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The Advent and Development of Chanties

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GUEST,Spot 30 Aug 18 - 08:30 AM
Steve Gardham 31 May 18 - 04:52 PM
Steve Gardham 31 May 18 - 04:37 PM
Steve Gardham 31 May 18 - 04:25 PM
Steve Gardham 31 May 18 - 04:11 PM
Steve Gardham 31 May 18 - 04:00 PM
Steve Gardham 31 May 18 - 03:51 PM
Steve Gardham 31 May 18 - 03:41 PM
Steve Gardham 31 May 18 - 03:22 PM
Steve Gardham 31 May 18 - 08:45 AM
Gibb Sahib 31 May 18 - 04:07 AM
Steve Gardham 28 May 18 - 12:22 PM
Gibb Sahib 28 May 18 - 04:24 AM
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
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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: GUEST,Spot
Date: 30 Aug 18 - 08:30 AM

Here is a 'major piece of work' on shanties in case people have not seen it. It is by a well respected blues historian, so may be of interest.


https://www.earlyblues.com/Essay%20-%20Blues%20at%20Sea.htm


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 31 May 18 - 04:52 PM

Ah, I've found the transcription of the tape. I acquired it in 1969. The quality of recording is very poor but could perhaps be digitised. The singers are German and English seamen on board ship accompanied by an organ/accordeon of some sort.

Among some modern songs they sang Sacramento in German, Rolling Home, and Shenandoah which I haven't transcribed.


Sally Brown (First 3 verse seem pretty standard.)

O Sally Brown, she's a bright mulatto
Way, hay, she roll and go
O she drinks rum and chews terbaccer
Spend my money on Sally Brown

Seven long years I courted Sally
She's my own, my favourite Sally

O Sally Brown was a Creole lady
I know she's got a n.....r baby

O Sally Brown I kissed goodbye ter
I've sailed too long across the water

O Sally Brown has a big buck n.....r
Her bow is big but his starn is bigger.

O Sally Brown she wears red laces
O man aloft the white pull stays'ls (not sure if this is right)


What shall we do with a drunken sailor etc.

Put him in the longboat till he's sober etc.

What shall we do with a drunken skipper? etc.

Rub on the belly with a (not clear) etc.

That's what we do with a drunken sailor. etc.



A hundred years is a very long time
Oh, yes, oh
Yes, a hundred years is a very long time
A hundred years ago.

They thought that the moon was made of cheese
You can believe this if you please.

They thought that the stars were set alight
By some angels every night.

I thought I heard the old man say
that this old ship was leaving today.

(Ever since 69 I have incorporated these last 3 verses into my version of John Kanaka)


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 31 May 18 - 04:37 PM

Captain Yates served his apprenticeship in sail and was a Cape-Horner of many years standing. He was 78 in 1970 when I recorded him. He recorded the chanties himself as a sort of voyage scenario with the orders to go with the tasks. The songs I recorded from him were the forebitters and other pieces.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 31 May 18 - 04:25 PM

Ted Calcott was on the Argentine meat run in tops'l riggers. He talks about shanghaiing sailors on the Barbary Coast and of killing and eating a cabin boy when cast adrift in a lifeboat.

He was born in Willesden in London and first came to Hull (where I recorded him) in 1899. He was 86 when I recorded him in a pub in 1967. Therefore born in 1881.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 31 May 18 - 04:11 PM

Captain Norman Yates I recorded in 1970. This is on C1009/6 tracks 5 - 23.

Includes
Sailor's Alphabet
Rio Grande
A-Roving
Blow the Man Down
Whiskey Johnny
Drunken Sailor
No more pulling on the lee-fore brace
Spanish Ladies
Rolling Home
Sacramento (Blackball Line)
Roll the Cotton Down
Blow, Boys, Blow
than some repeats
All accompanied on banjo.
I suspect these are more likely to be derivative.

I also have a tape somewhere I have had since the 60s which was passed on to me of a group of seamen singing chanties. I don't remember who gave me it or know who is singing on it. It didn't make it onto the BL online collection because it wasn't something I had recorded myself. It does sound like real seamen singing rather than folksingers. I'll try to find it and at least transcribe what they were singing.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 31 May 18 - 04:00 PM

Here are the online references for some of the chanties I recorded from old capehorners in the 60s. At the British Library Sound Archive if you search my name it will bring up my collection C1009. 2 chanty singers are at C1009/2.

Jack Smith was an east coast bargeman out of Hull, tracks 6 to 20.
Includes
Bold Princess Royal
Rolling Home
Blow the Man Down
A Roving
Dogger Bank
Ten Thousand Miles Away
Wild Rover
Kitty Wells
Tom Bowling

Ted Calcott was a Londoner and old Cape-Horner before the mast
, tracks 21-29 include
Ratcliffe Highway (Blow the Man Down)
Rolling Home
Whiskey Johnny
Rio Grande
Sacramento
Ratcliffe Highway again and talk of Shenandoah
Then some Cockney popular songs from the 1890s


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 31 May 18 - 03:51 PM

p86
The ship had run out of tobacco while running round the west coast and the sailors wanted to pull into Fremantle to remedy the situation.

'The chantymen in both watches added verses to their chanties drawing pointed attention to their need for a smoke.'

p87
'In any other lime-juice ship the poor food and the ordinary discomforts of the sea life would have formed the basis of dogwatch songs, to be sung round the main hatch to the accompaniment of music played on dilapidated combs. Except for chanties there was little singing in the 'Bellands' that voyage.'


p92
'As at last we warped her through the lock gates at St. Nazaire, the chantyman shouted verse after verse of long-prepared imprecations upon her, for her tobaccoless voyage, her ham-fisted sailing, her food shortage, her long swelter in the doldrums. I sang the choruses as loudly as the rest, but it was not the ship that should have been criticised.'


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 31 May 18 - 03:41 PM

P54
….there were rude comments in the chanties at the many pully-haulie jobs. The soloist in the chanties had traditional liberty to improvise and was free to criticise anything. In this way the sailors let off some steam. no one ever paid attention to their broad and frequently blasphemous hints.....

The favourite time for a rousing chanty was when the tops'l halliards were manned, which was generally at the change of the watches. there was a Welshman for'ard--one of our few Britishers there who sang extremely well and was a first-rate improvisor.
    "Oh, our old man he don't set no sail!" he'd begin, all hands trailing on the stout line ready to come in with two mighty shouts of "Leave her, Johnny, leave her" and two hearty synchronised hauls which would shift the yard about a quarter of a foot.

    "An I could 'a stayed in a lovely jail!" Again the soloist sang melodiously.

"Oh, leave her, Johnny, leave her,
With all night in and plenty of ale.
Leave her....
'Stead o' driftin' about the Tasman Sea.
Oh, a Jackshite's life it ain't for me!
Leave her...….
Cos there ain't no grub an' there ain't no pay!
Leave her......
But they tell me we'll come in some day,
Leave her......
Before then we'll be eating hay!
Leave her ......
Now it's time for me to shout belay!


"Belay the halliards there! Do you want to jam the parral in the bloody cross-trees?" Jackie would shout, and a couple of strong men would run to the fore-part of the halliards, by the block, while at a shout of "Come up there!" all the others let go, and the line was quickly belayed round its pin.'


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 31 May 18 - 03:22 PM

Apart from his biography the only book of Villiers that I have read so far is 'The Set of the Sails-Adventures of a cape Horn Seaman' 1949.

p32
'The second mate shouted at boys aloft to overhaul buntlines, clear gaskets, see what the hell was in the way of the t'gall'nt sheets. the strong young sailors, drunk to a man, manned the haliards lustily and mastheaded the two tops'l and t'gall'nt yards as if they had been broomsticks. they went at everything with such a will that they never finished a chanty, and the chanties they sang were such as I had never read in any books.' (I think this was his first sea voyage before the mast as a youngster)


p40

'Eight bells! Struck mighty fast , and the clock flogged by the impatient mate.
"All hands close-reef the main tops'l"

We struggled up on deck, where the fierce wind cut into us after the fug of the half-deck. A hurried muster; no shout of relieve the wheel and lookout as usual (they could remain where they were till the tops'ls was subdued), and all hands hastened in their heavy oilskins and sea-boots to the main rigging, port watch to port and starboard to starboard, and in a moment the melodious shouts of the chanty-singers rose against the tumult of the west wind. the yard was lowered to its lifts, the reef tackles manned, and the reef cringles in each leech hauled snug to the yardarms.'


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 31 May 18 - 08:45 AM

Got you.
Will do.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 31 May 18 - 04:07 AM

Steve, you're not catching my subtle implication... which has nothing to do with authority (I consider everyone to be an authority on their own experience), but rather: Just tell us some specifics of the book's contents! ;)

We have 80% (I'm randomly guesstimating!) of available sources posted up here with details here, and we *can* discern whether Villiers' info and/or examples fits into well-worn narratives or if it's fresh etc etc. We can check up on whether his "Leave Her" matches what we've seen before, for example. We just need to know what it is!


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 May 18 - 12:22 PM

Difficult to say, Gibb. I don't doubt that he had first-hand experience of Chanty usage in situ. He sailed out of Australia in some pretty basic sailing ships under dodgy conditions and seems to write with authority. He certainly had a great love of sailing the seas. He writes of the competing of tall ships in the run from Australia to the UK. I don't know of many other deep-water men of that time who wrote with authority and served before the mast. However, it wasn't long before he was skippering such ships as there weren't that many left with the required knowledge. In the latter years the tall ships seem to have been manned by very young Scandinavians who knew little about the chanties.


I have recorded chanties myself in the 60s from deep-water seamen and these can be listened to on the British Library Sound Archive. I'll put some details out when I can get the time. I'm working on a presentation at the moment.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 28 May 18 - 04:24 AM

Hi, Steve-- thanks!

I know about Villiers, but I'm wondering what makes these particular references (in 1949, following the myth-making period and rather late to be memories of eye-witness stuff) distinguishable from other data. For example: Does Villiers provide good assurance that they are first-hand observations? Are they music or verbal texts that appear to be unique? Is Villiers making a commentary that provides quality evidence of the history/genre itself, or does it tell us more about Villiers and his time?


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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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