 14 - 08:25 AM

No, I haven't seen those Porter articles.

I do have lots of "new" references in my notes that are not logged in this thread. However, I am SO behind on the work for the book related to this topic that I have felt guilty about taking any time to do things not directly related to it! I spent several weeks this summer just getting the references, bookmarked over the last couple years, into a bibliography.

Anyway, there is one that comes to mind that I'd like to share because it is quite exciting - AND available on-line to boot…

***

This comes from the journal of James Carr, 21 July 1815 ‐ 4 May 1816. It is part of the collection "James Carr Papers," South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.

Carr was a captain and shipping merchant, of Bangor, Me. The voyage covered in the journal was Bangor, Me., to Charleston, S.C., and then to Liverpool, England, 21 July 1815 - 4 May 1816, aboard the ship MARY.

Below is a portion I've picked out from a section of the journal provided by the archive in scanned pages from the manuscript.

All of the songs quoted can be connected to later chanties. This illustrates again (e.g. as in Hay's account of Jamaican stevedores in 1811) that these songs were being sung by African-American slaves along the shore/rivers before anything like them was recognized aboard deep sea-going English vessels. It is especially nice to fill in one more step for "Grog Time o' Day". The description of Charleston as like a town in the West Indies resonates along with the line from Hay's 1811 "Grog Time" reference in Jamaica. Important, too, is the early reference to a cotton-screwing gang.

Incidentally, another account of slave rowing songs in Charleston, ca1790s, had been one of the earliest entires in this thread.

N.B. Some spellings may be off from the manuscript, because this is from a transcription made by the South Caroliniana Library. I made a couple corrections myself.

//
I shall now give some little account of Charleston […]
[Page 2]
[…] – before the city on Coopers river is a large marsh covered with coarse grass or rushes – as you approach the city you appear on board your vessel to be higher than the streets. I was told by Mr. Crafts an intelligent gentleman, that the highest of their streets was not more than two feet above the higest tides ­ you frequently meet long narrow barges belonging to plantations or used for packet boats with awnings over the stern to defend the passengers from the intense rays of the sun rowed by 4, 6, & 8 negroes – plantation boats with produce poultry pigs &c for the market – larger river boats laden with rice ­ cotton corn flour wood &c almost all
[Page 3]
of them propelled by oars & managed by negroes, some few of them have [scurvy] looking sails – this appearance with the song of the negroes & the martial sound of a musical instrument about 8 feet long made of a bamboo by the negroes resembling in sound the French horn has all together a very pleasing effect – you are struck by the appearance of the vessels with their awnings. The wharves, the stores & houses built in the West India manner – flights of Turkey buzzards &c taking the tout ensemble –
buzzards, houses, stores wharves vessels negroes french, Spanish black & white inhabitants Charleston is much more like a town in the West Indies than our towns in the United States – As you approach the wharves the Song of the negroes at work greets your eer cheerfully from every quarter, I had so much of it while they were loading the ship, that it made such an impression on my mind as to enable me to give you a few specimens of the african working songs in Charleston:

Cheerly up, and cheerly down;
hey boys hey.
Cheerly up, and cheerly down;
ho boys ho.
Cheerly up, and cheerly down;
high land a.
Cheerly up, and cheerly down;
high land o.

[Page 4]
    Sing talio,
Sally is a fine girl,
    sing talio;
Sally is a good girl,
    sing talio, sing talio;
hoora, hoora, sing talio.
Sally in the morning, Susan in the evening;
sing talio, sing talio;
Sally is a sweet girl, Susan is a beauty;
sing talio, sing talio,
hoora, hoora, sing talio.

Ceasar should you like a dram;
Ceasar boy Ceasar.
Ceasar will you have a dram;
Ceasar boy Ceasar.
Ceasar is a smart fellow,
Ceasar boy Ceasar.

Tis grog time a day,
    huzza my jolly boys, tis grog time a day;
Back like a crow bar, belly like a tin pan,
    huzza my jolly boys, tis grog time a day;
Tis grog time a day; tis grog time a day.
huzza my jolly boys, tis grog time a day.

Tis time for to go, tis time for to go;
        Huzza my jolly boys, tis time for to go;
Haul away so, tis time for to go,
        Huzza my jolly boys, tis time for to go.
[Page 5]
Those words underscored is the chorus – those double scored are sung more loud & strong, in which the whole gang join with all their force, and generally much glee – the black having remarkable nice ears for music, are very correct in their time & pauses one & seldom more than two, repeat what they consider the words of the song, all join in the chorus, and whatever work they are doing when in gangs – they work & sing with all their might & whither hoisting hauling – rowing – or heaving at the Jack screw, they keep perfect time in all their motions – this gives them more force as they are united & simultaneous in the exertion – besides it makes their tasks go off hand more cheerily – for five days I had four pr of Jack screws & four gangs of five each at work on board the ships stowing cotton – I was in the midst of them – it often happened that they all had their throats open at the same time as loud as they cou'd ball – you may be able from the discription I have given you to form some opinion of the music – add to that the savoury smell that may be supposed to arise from twenty negroes using violent exercise in warm weather, in the hot and confined hold of ship and you may imagine what a delicious treat I enjoyed, I was happy for business was brisk – things went on well – I retired to rest satisfied and resumed my station the next day with pleasure – A negro alone, seems a solitary being – he delights to work in large gangs – is loquacious & appears perfectly happy.
//


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 23 Aug 14 - 07:56 AM

OK, here are the rest of the Mulford references that I have in my notes.

Prentice Mulford (1834-1891) was born in Sag Harbor, sailed to San Francisco in 1856, where he settled a while and worked as a writer. Returned to New York City in 1872. He wrote for The New York Daily Graphic, 1875-81.

In 1871, he authored this piece in his hometown newspaper:

"Fifteen Years Ago: Reminiscences of San Francisco in 1856." _The Sag-Harbor Express_, 27 July 1871.

The clipper ship WIZARD, from New York, was tied up at the Valejo street wharf. The passage had taken four months. Mulford was one of seven Americans in the multinational crew. Mulford writes,

//
He [Mulford] gave the Wizard a final jump [pump?] out, to the tune of "Miranza Lee," then marched, hat in hand, to the cabin, was paid off at the rate of five dollars per month, and went ashore, just fifteen years ago.
//

So, "Miranza Lee" was a pumping song.

Next, in 1879, Mulford is writing anonymously as a theatre critic. Here he reviews several recent performances on the New York stage:

"A Gallery God's Reminiscences Past and Criticisms Present of the Stage." _The Daily Graphic_ [New York], 29 March 1879.

Meandering into an editorial-like passage, Mulford longs for an "American comic opera" practice to come about (as opposed to, for example, French operettas translated to English). Such would be, he envisions, filled with "the airs of forty years ago," such as "the old negro songs before the days of Christy…" etc. He goes on to say,

//
There's half a dozen old "shanty songs" that are never heard on shore, sung by sailors at work. Such as "The Bully Boat's a Coming," "Santy Anna," Miranza Lee," "Storm along, John." Take any of these chanted by a Blackball liner's crew as they were making everything taut in the dog watch with top gallant sails set and a lively breeze humming through the rigging, and there's music which would, with a little trimming and polishing, out-Pinafore "Pinafore."
//

Again it's "Miranza Lee"—evidently well-remembered from his 1856 voyage. "The Bully Boat's a Coming" is nowadays known also as "Ranzo Ray."

After this comes the reference, recently posted by Lighter, in the SF _Sunday Chronicle_, 23 Jan. 1881. In it, "Bully in the Alley" takes the place of "Bully Boat" in the list of four "Shanti songs." "Miranza Lee" appears to have been misspelled as "Mirama Lee." The Pinafore idea is repeated.

Finally, Mulford's autobiography, _Life by Land and Sea_, comes in 1889. I suppose it is the final, compiled version of what was earlier printed (in pieces?), because it has the same passage as the _Sunday Chronicle_ piece. But now it's "Miranda Lee"!

Here are the two passage, for comparison:

1881:
"For the first six weeks all the 'Shanti songs' [sic] known on the sea had been sung. Regularly at each pumping exercise we had 'Santy Anna,' 'Bully in the Alley,' 'Mirama Lee,' 'Storm Along John,' and other operatic maritime gems, some of which might have a place in our modern operas of the Pinafore school. There's a good deal of rough melody when these airs are rolled out by twenty or thorty strong lungs to the accompaniment of a windlass' clank and the wild, shrill sweep of the wind in the rigging above."

1889:
"For the first six weeks all the "shanty songs" known on the sea had been sung. Regularly at each pumping exercise we had "Santy Anna," "Bully in the Alley," "Miranda Lee," "Storm Along, John," and other operatic maritime gems, some of which might have a place in our modern operas of "The Pinafore" school. There's a good deal of rough melody when these airs are rolled out, by twenty or thirty strong lungs to the accompaniment of a windlass' clank and the wild, shrill sweep of the winds in the rigging above."

I would guess that "Miranza Lee" was perhaps "Eliza Lee"/"Clear the Track," as that was also a pump chanty.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Lighter
Date: 23 Aug 14 - 07:41 AM

Yes, Mulford was the author.

"Miranda Lee" certainly sounds more likely.

Have you seen the articles "The Chanty Man's Passing Deeply Deplored" (1909)(Anon.) and "Drift from the Seven Seas," by Albert J. Porter (1911)?

They contain a few variant lines of common shanties.


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