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The Advent and Development of Chanties

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Steve Gardham 28 Mar 10 - 04:06 PM
Steve Gardham 28 Mar 10 - 04:56 PM
meself 28 Mar 10 - 05:00 PM
Lighter 28 Mar 10 - 06:08 PM
Gibb Sahib 28 Mar 10 - 07:25 PM
John Minear 28 Mar 10 - 08:01 PM
Gibb Sahib 28 Mar 10 - 08:17 PM
Gibb Sahib 28 Mar 10 - 09:36 PM
Gibb Sahib 28 Mar 10 - 09:58 PM
John Minear 29 Mar 10 - 09:13 AM
Charley Noble 29 Mar 10 - 11:30 AM
Gibb Sahib 29 Mar 10 - 02:30 PM
mikesamwild 29 Mar 10 - 03:33 PM
mikesamwild 29 Mar 10 - 03:38 PM
Steve Gardham 29 Mar 10 - 03:55 PM
Steve Gardham 29 Mar 10 - 03:59 PM
John Minear 29 Mar 10 - 04:12 PM
Steve Gardham 29 Mar 10 - 06:36 PM
Gibb Sahib 30 Mar 10 - 02:34 PM
Gibb Sahib 30 Mar 10 - 02:39 PM
Gibb Sahib 30 Mar 10 - 03:07 PM
John Minear 30 Mar 10 - 03:26 PM
Gibb Sahib 30 Mar 10 - 03:39 PM
Gibb Sahib 30 Mar 10 - 04:16 PM
Gibb Sahib 30 Mar 10 - 04:51 PM
Gibb Sahib 31 Mar 10 - 01:17 PM
John Minear 31 Mar 10 - 02:14 PM
Gibb Sahib 02 Apr 10 - 12:26 PM
Gibb Sahib 04 Apr 10 - 03:01 PM
John Minear 04 Apr 10 - 08:07 PM
Gibb Sahib 05 Apr 10 - 12:08 PM
Gibb Sahib 05 Apr 10 - 01:06 PM
Steve Gardham 05 Apr 10 - 01:57 PM
Gibb Sahib 06 Apr 10 - 05:19 PM
Gibb Sahib 06 Apr 10 - 05:41 PM
Gibb Sahib 06 Apr 10 - 06:02 PM
Steve Gardham 07 Apr 10 - 03:12 PM
John Minear 09 Apr 10 - 08:02 AM
Steve Gardham 09 Apr 10 - 05:41 PM
Gibb Sahib 09 Apr 10 - 06:52 PM
Steve Gardham 10 Apr 10 - 03:18 PM
Gibb Sahib 13 Apr 10 - 06:56 PM
Gibb Sahib 13 Apr 10 - 07:25 PM
Gibb Sahib 13 Apr 10 - 07:32 PM
Gibb Sahib 13 Apr 10 - 09:22 PM
Gibb Sahib 13 Apr 10 - 11:02 PM
John Minear 14 Apr 10 - 07:09 AM
Charley Noble 14 Apr 10 - 07:41 AM
Gibb Sahib 14 Apr 10 - 05:36 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Apr 10 - 06:36 PM
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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 04:06 PM

Excellent stuff, John.
Do we have any words/tune for 'Tally ho, you know'?


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 04:56 PM

John
I think the 'Stormy' song is very significant. It obviously refers to 'stowing or screwing' cotton. The important question arises, is it derivative or imitative/parody/burlesque. In my experience almost all of the early minstrel songs were imitative/parody/burlesque rather than derivative. In other words it wasn't an actual song used for stowing cotton, but using perhaps some of the words and referring to some of the tasks done by the slaves. In which case the possibility arises of yet another shanty derived from a minstrel song.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: meself
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 05:00 PM

FYI: I've started a thread on "Chinese Work/Sea Songs/Shanties", inspired by this thread.


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Subject: Lyr Add: TALLY-I-O
From: Lighter
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 06:08 PM

Steve, the retired seaman James Wright sang the following for James W. Carpenter about 1928. The recording is awful and what's in brackets is solely my conjecture:

                              TALLY-I-O

                Tally-I-O was a jolly old soul,
                        Tally-I-O! Tally-I-O!
                Tally-I-O was a jolly old soul,
                        Come tally-I-O, you know!        

                What should I do with my rum, Tally-O?
                        Tally-I-O! Tally-I-O!        
                What should I do with my rum, Tally-O?
                        And sing tally-I-O, you know!

                We'll tell [?them we're sober] O Tally-O!
                        Tally-I-O! Tally-I-O!        
                We'll tell [?them we're sober], O Tally-O!
                        And sing tally-I-O, you know!

                Tally-I-O was a [?drunken] old soul,
                        Tally-I-O! Tally-I-O!        
                Tally-I-O was a [?drunken] old soul,
                        And sing tally-I-O, you know!

I think I posted this earlier, but it doesn't hurt to reprise it here.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 07:25 PM

. 'What's more, at the time, Dana is on a larger brig the CATALINA, which one would think "needed" shanties more -- that is, if they were available.,'

Gibb, I may be wrong here but I would have thought the reverse would apply. The larger the ship, the more hands, the less need for shanties. If I remember rightly in the heyday of shantying they came into their own on the clippers and packets notorious for being undermanned.

'yet there was a plenty of room to move about in, more discipline and system, more men, and more good will.'

You may be right, Steve. I missed the part about "more men," though that doesn't necessarily mean that on this brig there was a better ration of men:size than there was on the brig PILGRIM. However, you suggest another idea. If, say, the emergence of such shanties was very closely tied to packets specifically (clippers were not yet existing, as far as I know), then it may be that Dana is not so great a source. Though it is one of the few sources for its time period, it may be that more stuff of interest was going on elsewhere, which we don't see.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: John Minear
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 08:01 PM

With regard to the NA MOTU reference that I posted above, I forgot that there was another reference to "Stormy" on p. 97. Here is what Lighter had in a note that first called this to my attention:

1854 Edward T. Perkins, "Na Motu, or Reef-Rovings in the South Seas" p. 97 [ref. to 1848; Perkins had served on an American whaling ship]:

         I dug his grave with a silver spade;
                O! bullies, O!
       And I lowered him down with a golden chain,
                A hundred years ago!


P. 99: "I jumped onto a rock, swung my tarpaulin, and sung that good old song—

                'O ! storm along !
                O! my roving blades, storm along, stormy!'"


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 08:17 PM

(oops, messed up the HTML in my last post.)

In my reading of Dana, from a few days ago, I did not feel confident that what I envision to have been a new class of shipboard work songs (i.e. chanties) had necessarily been adopted (not developed, as per my hypothesis) -- not at least from the evidence of Dana -- in a major way, if at all.

Whereas my hypothesis is that a new paradigm for work-singing -- roughly corresponding to halyard songs, or "chanties," as they came to be known -- was borrowed from African-American practices, I don't feel confident, from these 1830s references, that that borrowing had yet occurred on a large scale. That is, the Afr-American forms existed (rowing, cotton stowing, and fireman's songs), but had yet to be widely incorporated on large sailing vessels.

However, I forgot to acknowledge the two songs mentions which there is some good reason to believe had African-American roots. One is "Round the Corner, Sally," which, as will be seen in later decades, was used by Black Americans for rowing and corn-shucking. There is no proof of where it originated, but, as I said, some good reason to associate it with that culture. The other song is "Grog Time a Day." Thanks to John M.'s critical inquiries and Lighter's scholarship, we know that Dana's original manuscript was supposed to have included "Grog Time of Day" (and not just "Round the Corner," but "Round the Corner, Sally). We have already fairly established "Grog Time" as a song popular through the Caribbean and performed by Blacks. I offer this possible reasoning for why the existence of "Grog Time" does not contradict my earlier interpretation.

"Grog Time" seems to have been widely known across cultures as, perhaps, a popular song in those days. My evidence for this is that a play, TELEMACHUS, OR, THE ISLAND OF CALYPSO (a play, republished in 1879) was first performed in 1834, which gives a stage direction for: "Music – Grog time of day, boys" Set off the coast of "a West India island." It is followed by newly composed lyrics follow. The song's appearance in another fictional work, TAR BRUSH SKETCHES by Benjamin Fiferail, 1836. (FWIW, Lighter says elsewhere, "Given the date, one can probably assume that "Fiferail's" is the song Dana heard. If so, it doesn't seem to have been a one-line, one-pull shanty. I suppose it would have belonged to capstan work.")

So, I argue, "Grog Time" had entered the sphere of "popular music," by then, as opposed to being just a "folk" song that one would only pick up from hearing a "folk" from Culture X singing it. As for "Round the Corner," I don't know. It is mainly Dana's description of the format of these songs, along with some of what he doesn't mention (i.e. whereas otherwise he is very descriptive) that leaves me skeptical that "chanties, proper" had by then a wide spread among seamen.

I don't have the figures at hand -- so please take this with salt for now -- but I seem to remember from the book BLACK JACKS (there are tables/stats in the appendix) that 1820s-1830s were some of the peak years for Blacks in the Euro-American sailing trade. I still think this must have had some bearing on how chanties came to be adopted. However, if the available evidence so far is not showing great influence of African-American songs on the shipboard work-songs, then perhaps either: 1) The idea is overstated or 2) references to the proper contexts are just not available -- In other words, these Black seamen may have brought their musical influence to the (fully rigged) packet ship trade, especially via Gulf Coast ports rather than to Boston-California brigs like Dana's!

I have to check out the since-added 1830s references, now, to see what they add to the picture.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 09:36 PM

John Minear has added some 1830s references. Here (and following) is more commentary.

Here is a reference to the singing of "Highland Laddie" at the capstan in an effort to move the grounded [United States] ship "Peacock" into deeper water on [September] 22nd, 1835, near the Gulf of Mazeira. [coast of Arabia]

It's from an officer's journal. Here's the passage:

"On Tuesday morn, the 22d, the work of lightening was continued, and we saw, with feelings of regret, one half of our guns cast into the sea. The ship was lightened aloft by sending down the upper spars, and unbending the sails; and, on renewing our efforts, we had the pleasure to find that the ship moved and got into rather deeper water. The moment she began to move, new life was infused into all hands, and the men broke forth in a song and chorus, to which they kept time as they marched round the capstan, or hauled in the hawser by hand.
" ' Heave and she must go,' sang one as a leader in a high key, and all the men answered in chorus, in deep, manly tones ' Ho! cheerly.'
" ' Heave, and she will go.'
"'Ho! cheerly.'
" When she moved more easily, those at the capstan, sang to the tune of the ' Highland Laddie,'
"' I wish I were in New York town,'
    Bonny laddie, Highland laddie,' &c.


The shouts of "heave and go" sound like what Dana and others have described. This is exciting, however, in being the earliest (?) such reference to "Highland Laddie." Notably, the lyric uses the "places round the world" lyrical theme that turns out to be of major importance in chanties. This is a really significant piece of evidence! It foreshadows the appearance of "Highland Laddie " as a cotton-screwing chant. It sounds like they started singing Hieland Laddie once the load got lighter and they were able to shift to a march-like tempo.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 09:58 PM

In THE PRIVATE JOURNAL OF WILLIAM REYNOLDS: UNITED STATES EXPLORING EXPEDITION, 1838-1842, by William Reynolds, Nathaniel Philbrick, and Thomas Philbrick, there is mentioned, on page 97 (Penguin Edition), that

       "Many of the girls at Point Venus [Tahiti] have learned the chorus songs common with sailors in heaving up the Anchor & other work...Their voices were good, and the ditties of "So early in the morning the Sailor loves his bottle oh," "Round the corner, Sally," "Tally Ho, you know" & a dozen others were often heard along the beach for half the night." (sometime between September 18th & 24th, 1839)


Great to have corroborating evidence that "Round the corner, Sally" and "Tally Ho" were shipboard songs of the 1830s! Too bad it is vague, i.e. "in heaving up the Anchor & other work" -- i.e. were these capstan "ditties"? (The "Round the Corner" handed down via Hugill is a halyard chanty, but I am not getting a strong sense of that from these mentions.)

The other correspondence to note is between the 1831 Guyanese rowing song, "Right early in the marning, de neger like the bottley oh!" and this 1839 ship-transmitted "So early in the morning the Sailor loves his bottle oh."


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: John Minear
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 09:13 AM

Here is what may be a crossover between "Round the corner, Sally" and "Cheerily, Men". It comes from ETCHINGS OF A WHALING CRUISE, by John Ross Browne, and is dated 1846. The events described take place in October of 1842 (I think). The song is being used at the windless. (pp. 133-134)

        "Heave him up! O he yo!
                Butter and cheese for breakfast
        Raise the dead! O he yo!
                The steward he's a makin' swankey.
        Heave away! O he yo!
                Duff for dinner! Duff for dinner
        Now I see it! O he yo!
                Hurrah for the Cape Cod gals!
        Now I don't. O he yo!
                *Round the corner, Sally!*
        Up she comes! O he yo!
                Slap-jacks for supper!
        Re-re-ra-ra-oo-we ye yo ho! Them's 'um!"

http://books.google.com/books?id=AmtGAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA134&dq=%22Round+the+corner,+Sally%22&lr=&cd=27#v=onepage&q=%22Round%20the%20c

Here is some discussion of "Cheerily, Men" as used by Melville, and there seems to be a connection between the song above and "Cheerily", at least in Melville.

http://books.google.com/books?id=I4fBI3yuj7MC&pg=PA22&dq=%22O+he+yo!%22&cd=9#v=onepage&q=%22O%20he%20yo!%22&f=false

The other interesting thing about this song is the phrase "O he yo!" A Google Book Search will lead you to seeing this as "O-hi-o".


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Charley Noble
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 11:30 AM

Here's an oddity of a shanty:

From Black Hands, White Sails, by Patricia C. McKissack & Frederick L. McKissack, published by Scholastic Press, New York, US, © 1999, p. 85.

Hi Ho My Dandy-oh

Oh a dandy ship and a dandy crew,
Hi Ho My Dandy-oh!
A dandy mate and a skipper too,
Hi Ho My Dandy-oh!

Oh what shall I do for my dandy crew?
Hi Ho My Dandy-oh!
I'll give them wine and brandy too,
Hi Ho My Dandy-oh!

Notes:

From a whaling ship's log (date unknown) transcribing the singing of the Black cook "Doctor" while the crew were "cutting out" a whale, according to the historian A. Howard Clark.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 02:30 PM

Trying to summarize a bit, so far....

1780s-90s:

General references to African and New World Black work-songs, from Mali, Grenada.

1800s:

General references to African-American work-songs and their style, from Martinique;
Rowing songs from Georgia, South Carolina, Guyana, Surinam;
Windlass songs, aboard vessels with sailors incl. from Northumberland and Holland.

1810s:

2 stevedore songs from Jamaica that resemble chanteys;
African-American rowing songs from Antigua, Virgin Islands;
Singing and fife-playing at the capstan on a British war ship.

1820s:

Rowing songs, from Georgia, Virginia, St. Thomas;
A version of "Cheerly Men" for topsail halyards on a brig near Quebec;
Fictional capstan shantying in the Arctic; capstan (?) song of British tars in London; chant for pulling known to an ex-British navy man. [I've also seen another reference to the phrase "British capstan song" from 1825.]

1830s:

African-American rowing songs in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Guyana, and "West Indies"
African-American firemen's songs on the Ohio and in general
Cotton stowing songs in Mobile Bay
"Ditties" at the capstan on an East India Company ship
A song at the pump windlass on a transatlantic voyage
Songs "for capstan and falls" and for catting anchor, on brigs off the coast of California
A capstan song on a ship off the coast of Arabia
The adoption of capstan songs and sailors' "ditties" by locals of Tahiti and the Society Islands

Summary:
Through the 1830s, references to African-American work-songs for rowing continued to appear. Since the 20s and continuing through the 30s, cotton-stowing had work-songs. The work-songs of the Black firemen/stokers in steamboats emerge in the 1830s. These all seem share some features, though it is difficult to say how similar they actually were; some songs crossed occupations.

At the same time, there is increasing reference to the songs/ditties for capstan. Though the practice was older, new songs were being added, some of which were probably popular songs of the time, for example "Grog Time of Day," which crossed cultures. By the end of the 30s, there were songs for the pump windlass that may have shared a form with what is ow thought of as a halyard chanty form. At least one instance of the jump from Black rowing songs to (perhaps from?) deepwater sailors' songs --and then to Pacific Islanders! -- is found at the end of this period in "Bottle O." "Round the Corn/er" is another song that seemed to float around between cultures and occupations; it is quite unclear to me whether it had any sort of definite form at all, or if it was a common catch-phrase.

I still wonder if, by the 1830s, the African-American style work-songs that would come to typify much of the "chanty" repertoire had yet any significant influence on the deepwater sailors.

I'd love to hear more opinions on this subject -- on whether one feels that the sort of chanty forms typified by "Roll the Cotton Down" and "Blow the Man Down" and "Whiskey Johnny" and "Hanging Johnny" etc etc had entered the scene by the 1820s or 1830s.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: mikesamwild
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 03:33 PM

i think the melodeon mentioned in one reply on Stormy was a harmonium type instrument not a squeezebox and not sung at sea anyway ( neither with concertinas)


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: mikesamwild
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 03:38 PM

Has anyone gone into any real detail on the impact of minstrel show music. It seems to have a massive impact on popular music in its day
and likely into shanties


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 03:55 PM

Hi Mike,
Yes I agree the impact of the minstrel stuff from about 1844 onwards is dramatic. They were the Beatles songs of their day and had enormous influence both at sea and on land.

Gibb,
Am in complete agreement on the later arrival of halyard shanties.

'Round the Corner Sally' comes from the minstrel influence. Lady of easy virtue. see Hugill p389. Its use as a reference to Cape Horn, if ever used in that way, probably came later.

Charley, what evidence is there to suggest that the cook's song was a shanty?


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 03:59 PM

Gibb,
What I meant to imply by the 'Round the Corner, Sally' statement is that it is a well-worn phrase with a meaning and is used elsewhere other than shanties so if its name crops up at random it doesn't necessarily mean it is anything to do with the shanty of that name.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: John Minear
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 04:12 PM

See this note and the one that follows it for more on "Round the Corner Sally":

thread.cfm?threadid=126347&messages=488#2874274

I think that it is unclear which way the influences went on this song. It could just as easily have gone from chanty to blackface minstrel. Emmett wrote his song "Ole Aunt Sally", which contains the single line in the chorus about "round the corner, Sally", in 1843, and we have at least one earlier reference to the chanty (1839) that assumes that it has been out there for a while (Reynolds).


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 06:36 PM

Absolutely, the direction of influence between the different sources is a minefield. In most cases I would imagine influences were flying back and forth between the different genres at quite a rate. Some channels of influence are more obvious than others.

African-American culture parodied/utilised in minstrel genre.
Land-based work song on water-based worksong.
Once the minstrel craze took off - universal influence.
To mention but a few.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 02:34 PM

I'd like to begin pulling together the references to stuff going on in the 1840s. This means culling from posts already made. Well, here goes a start.

To begin with rowing songs again.

This was posted by Lighter, 1 March 2010. I hope my copy-pasting is not objectionable; I prefer to do that rather than link, here, so we can see all the texts in one place.

//
The American Journal of Music and Musical Vistor (Feb. 25, 1845), p.
53, gives what may be the earliest ex. of an American shanty printed
with its tune. After several verbosely chatty paragraphs typical of
the period, the anonymous writer offers "Heaving Anchor. A Sailor
Song. Furnished by N. C.," a "lad who, several years since, used to
fold our papers" and who has "recently returned from a voyage to
Smyrna, up the Mediterranean." The text:

Then walk him up so lively,
Ho, O, heave O,
Then walk him up so lively, hearties,
Ho, O, heave O.

I'm Bonny of the Skylark,
Ho, O, heave O,
Then walk him up so lively, hearties,
Ho, O, heave, O.

I'm going away to leave you,
Ho, O, heave O,
Then walk, &c.


The writer then notes that in "rowing, the words are slightly altered,
as follows":

Then walk him up so lively,
Row, Billy, row,
Then walk him up so lively, hearties,
Row, Billy, row.

I'm Bunny of the Skylark,
Row, Billy, row,
Then walk, &c.

I'm going away to leave you,
Row, Billy, row,
I'm going, &c.

Sorry I can't reproduce the modal tune, but it isn't much. Its shape
resembles that of "Bounty was a Packet Ship," but I wouldn't say
they're clearly related. The solo lines, "Then walk him up so lively,
hearties" interestingly fit the meter of Dana's "Heave Away, My Hearty
Bullies!" (Plus the word "hearty" appears, FWIW.)

What I think is more important than a possible connection to any of
Dana's shanties is the sheer primitiveness of this. Of the various
shanties "N.C." presumably heard on his voyage to Smyrna, why would he
remember this one? Or to put it another way, if tuneful shanties with
interesting lyrics were being sung (like "Rio Grande" and
"Shenandoah"), why report only this one? Surely the editor of the
magazine would have preferred to print a better song. The magazine
appeared several years before the possible "shanty boom" of the
California Gold Rush, though that too may mean nothing.

It doesn't pay to overinterpret, but one does get the feeling that
"Ho, O, Heave O" (which almost sounds like a Hebridean waulking
song)may be close in form to one of the earliest sea shanties "as we
know them," and that Dana's lost shanties may have been not much
better (a possible explanation of why he didn't offer any lyrics).
//

I want to call attention between the alleged shift (whichever direction) between rowing and capstan songs. The shape of the lyric is like a typical halyard chantey. That that makes sense for rowing, too. It is not "typical" for capstan, however, due to the nature of capstan work, it is no less likely IMO. FWIW, the song strikes me (without having seen the tune) as similar to "Blow, Boys, Blow." In support of that impression, I offer this rowing text recently discovered by John M.

Row, bullies, row


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 02:39 PM

The firemen's songs continued in the 1840s, too.

THE BALTIMORE PHOENIX AND BUDGET, 1(11), Feb 1842, carried a story with this line in reference to a steamboat on the Ohio:

"The half-naked negro firemen busily casting huge sticks of wood into
the mouths of the row of yawning furnaces beneath the serried boilers,
accompanying their labor by a loud and not unmusical song;"


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 03:07 PM

And, of course, stevedore songs continued. One might suppose there was a flow of these songs between the firemen on the steamboats and the stevedores that loaded those boats. The following is a description of the songs of stevedores loading a steamboat in New Orleans in 1841. The "extempore" text makes topical reference to two Austrian ballet dancers that were in town at the time.

from, THE ART OF BALLET (1915)

"Fanny [one of the dancers] was an especial favourite, and when the
sisters left New Orleans, some niggers, who were hoisting freight from
the hold of an adjacent steamboat—and niggers are notoriously apt at
catching up topical subjects—thus chanted, as the vessel bearing the
dancers left the wharf:

Fanny, is you going up de ribber?
       Grog time o' day
When all dese here's got Elssler feber?
       Oh, hoist away!
De Lor' knows what we'll do widout you,
       Grog time o' day
De toe an' heel won't dance widout you.
       Oh, hoist away!
Day say you dances like a fedder
       Grog time o' day
Wid t'ree t'ousand dollars all togedder.
       Oh, hoist away!"

It is "Grog time of Day" appearing again, however, the form really does not match the previously seen versions. My belief is that the phrase "Grog time of Day" had become a free floating one (perhaps like "round the corner, sally") and separated from the tune and framework of the widespread "West Indian" song. Here, actually, the form is much more like a halyard chantey (cf. the 1811 Jamaicans, probably at the capstan). And from the words "hoist away," one imagines that they were using a hauling technique for loading. Personally, this, too, looks like a close fit to the "Blow, boys, blow" framework, but that match is not so significant, because very many songs fit that mold.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: John Minear
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 03:26 PM

In the interest of getting the actual texts into this thread, here is the information on the "rowing text" that Gibb refers to above. My transcription in the other thread is skewed and has been corrected here.

"Here is a version of "Row, Bullies Row" from 1857. It is in THE KNICKERBOCKER, VOL L., 1857, in an article entitled "The Life of a Midshipmen", by "John Jenkins" (?).

http://books.google.com/books?id=ybXPAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA11&dq=%22O+Shenandoh+my+bully+boy%22&lr=&cd=10#v=onepage&q=&f=false

He is at the Brooklyn Naval Yard and is being rowed out to his first assignment on board the US Frigate "Shenandoah". It is presented as a rowing song:

"Oh! I do love that good, old bottle!
   Row, bullies, row!
Oh! I do love that good, old bottle!
   Row, my bullies, row!
Why do you love that good, old bottle?
    Row, bullies, row!
Why do you love that good, old bottle?
   Row, my bullies, row!
I love it 'cause it suits my throttle!
   Row, bullies, row!
I love it 'cause it suits my throttle!
    Row, my bullies, row!

   After singing five more verses in the same elegant strain, we happened to pass a bum-boat, in which were seated a fat, old white woman and a negro boy, whereupon the singers roared out with great glee, and in a higher key than before:

'Yonder sits a dear old lady!
   Row, bullies, row!
Yonder sits a dear old lady!
   Row, my bullies, row!
How do you know she is a lady?
   Row, bullies, row!
How do you know she is a lady?
    Row, my bullies, row!
I know her by her nigger baby!
    Row, bullies, row!
I know her by her nigger baby!   
    Row, my bullies, row!"


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 03:39 PM

Let's segue from that sort of stevedore-ing to another: the cotton-stowers. Charley Noble, on 16 Feb. 2010, shared the source SOME RECOLLECTIONS by Captain Charles P. Low, 1906.

The author had shipped as a seaman in a packet ship TORONTO from New York to London circa 1844-1844.

Here is a passage noting the connection between "hoosiers", deepwater sailors, and singing chanties:

The Toronto was double the size of the Horatio and every spar and sail was heavy, so as to stand the heavy weather of the North Atlantic. She was fitted to carry one hundred cabin passengers and three or four hundred in the steerage. In those days there were no steamers and as every one had to go to Europe in these packets the cabins were beautifully furnished and the fare was as good as at any hotel in New York. We had a crew of thirty seamen and four ordinaries, no boys. The crew
was made up of the hardest kind of men; they were called "hoosiers,"
working in New Orleans or Mobile during the winter at stowing ships
with cotton, and in the summer sailing in the packet ships. They were
all good chantey men; that is, they could all sing at their work and
were good natured and could work hard, but they did not care much
about the officers and would not be humbugged or hazed. Besides this
large crew, we had as steerage passengers twenty men from the ship
Coromandel, an East India ship that had come home from a two years'
voyage, who were going to London on a spree. The steerage passage cost
only "fifteen dollars and find themselves." They were also a jolly set
of fellows and when we reefed topsails or made sail they all joined in
with us, so that our work was easy and we could reef and hoist all
three topsails at once, with a different song for each one. In the dog
watch, from six to eight in the evening, they would gather on the
forecastle and sing comic songs and negro melodies. There were two or three violins and accordions with them, and the time passed very much more pleasantly than on board the Horatio, where gambling was the order of the day; besides, after being on short allowance for two months I had as much as I could eat.


Whilst unloading cargo in London:

The sailors discharged the cargo and hove the sling
loads up by a winch at the mainmast. If very heavy we took the load to
the capstan; and while we were heaving away, at eleven in the morning,
the sailors struck up "Roll and go for that white pitcher, roll and
go," and the steward would come up with a great pitcher filled with
rum, and give each of us a drink. The same thing was repeated at four
in the afternoon. This was varied when we were taking in cargo, which
consisted of a great deal of railroad iron and we had to pass it in
from a lighter alongside and then down the hold. It was terribly hard
work, and instead of the rum, a quart of beer from the tap room was
brought to each one at eleven in the morning and four in the
afternoon. I do not think we could have held out without it.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 04:16 PM

Time now, then, to add the hoosier / cotton-stower song references about the 1840s.

About the first, John Minear says this:

"There is a book by Charles Erskine entitled TWENTY YEARS BEFORE THE MAST - WITH
THE MORE THRILLING SCENES AND INCIDENTS WHILE CIRCUMNAVIGATING THE
GLOBE UNDER THE COMMAND OF THE LATE ADMIRAL CHARLES WILKES 1838-1842.
This book was not published until 1896, but it would seem to record
events that happened much earlier. Erskine is in New Orleans on board
the ship "Charles Carol". I think that this was sometime in September
of 1845 (scroll back up several pages until you come to Erskine's
departure from New York and there you will find a date - I realize
there is a discrepancy between the title and this date). He gives two
cotton-screwing songs: "Bonnie Laddie" and "Fire Maringo". The overlap
with Nordhoff [BELOW] is interesting."

It is perhaps the most personal account of cotton-screwing, and underscores the flow between occupations of sailor and stevedore. Erskine had arrive on a ship at New Orleans. Here is the passage, with song texts.

///
The day after our arrival the crew formed themselves into two gangs and obtained employment at screwing cotton by the day. We accepted the captain's offer to make the ship our home, and slept in the forecastle and ate our grub at the French market. As the lighter, freighted with cotton, came alongside the ship in which we were at work, we hoisted it on board and dumped it into the ship's hold, then stowed it in tiers so snugly it would have been impossible to have found space enough left over to hold a copy of The Boston Herald. With the aid of a set of jack-screws and a ditty, we would
stow away huge bales of cotton, singing all the while.
The song enlivened the gang and seemed to make
the work much easier. The foreman- often sang this
ditty, the rest of the gang joining in the chorus:

"Were you ever in Boston town,
Bonnie laddie, Highland laddie?
Yes, I've been in Boston town,
Where the ships sail up and down,
My bonnie Highland laddie, ho !

"Were you ever in Mobile Bay,
Bonnie laddie, Highland laddie?
Yes, I've been in Mobile Bay,
Screwing cotton by the day,
My bonnie Highland laddie, ho 1

"Were you ever in Miramichi,
Bonnie laddie, Highland laddie?
Yes, I've been in Miramichi,
Where you make fast to a tree,
My bonnie Highland laddie, ho !

"Were you ever in Quebec,
Bonnie laddie, Highland laddie?
Yes, I have been in Quebec,
Stowing timber on the deck,
My bonnie Highland laddie, ho!'

At another time we would sing:

"Lift him up and carry him along,
   Fire, maringo, fire away;
Put him down where he belongs,
   Fire, maringo, fire away;
Ease him down and let him lay,
   Fire, maringo, fire away;
Screw him, and there he'll stay,
   Fire, maringo, tire away;
Stow him in his hole below,
   Fire, maringo, tire away;
Say he must, and then he'll go,
   Fire, maringo, fire away.
In New Orleans they say,
Fire, maringo, fire away,
That General Jackson's gained the day,
   Fire, maringo, fire away! "

I found stowing cotton in a ship's hold to be the most exhausting labor I had ever performed. We wore nothing but trousers, with a bandana handkerchief tied over our heads. The hold was a damp, dark place. The thermometer stood at nearly one hundred, not a breath of air stirred, and our bodies were reeking with perspiration. This was more than my frail body could endure. When I was paid, Saturday evening, with eight silver Spanish dollars for my four days' labor, I came to the conclusion that they were the hardest eight dollars I had ever earned, and that there would be no more screwing cotton by the day for me.
////

The scene also drives home the fact of what must have been a sharing of songs/work between Black and White labourers. The 1820s cotton-screwing reference was to Blacks singing songs in Svannah. Gosse's 1838 reference in Alabama says that "the crew" stowed the cotton, which to me suggests that by then, non-Black labourers may have already begun the work, too. The song, "fire the ringo," however, sounds *to me* as something distinctly African-American. By early 1840s, via Low's account, we know that non-Black "hoosiers" had emerged. And by mid 1840s, via Erskine, this is confirmed. "Fire Maringo" seems to have remained a customary song of the trade, while now "Hieland Laddie" --very originally, Scots -- is added. An 1835 reference off the coast of Arabia had put Hieland Laddie as a capstan song. We may have evidence of the "shanty mart" (i.e. Hugill) exchange here, where a song such as "Hieland Laddie" was brought by European sailors to the cotton-stowing context before being further molded. Then again, it is possible that "Hieland Laddie" was taken from the cotton-stowers (having been borrowed much earlier from Euro sources) by that mid 1830s date -- if by then (re: Gosse) the multi-ethnic labour had already begun. (For now, I am thinking the latter scenario less likely).

cont...


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 04:51 PM

...cotton-screwing cont.

Nordhoff's THE MERCHANT VESSEL, 1855

Nordhoff observed cotton-stowers in Mobile Bay (loading for Liverpool), sometime around 1845-1852. His account is famous for being the first (?) to clearly label this sort of work-song genre as "chant" and the lead singer as "chanty-man". Here is what he says:

////

All was now bustle and preparation. Numberless matters were to be attended to before the ship was really ready to take in cotton—the ballast was to be squared, dunnage prepared, the water-casks, provisions and sails to be lugged on deck, out of the way of cargo, the nicely painted decks covered with planks, on which to roll cotton, topgallant and royal yards crossed, and tackles prepared for hoisting in our freight. We had scarcely gotten all things in proper trim, before a lighter-load of cotton came down, and with it, a stevedore and several gangs of the screw men, whose business it is to load cotton-ships. Screwing cotton is a regular business, requiring, besides immense strength, considerable experience in the handling of bales, and the management of the jack-screws.

Several other ships had " taken up" cargo at the same time we did, and the Bay soon began to wear an appearance of life—lighters and steamboats bringing down cotton, and the cheerful songs of the screw-gangs resounding over the water, as the bales were driven tightly into the hold. Freights had suddenly risen, and the ships now loading were getting five-eighths of a penny per pound. It was therefore an object to get into the ship as many pounds as she could be made to hold. The huge, unwieldy bales brought to Mobile from the plantations up the country, are first compressed in the cotton presses, on shore, which at once diminishes their size by half, squeezing the soft fiber together, till a bale is as solid, and almost as hard as a lump of iron. In this condition they are brought on board, and stowed in the hold, where the stevedore makes a point of getting three bales into a space in which two could be barely put by hand. It is for this purpose the jack-screws are used. A ground tier is laid first; upon this, beginning aft and forward, two bales are placed with their inner covers projecting out, and joining, leaving a triangular space vacant within. A hickory post is now placed against the nearest beam, and with this for a fulcrum, the screw is applied to the two bales at the point where the corners join, and little by little they come together, are straightened up, and fill up the triangular space. So great is the force applied, that not unfrequently the ship's decks are raised off the
stancheons which support them, and the seams are torn violently asunder.

Five hands compose a gang, four to work the screws, and one to do the headwork—for no little shrewd management is necessary to work in the variously sized bales. When a lighter-load of cotton comes along side, all hands turn to and hoist it in. It is piled on deck, until wanted below. As soon as the lighter is empty, the gangs go down to the work of stowing it. Two bales being placed and the screws applied, the severe labor begins. The gang, with their shirts off, and handkerchiefs tied about their heads, take hold the handles of the screws, the foreman begins the song, and at the end of every two lines the worm of the screw is forced to make one revolution, thus gaining perhaps two inches. Singing, or chanting as it is called, is an invariable accompaniment to working in cotton, and many of the screw-gangs have an endless collection of songs, rough and uncouth, both in words and melody, but answering well the purposes of making all pull together, and enlivening the heavy toil. The foreman is the chanty-man, who sings the song, the gang only joining in the chorus, which comes in at the end of every line, and at the end of which again comes the pull at the screw handles. One song generally suffices to bring home the screw, when a new set is got upon the bale, and a fresh song is commenced.

The chants, as may be supposed, have more of rhyme than reason in them. The tunes are generally plaintive and monotonous, as are most of the capstan tunes of sailors, but resounding over the still waters of the Bay, they had a fine effect. There was one, in which figured that mythical personage "Old Stormy," the rising and falling cadences of which, as they swept over the Bay on the breeze, I was never tired of listening to. It may amuse some of my readers to give here a few stanzas of this and some other of these chants. " Stormy" is supposed to have died, and the first song begins:
      
    Old Stormy, he is dead and gone,
Chorus—Carry him along, boys, carry him along,
      Oh! carry him to his long home,
Chorus—Carry him to the burying-ground.
      Oh! ye who dig Old Stormy's grave,
Chorus—Carry him along, boys, carry him along,
       Dig it deep and bury him safe,
Chorus—Carry him to the burying-ground.
       Lower him down with a golden chain,
Chorus—Carry him along, boys, carry him along,
          Then he'll never rise again,
    Chorus—Carry him to the burying-ground.
Grand Chorus—Way-oh-way-oh-way—storm along,
Way—you rolling crew, storm along stormy.

And so on ad infinitum, or more properly speaking, till the screw is run out.
There was another in praise of Dollars, commencing
thus:

       Oh, we work for a Yankee Dollar,
Chorus—Hurrah, see—man—do,
       Yankee dollar, bully dollar,
Chorus—Hurrah, see—man—dollar.
         Silver dollar, pretty dollar,
Chorus—Hurrah, see—man—do,
          I want your silver dollars,
Chorus—Oh, Captain, pay me dollar.

Another, encouraging the gang:

Lift him up and carry him along,
Fire, maringo, fire away,
Put him down where he belongs.

Fire, maringo, fire away.
Ease him down and let him lay,
   Fire, maringo, fire away,
Screw him in, and there he'll stay,
Fire, maringo, fire away.
Stow him in his hole below,
Fire, maringo, fire away,
Say he must, and then he'll go,
Fire, maringo, fire away.

Yet another, calling to their minds the peculiarities of many spots with which they have become familiar in their voyagings:

       Were you ever in Quebec,
Chorus—Bonnie laddie, highland laddie,
       Stowing timber on the deck,
Chorus—My bonnie highland laddie, oh.
       Were you ever in Dundee,
Chorus—Bonnie laddie, highland laddie,
       There some pretty ships you'll see,
Chorus—My bonnie highland laddie, oh.
       Were you ever in Merrimashee.
Chorus—Bonnie laddie, highland laddie,
       Where you make fast to a tree,
Chorus—My bonnie highland laddie, oh.
       Were you ever in Mobile Bay,
Chorus—Bonnie laddie, highland laddie,
       Screwing cotton by the day,
Chorus—My bonnie highland laddie, oh.

These samples, which might be continued to an almost indefinite extent, will give the reader an idea of what capstan and cotton songs, or chants, are. The tunes are the best portion, of course, in all such rude performances. But these are only to be heard on board ship.

The men who yearly resort to Mobile Bay to screw cotton, are, as may be imagined, a rough set. They are mostly English and Irish sailors, who, leaving their vessels here, remain until they have saved a hundred or two dollars, then ship for Liverpool, London, or whatever port may be their favorite, there to spree it all away—and return to work out another supply. Screwing cotton is, I think, fairly entitled to be called the most exhausting labor that is done on ship board. Cooped up in the dark and confined hold of a vessel, the gangs tug from morning till night at the screws, the perspiration running off them like water, every muscle strained to its utmost. But the men who follow it prefer it to going to sea. They have better pay, better living, and above all, are not liable to be called out at any minute in the ni":ht, to fight the storm, or worse yet, to work the ship against a headwind. Their pay is two dollars per day, and their provisions furnished. They sleep upon the cotton bales in the hold, but few of them bringing beds aboard with them. Those we had on board, drank more liquor and chewed more tobacco, than any set of men I ever saw elsewhere, the severe labor seeming to require an additional stimulus. Altogether, I thought theirs a rough life, not at all to be envied them.

Four weeks sufficed to load our barque, and the last key-bale was scarce down the hatchway, when "Loose the topsails, and heave short on the cable," was the word, and we proceeded to get underweigh for Liverpool. Our new crew had come on board several days previously, and proved to be much better than the average to be obtained in cotton ports, places where sailors are generally scarce, and the rough screw-gangs mostly fill their places.
/////


Nordhoff gives so much detail --though much still is unclear to us, today-- that I think this bears a close reading and lots of discussion. I think what Nordhoff describes might have been some sort of turning point (no pun intended). What do you guys think?

I am going to break for now, but re-reading this with the earlier references clearly established before it, I am starting to think new things about the directions of "flow" of this sort of songs.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 01:17 PM

"the cheerful songs of the screw-gangs resounding over the water..."

Hmm, not "plaintive"? Not minor? Not "wild"?

But then,

"The tunes are generally plaintive and monotonous,..."

Ah, OK. There we go.

"...many of the screw-gangs have an endless collection of songs, rough and uncouth, both in words and melody, but answering well the purposes of making all pull together, and enlivening the heavy toil."
"One song generally suffices to bring home the screw, when a new set is got upon the bale, and a fresh song is commenced."

Sound like there had to have been a lot of songs. Perhaps a whole repetoire, like the body of songs that seems to have appeared rather quickly aboard ships around/after this time? Funny, though, that if there were so many songs, we see the repetition of a few.

"the foreman begins the song, and at the end of every two lines the worm of the screw is forced to make one revolution, thus gaining perhaps two inches."
"The foreman is the chanty-man, who sings the song, the gang only joining in the chorus, which comes in at the end of every line, and at the end of which again comes the pull at the screw handles."

We've discussed (speculated) before about the method and style of the action of cotton-screwing -- still, as I see it, with no definite answers. Pushing? Pulling? Both (i.e. depending on one's position)? But leaving that aside for the moment, there is still the question of WHEN the "timed effort" occurred, i.e. in relation to the song texts.

I have wanted to imagine a pattern like that of typical halyard chanteys. If "Fire Maringo" were a halyard chanty, that pattern would go like this (CAPITAL letters means the time when the effort occurs):

Lift him up and carry him along,
FIRE, maringo, FIRE away,
Put him down where he belongs.
FIRE, maringo, FIRE away.

However, "at the end of every two lines the worm of the screw is forced to make one revolution." Which are the "2 lines"? Is it the whole rhyming (not necessarily) stanza as above? Or is it just, e.g.

Lift him up and carry him along,
FIRE, maringo, FIRE away,

?
Is the "one revolution" -- assumed to be literally 360 degrees-- accomplished through 1 pull? 2 pulls (FIRE,...FIRE)? 4 pulls (the whole "stanza")?

Based on this usage of "line"..."the chorus, which comes in at the end of every line, and at the end of which again comes the pull at the screw handles"... it sounds as though "two lines constitute" the whole stanza. So, 2 or 4 pulls, probably. But which is it? This sentence implies one pull per chorus. That is different than the typical halyard pattern, above. Perhaps the work was really too hard to manage 2 pulls. And WHEN did the pull occur? "At the end." What? Are we to imagine a Cheerly Man / old-school pulling sort of pattern, like

Do me Johnny Bowker, come roll me in the clover
CH: Do me Johnny Bowker DO!

?

That could work for "Fire Maringo":

Lift him up and carry him along,
Fire, maringo, Fire a-WAY,

But it is awkward for "Hieland Laddie":

Were you ever in Quebec,
Bonnie laddie, highland LAD-die,

Perhaps the timing of the pull was like in a halyard chanty, but with the second pull of each refrain, only, e.g.

Lift him up and carry him along,
fir, maringo, FIRE away,

That would sort of put it "at the end."

Why the need for a "grand chorus" in one of the songs? In shipboard chanties, grand choruses generally only occurred (or so we now believe) in capstan (or pump) songs, where much time was to pass, but no specific "timed exertion" was an issue. So,

"The tunes are generally plaintive and monotonous, as are most of the capstan tunes of sailors..."

Is he implying that these songs were a shared repertoire with capstan songs (if so, why does he not say so earlier, and why does he seem to particularize them as "chants")? Or is he just saying they are similar? Should we be looking to imagine the cotton-stower songs as more like capstan songs? -- in which case the "timed pull" issue gets very confusing indeed (there being no timed pull in a capstan chantey). Or, is it possible that the body of halyard chanties was not there yet -- to which Nordhoff could have made a comparison if it was -- and that capstan songs were just the closest thing? And since when were the capstan tunes of sailors "plaintive"? That doesn't sound like the character of the "ditties" like "Heave and Go my Nancy O"! Was something long in effect by this point -- or just not in existence at all?

"These samples, which might be continued to an almost indefinite extent, will give the reader an idea of what capstan and cotton songs, or chants, are. The tunes are the best portion, of course, in all such rude performances. But these are only to be heard on board ship."

OK, so now "capstan songs" are "chants"? Still unclear how the work action of screwing cotton may have transfered to capstan (or vice versa). Perhaps the songs were exceedingly slow (but he says "cheerful"?), which leads to that sort of ambiguity of "Shenandoah" type songs, in which there is not necessarily any strong or regular pulse. In another current thread, VirginiaTam is asking about the function of "Shallow Brown" -- that is another that has the "look" of a halyard chantey, but may have been used, in lugubrious fashion, for capstan.

"There was one, in which figured that mythical personage "Old Stormy"..."

This does not suggest that he was familiar with any popular minstrel version of "Stormy."


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: John Minear
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 02:14 PM

This is really late and not in your time frame at all, but I think it is interesting for a more contemporary comparison with regard to rowing songs. It is an article from SCRIBNERS MAGAZINE, VOLUME LXVIII, July-December, 1920, entitled "The Trail to Kaieteur", which is in British Guiana, by Eleanor Beers Lestrade (with photos).

"Sunday, May 11 (1919?)

        We, and our men and supplies were loaded into a thirty-foot boat that was to take us to the next falls at Amatuk, and we left Kangaruma soon after sunrise. The bowman stood or squatted in the bow, then came four pairs of paddlers, then Jones half asleep, then the four of us, and in the stern three paddlers and the captain, who steered. The men had short paddles that threw the water high in the air with every stroke, and clicked in unison on the gunwales of the boat.
        There was a tremendous current, and even keeping as close to the bank as we did, our progress was very slow. When we watched the water that raced past us, it seemed as if we were flying, but when we watched the bank we saw that we scarcely moved.
        One of the paddlers called out, "Water me, water me." Another splashed some water with his paddle. This meant that the first paddler had a song that he could not rest until he had sung, and the other by splashing the water showed that he was waiting with the greatest impatience to hear the song and join in the chorus. These songs, or chanteys, were very simple and monotonous in words and music, but wonderfully melodious when sun by a dozen happy, lusty blacks paddling up a tropical river. The men clicked their paddles on the gunwales in time to the chantey, and paddled much better when they sang.
        Sometimes we could understand and make sense out of the words, but more often not. The chantey-man would sing the first line of the song, and the others would join in the second line. If it was a pretentious song with more than two lines, the chantey-man would sing the third line, and the chorus would wind up the verse. This would be repeated over and over again, until the chantey-man was tired, or thought of a new song he would rather sing. Then he would call, "Compliment! Compliment!" and we would clap, and tell him we were enchanted with his performance.
        As it was Sunday, they interspersed the programme with "Sunday chanteys." One of these ran something like this:

        "David mourning for his son, Absalom;
                (Chorus) Son Absalom, son Absalom.
        David mourning for his son, Absalom;
                (Chorus) Absalom, Absalom, Absalom."

        I remember the chorus only of the other Sunday chantey, which ran:
        
        "Fire burning down below, hey ho!
        Fire burning down below!"

        Our favorite chantey, the words of which almost made sense, was: "Blow de man down." The man was to be blown down with a bottle of rum or a bottle of gin, or anything that wasn't prohibition, and he was to be blown down to Amatuk, Waratuk, or Kaieteur Falls, or anywhere the chantey-man wanted him blown. With this range of variations to choose from, this song could be kept up much longer than the others." (pp. 566-570)

http://books.google.com/books?id=814AAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA568&dq=chantey&lr=&cd=35#v=onepage&q=chantey&f=false


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 02 Apr 10 - 12:26 PM

To complete the cotton-stowing song references of (attributed to) the 1840s, I must enter in the source already mentioned by Steve Gardham above, in the discussion of Lyman's ideas on the etymology of "chantey."

It's TWENTY YEARS AT SEA, by F.S. Hill, pub. 1893. Hill describes cotton-stowers as he saw/heard them in Mobile Bay in 1844, as follows:

////
However, the first lighter laden with cotton soon came down from Mobile, and with it a gang of stevedores who were to stow this precious cargo. At that time freights to Liverpool were quoted at " three half - pence a pound," which represented the very considerable sum of fifteen dollars a bale. So it was very much to the interest of our owners to get every pound or bale squeezed into the ship that was possible.

The cotton had already been subjected to a very great compression at the steam cotton presses in Mobile, which reduced the size of the bales as they had come from the plantations fully one half. It was now to be forced into the ship, in the process of stowing by the stevedores, with very powerful jackscrews, each operated by a gang of four men, one of them the " shantier," as he was called, from the French word chanteur, a vocalist. This man's sole duty was to lead in the rude songs, largely improvised, to the music of which his companions screwed the bales into their places. The pressure exerted in this process was often sufficient to lift the planking of the deck, and the beams of ships were at times actually sprung.

A really good shantier received larger pay than the other men in the gang, although his work was much less laborious. Their songs, which always had a lively refrain or chorus, were largely what are now called topical, and often not particularly chaste. Little incidents occurring on board ship that attracted the shantier's attention were very apt to be woven into his song, and sometimes these were of a character to cause much annoyance to the officers, whose little idiosyncrasies were thus made public.
One of their songs, I remember, ran something like this —

"Oh, the captain's gone ashore,
For to see the stevedore.
Chorus : Hie bonnie laddie, and we'll all go ashore.

"But the mate went ashore,
And got his breeches tore,
    Hie bonnie laddie," etc.
////

The improvised and topical nature of the songs is consistent with what we have read of Black American work-songs, though we know from earlier that non-Blacks were also involved in this work by this time.

"Hieland Laddie" as a lyrical theme is here again, but it appears to be a different song (i.e. different "framework") than in the other references. This one has the phrase "captain's gone ashore," which had been cited by Dana. It was also a phrase in "Grog time of Day," and the lyrical structure of this "Hie bonnie laddie" is similar to "Grog Time":

The captain's gone ashore;
The mate has got the key;
Hurrah! my jolly boys,-
'Tis grog time o' day!

VS.

The captain's gone ashore,
For to see the stevedore.
Hie bonnie laddie,
And we'll all go ashore.

The "Hie bonnie laddie" part is also reminiscent of the chantey "Pull Down Below."


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 03:01 PM

Cotton-stowing references:

1818 Savannah (Harris): "songs"
1838 Mobile Bay (Gosse): "Fire the ringo"
1844/5 Mobile Bay/New Orleans: reference to cotton-stowing with respect to chantey-men
1844 Mobile Bay (Hill): "Hie Bonnie Laddie"
1845 New Orleans (Erskine): "Fire Maringo," "Bonnie Laddie, Highland Laddie"
1845-1852 Mobile Bay (Nordhoff): "Fire Maringo," "Bonnie Laddies," "Stormy...Carry him along," "Yankee Dollar...see man do,"

Of these cotton-stowing songs, Hieland Laddie had earlier turned up as a capstan song in 1835. "Stormy" and it's lyrical theme turned up:

1) In Hawai'i, 1848, as if learned from seamen:

From above -- quoting John M....

////
1854 Edward T. Perkins, "Na Motu, or Reef-Rovings in the South Seas" p. 97 [ref. to 1848; Perkins had served on an American whaling ship]:

         I dug his grave with a silver spade;
                O! bullies, O!
       And I lowered him down with a golden chain,
                A hundred years ago!


P. 99: "I jumped onto a rock, swung my tarpaulin, and sung that good old song—

                'O ! storm along !
                O! my roving blades, storm along, stormy!'"
////

2) In Charles White's NEW ETHIOPIAN SONG BOOK, published in 1848. It looks like this minstrel version was inspired by the cotton-stowers' "traditional" song.

So, by the late 1840s, cotton-stowers' chants were well established.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: John Minear
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 08:07 PM

Here's another reference to "The Captain's gone ashore"/ "Grog time of day" that I don't think has been mentioned. It is from THE EVERGREEN, OR GEMS OF LITERATURE FOR MDCCL (1850), ed. by Rev. Edward A. Rice. The first "gem" is entitled "Quarter-Deck Yarns; or, Memorandums From My Log Book", by "An Old Salt". The setting is the "clipper-brig Curlew" in the New York Harbor, ready to sail for Hamburgh. During the night a favorable wind came up and and "the outward bound vessels were busied with preparations for getting under weigh."

The Curlew's anchor "had been hove short under the forefoot, her staysail and trysail were triced up, foresail dropped, mainsail hanging in the brails; and the topsails' loosened from their confining gaskets, were curtaining the caps with their snowy folds. When our boat came within hailing distance, the halliards were manned, and the good-humored crew run the yards up to the chorus of

   "The captain's gone ashore, but the mate is aboard,
   Hurrah! my jolly boys, grog time o' day."                         (pp, 10-11)

Here is the link:

http://books.google.com/books?id=ueQsAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA11&dq=%22the+captain's+gone+ashore+%22&lr=&cd=7#v=onepage&q=%22the%20captain'


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 12:08 PM

Thanks, John, for that very timely last reference. I can't find a date, but if it was published in 1850, one assumes the "log book" refers to 1840s or earlier. On the other hand, the word "clipper" is used, which I believe must make it no earlier than the late 1830; 1840s seems reasonable. It is interesting because, I think, it is the first time we've seen "Grog Time" being used at halliards.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 01:06 PM

I've yet to visit/re-visit shipboard worksong references for the 1840s.

Olmsted's INCIDENTS OF A WHALING VOYAGE (1841).

Olmsted was in the whaler "North America," sailing out of New London (CT) to Tahiti and Hawai'i. Here's what he says, for 1840:

////
Tuesday. Feb. 11. I have often been very much amused by the cries and songs of the men, when engaged in hauling away upon the rigging of the ship. The usual cry is " Ho ! Ho ! Hoi !' or " Ho ! Ho ! Heavo !" which is sung by some one of them, while the rest keep time. It has a rather dolorous cadence, and a wildness that sounds like a note of distress when rising above the roar of the gale at dead of night....

[Sounds like "singing-out"]

...But there are many songs in common use among seamen, of a very lively character, which though bereft of all sentiment and sense in many instances, are performed with very good effect when there is a long line of men hauling together. Mr. Freeman usually officiates as chorister, and with numerous demisemiquavers, strikes up the song, while all the rest join in the chorus. Sometimes they all sing together as I have endeavored to represent, although it must appear very tame without the attendant circumstances. One of the songs is as follows:—

Ho ! Ho ! and up she ris - es
Ho ! Ho ! and up she ris - es
Ho! Ho ! and up she ris - es,
Ear-ly in the morn-ing.
[with music, tune shape is "Drunken Sailor"]

And another song, accompanied with the chorus, which vies with the song of the troubadours in poetic sentiment.

Nan. cy Fan - an - a, she mar - ried a bar - ber,
CH: Heave her a - way, and heave her away
Hurrah, hurrah, for Fancy Fa-na - na.
CH: Heave her a - way ! and Heave her a - way !
[with music, in 6/8 and very similar in shape to Hugill's "Haul 'er Away," though the tune is different, it seems to be a variation.]

There are many other songs that might be very easily mentioned, which, however, like a good proportion of our parlor songs are rather insipid without the music. The songs of sailors, when sung with spirit and to the full extent of their fine sonorous voices, add new vigor to their exertions, as the heavy yards and sails are mounting upwards....

[On a later occasion:]

...The teeth of the sperm whale vary from four to five inches in length, and are imbedded more than two-thirds in the lower jaw. They are susceptible of a very high polish, and are beginning to be valued as an article of merchandize, which has induced sperm whalers to collect all the teeth of their captured whales, as constituting a part of the profits of the voyage. The extraction of the teeth is the practice of dentistry on a grand scale. The patient, i. e. the lower jaw, is bound down to ring bolts in the deck. The dentist, a boatsteerer, with several assistants, first makes a vigorous use of his gum lancet, to wit, a cutting spade wielded in both hands. A start is given id the teeth, while his assistants apply the instrument of extraction to one end of the row, consisting of a powerful purchase of two fold pulleys, and at the tune of "O! hurrah my hearties O!" the teeth snap from their sockets in quick succession.

[The pulley arrangement rigged appears in an illustration. The men are hauling in a downward direction.]

////

These chanties look like they are probably the "older" ones. If we are to assume "Drunken Sailor" one was a walk-away, then one could imagine that as a continuation of that practice since, for example, Navy days. "Nancy Fanana" smacks of "Cheerly Men." It does have a possible "stanzaic" structure, that would lend itself to the "double pull" halyard maneuver. On the other hand, there is no description of that, and it is possible that it was timed like Cheerly Men. On the other hand, the command is "heave," and it is not explicitly connected to halliards, so it could have been for another task. I am really not sure.

The song for pulling whale teeth, "O! hurrah my hearties O!," to which we've seen songs with similar generic phrases before, looks like it may have had the form of a sing-out or of a Cheerly Man type deal, i.e. with the pull on the last "O!" I say that because of the nature of the action being described, which involves a stiff downward pull (e.g. as in sweating up).


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 01:57 PM

Gibb,
It makes no mention of a capstan but clearly states 'add new vigor to their exertions, as the heavy yards and sails are mounting upwards....' Of course this might be done using a windlass.

BTW what's your earliest description of task and actual named shanty in references to British ships, excepting capstan and 'Cheerly Man'?
Regardless of where they originated I still feel strongly they were well established on any reasonable scale on American ships before it became standard practice on British ships. I know there's this 'mid-Atlantic' idea that seamen and ships were all one, but all the main impetus and input seems to come from American customs.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 06 Apr 10 - 05:19 PM

Steve,

BTW what's your earliest description of task and actual named shanty in references to British ships, excepting capstan and 'Cheerly Man'?

Fascinating question. I, for one, don't have my sources all "in order" at this point. However, so far in *this* thread -- where I am attempting to acknowledge just about every shantying reference that has been collectively dug up...so far, into the 1840s...I am not finding anything that fits your criteria -- unless the count the 1820s London stage reference to the guy spitting on his hands and imitating a sailor's chant with "Sally Brown" chorus. Not having scoured the 1850s yet, I'd say that that could be the earliest period, but we'll see...

Others' thoughts?

Gibb


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 06 Apr 10 - 05:41 PM

Continuing 1840s shipboard,

We have this reference, courtesy of Lighter, to a song in a whaleman's diary, Sept. 11, 1842.

       The Taskar is the thing to roll
       O ee roll & go
       Her bottom's round as any bowl!
       O ho roll & go

The author was aboard the whaleship TASKAR. (Reproduced in Margaret S. Creighton's "Rites and Passages," 1995, p. 178).

It is not indicated (?) whether this was a work-song, but it certainly looks like a chantey form. There are relly not enough details to contextualize it, though the "roll and go" may connect it to known chanties.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 06 Apr 10 - 06:02 PM

Continuing, I'd like to re-direct attention to a references cited above by John M., for this time period (1842) and context (whaling ship).

*snip*

It comes from ETCHINGS OF A WHALING CRUISE, by John Ross Browne, and is dated 1846. The events described take place in October of 1842 (I think). The song is being used at the windless. (pp. 133-134)

       "Heave him up! O he yo!
                Butter and cheese for breakfast
       Raise the dead! O he yo!
                The steward he's a makin' swankey.
       Heave away! O he yo!
                Duff for dinner! Duff for dinner
       Now I see it! O he yo!
                Hurrah for the Cape Cod gals!
       Now I don't. O he yo!
                *Round the corner, Sally!*
       Up she comes! O he yo!
                Slap-jacks for supper!
       Re-re-ra-ra-oo-we ye yo ho! Them's 'um!"

*snip*

They are off the Canary Islands. The windlass is the old-fashioned spoke windlass. And the song looks old-fashioned, too. Definitely not a "chantey" as we've come to know them today. This is old technology.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 Apr 10 - 03:12 PM

Gibb, If I may be allowed to step backwards to earlier in the century, Jonathan's intriguing reference to a performance at a NYC theatre c1826 has inspired me to ask a friend of mine who is something of a theatre historian to throw some light on it. He sometimes contributes to Mudcat as Billy Weekes. The reference is to post 23rd March at 11.23.
John's reply came mainly from the National Dictionary of Biography.
'The Wallacks were a theatrical family/dynasty of several generations with established reputations on both sides of the Atlantic. Henry Wallack (the one referred to) was born in England in 1790, ret. from the stage in 1852 and died in 1870. From c1825 was lead and in 1826 manager of The Chatham Theatre NYC. There is no mention of any RN career.

John's opinion was that the RN Lieutenant bit might have been invented to give authority to performance. It wouldn't be too difficult for one of our Naval historians to check whether there was indeed a Lieutenant Henry Wallack. John is not aware of any biography of Wallack.

Even if this is so and Wallack was imitating something he had read or even observed, what was it that he observed? We know the revenue cutters of the RN allowed some chanteying. Certainly the bigger ships didn't. Intriguing!


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: John Minear
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 08:02 AM

Here are several references to "Cheerily Men" from the 1840's. First of all from the MEMIORS OF THE REV. WALTER M. LOWRIE: MISSIONARY TO CHINA, ed. Walter Lowerie, 1849, perhaps talking about 1842. The occasion is the hoisting of guns out of the hold to be mounted.

http://books.google.com/books?id=eotjAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA110&dq=Cheerily,+Men&lr=&cd=139#v=onepage&q=Cheerily%2C%20Men&f=false

A second reference comes from A VISIT TO THE ANTIPODES: WITH SOME REMINISCENCES OF SOJOURN IN AUSTRALIA, by E. Lloyd, "A Squatter", 1846, perhaps referencing events in 1844. The location is Port Adelaide, and the author is reflecting on an abandoned ship and imagining the song "Cheerily men, ho!".

http://books.google.com/books?id=X8MNAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA77&dq=Cheerily,+Men&lr=&cd=138#v=onepage&q=Cheerily%2C%20Men&f=false

The next reference comes from MCDONALD OF OREGON: A TALE OF TWO SHORES, by Eva Emery Dye, 1906. The biography is "based on personal statements and letters of McDonald...", etc. (p. v). The events take place in the harbor of Nagasaki, Japan, in 1849. The song "Cheerily, men, oh!" is mentioned several times in different settings, one of which is a rowing scene. There may be some question about whether this is an historical "reconstruction".

http://books.google.com/books?id=1dUVAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA250&dq=Cheerily,+Men&lr=&cd=99#v=onepage&q=Cheerily%2C%20Men&f=false

And here is a reference to "Haul her away!", from Ezekiel I. Barra's A TALE OF TWO OCEANS, published in 1893, but perhaps referencing 1849.

http://books.google.com/books?id=v6oqQ1CiaGYC&pg=PA11&lpg=PA11&dq=%22Haul+Her+Away%22&source=bl&ots=mdCKZL6pkZ&sig=kQ14HcLcH8QKA


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 05:41 PM

Had a look at 'Cheerly O' in Lawson which comes from United Services Journal 1834. I'm sure I've seen refs to this version above somewhere but a quick scan through couldn't find it. Has this 4 stanza version been posted yet or shall I enter it here?


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 06:52 PM

No the UNITED SERVICES text has not been entered. Please, do, Steve!


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 03:18 PM

Naval Ballads & Sea Songs, Selected and Illustrated by Cecil C P Lawson, London: Peter Davies: 1933.

Excerpt from the intro by Commander Charles N Robinson, R.N.
'Mr Lawson's collection would not have been complete without a specimen of the chanty. the one he has chosen was, according to a Naval officer who described it in the United Services Journal for January 1834, used on board a revenue cruiser for want of music in order to encourage the men to pull together. On the other hand , on board a weell-disciplined man-of-war only the officers were allowed to speak during the performance of an evolution, and in place of the old-time song used to lighten the work, a fiddle, the bagpipes, or a fife played some favourite tune.

p72, Cheerly O

O, haul pulley, yoe,
    Cheerly men.
O, long and strong, yoe, O,
    Cheerly men.
O, yoe, and with a will,
    Cheerly men.
Cheerly, cheerly, cheerly, O!

A Long haul for Widow Skinner,
    Cheerly men.
Kiss her well before dinner,
    Cheerly men.
At her, boys, and win her,
    Cheerly men.
Cheerly, cheerly, cheerly, O!

A strong pull for Mrs Bell,
    Cheerly men.
Who likes a lark right well,
    Cheerly men.
And, what's more, will never tell,
    Cheerly men.
Cheerly, cheerly, cheerly, O!

O haul and split the blocks,
    Cheerly men.
O haul and stretch her luff,
    Cheerly men.
Young Lovelies, sweat her up,
    Cheerly men.
Cheerly, cheerly, cheerly, O!


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 06:56 PM

In my personal "hunt" for the emergence of "chanties", I am still moving...slowly...through the 1840s. So here is more detail on a maritime work-song reference from the end of that decade. It's

S.R. Thurston's CALIFORNIA ND OREGON, OR, SIGHTS IN THE GOLD REGION (first edition, 1851). The events described by Thurston happened in 1849.

Leaving Panama, headed for San Francisco, on the US steamer OREGON, he writes,

Roused at daybreak by the sailors' song at the windlass, we gazed from our state-room window at the beauty of the dawn on the distant mountains, and with watch in hand, at 5 a. m., on the morning of the 13th of March, noted the first revolution of the wheels toward the El Dorado of our hopes...

Then, off the West coast of Mexico:

Having despatched letters for our friends by the Mexican courier to Vera Cruz, we took our departure from San Blas early on Sunday morning, 25th of March. Listening to the tramp and song of the sailors at the capstan and windlass, we caught the words—

"The Oregons are a jolly crew,
   O, yes, O!
A bully mate and captain, too,
   A hundred years ago."

The second and last lines formed the chorus, and they roared it out right heartily, bringing many from below in time to behold the sun rise above the mountains of Mexico in great glory and magnificence,...


I would think the windlass he is describing is the pump type. I must confess, however, that I'm not sure why there was capstan AND windlass. Are both there, for different tasks? Or does he just take them together as a phrase (cf. "ball and chain") because capstans do in fact engage a windlass below deck? (One would "tramp" round a capstan; not so a windlass.) The reason why I ask is in order to verify the type of action.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 07:25 PM

Steve, thanks very much for putting in the details on the United Services Journal version of "Cheerly."

And John, thanks for the recent references. I need to digest them. So...

MEMIORS OF THE REV. WALTER M. LOWRIE: MISSIONARY TO CHINA, ed. Walter Lowerie, 1849

John M: "The occasion is the hoisting of guns out of the hold to be mounted."

The passage is from April 18th, 1842. The Rev. Lowrie is aboard the ship HUNTRESS, bound out from New York eastward to China.

Monday, April l8th. Getting ready to go ashore, i. e., the ship is. The men have been at work most of this day getting the guns up out of the hold and mounting them. They were stowed away below shortly after leaving New York. Being quite heavy, it took several men to hoist them up out of the hold, and they raised the song of " Cheerily, oh cheerily," several times. This is a favorite song with the seamen. One acts as leader, and invents as he goes along, a sentence of some six or eight syllables, no matter what. To-day some of the sentences were, " Help rne to sing a song ;" " Now all you fine scholars ;" " You must excuse me now," &c. ; then comes in a semi-chorus " Cheerily oh !" then another sentence, and a full chorus, " Cheerily oh ~~~~~~ cheerily." Just imagine the sounds and music of that waving line! The song is exciting, and heard at the distance of the ship's length is very beautiful. I have just now been listening to music of another kind. The sea is smooth, all is quiet...

Shall we assume they used some sort of rope-pulley system to hoist the guns? It is interesting to see the persistence of "Cheerily Men" as a sort of ubiquitous "1 2 3 pull!", whenever/wherever needed.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 07:32 PM

Quoting John:

A second reference comes from A VISIT TO THE ANTIPODES: WITH SOME REMINISCENCES OF SOJOURN IN AUSTRALIA, by E. Lloyd, "A Squatter", 1846, perhaps referencing events in 1844. The location is Port Adelaide, and the author is reflecting on an abandoned ship and imagining the song "Cheerily men, ho!".

I find this interesting again because it would seem to underscore the ubiquity of "Cheerily Men" -- one has only to briefly mention it, and readers should know what is being referenced.

I forgot to mention, above that Rev. Lowrie (re: his 1842 voyage in the HUNTRESS) says he read Dana's "Two Years." We would also, in that case, be familiar with "Cheerly" before he ever heard it aboard a vessel.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 09:22 PM

There is an interesting reference to a song/chant used for stowing cargo aboard an East India Company ship -- allegedly circa 1790s-1800s?

It comes in the UNITED SERVICES MAGAZINE for March 1836, in a piece called "Leaves From My Log-book," by a "Flexible Grummett." The scene takes place in Calcutta.

We joined the ship next day, and found the cargo had been all delivered, and they were now taking in a ground tier of saltpetre in bags. The mode of stowing this was, to me, highly amusing, and the seamen appeared to enjoy it; though the labour, in a hot climate, down in an Indiaman's hold, must have been excessive. Two gangs are formed of about a dozen men each, all of whom are provided with heavy wooden mauls, the handle of bamboo being four feet long. This is called a commander. The saltpetre bags are laid level, and one of the gangs beat it down with their commanders, swinging them round above their heads in the same manner that a blacksmith does his sledge-hammer when forging an anchor. That all may strike together at the same moment so as to keep time, the captain of the gang sings (and the best singer is generally chosen) a line, at the end of which down come the mauls upon the bags. The following is the song:—

"Here goes one—(thump from the commanders)
One, it is gone, (thump)
There's many more to come (thump)
To make up the sum (thump)
Of one hundred so long." (thump)

He then continues, " Here goes two, &c.," and as each distich gives five thumps, twenty complete the hundred, the only change being in the numbers, and at the last blow the words are " There's no more to come," &c. The other gang then relieves them, and the same song is gone through; but occasionally, by way of bravado, numerous snatches of songs adapted for the purpose are added to the hundred, and sometimes these are not of the most delicate nature. One I well remember was—(the maul descending at the end of every line)

"My father's a gunner,
And I am his son;
He walks the quarter-deck, boy«,
And he fires a gun ;
Fire away, gunner,
And keep your guns warm;
And a good glass of grog, boys,
Will do us no harm."

Thus eight blows more are added gratuitously, which the other gang strive to emulate, and this work continues for two or three weeks. ln the mean time other gangs overhaul the rigging, clap on fresh services, and do everything to give the ship a perfect refit.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 11:02 PM

My cumulative summary up to this point.

1780s-90s:

General references to African and New World Black work-songs, from Mali, Grenada.

1800s:

General references to African-American work-songs and their style, from Martinique;
Rowing songs from Georgia, South Carolina, Guyana, Surinam;
Windlass songs, aboard vessels with sailors incl. from Northumberland and Holland.

1810s:

2 stevedore songs from Jamaica that resemble chanteys;
African-American rowing songs from Antigua, Virgin Islands;
Singing and fife-playing at the capstan on a British war ship.

1820s:

Rowing songs, from Georgia, Virginia, St. Thomas;
A version of "Cheerly Men" for topsail halyards on a brig near Quebec;
Fictional capstan shantying in the Arctic; capstan (?) song of British tars in London; chant for pulling known to an ex-British navy man. [I've also seen another reference to the phrase "British capstan song" from 1825.]

1830s:

African-American rowing songs in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Guyana, and "West Indies"
African-American firemen's songs on the Ohio and in general
Cotton stowing songs in Mobile Bay
"Ditties" at the capstan on an East India Company ship
A song at the pump windlass on a transatlantic voyage
Songs "for capstan and falls" and for catting anchor, on brigs off the coast of California
A capstan song on a ship off the coast of Arabia
The adoption of capstan songs and sailors' "ditties" by locals of Tahiti and the Society Islands

1840s:

A rowing song ("row, billy, row") (American)
Reference to Black steamboat firemen singing on the Ohio
A stevedore song ("grog time") in New Orleans
Cotton-stowing songs in New Orleans and Mobile (x3)
Cotton "hoosiers" working (and singing) aboard a trans-Atlantic
    packet
[The "Stormy" chantey adapted (?) as a minstrel song]
[Popular shanties ("A Hundred Years Ago" and "Stormy") turning
    up in the South Pacific]
A song ("Cheerly Man") for hoisting guns from below in a ship
    from New York
Generic reference to "Cheerily Men" in Port Adelaide
Unloading cargo by means of a capstan in London, to a song
A basic anchor song ("Ho, O, heave O") brought back from a Mediterranean voyage in an American vessel
A walk-away shanty ("drunken sailor"), another shanty (unknown      
    style, "Nancy Fanana"), and a short-haul song ("O! hurrah my
    hearties O!") on an American whaling ship in the Pacific
Possible stanza-form chantey on a whaleship
Spoke windlass song on a whaleship
Capstan (or pump windlass?) chantey ("A Hundred Years Ago") on
    a steamship bound for Frisco
A halyard shanty ("grog time") on a brig in New York

Summary:
Through the 1840s, references to African-American work-songs for rowing and on steamboats are fewer (though they will continue to appear in later decades). The cotton-stowing songs make a big entrance here, and they seem to have strongly influenced shipboard work-songs.   Although I believe the cotton-stowing songs (as a class) must have originated with Black labourers, by this time Euro-American labourers had also joined the trade. If, as I have hypothesized, the body of songs of a style known as "chanties" originated with African-American practices, then a question at this point would be: Where and when did it become a shared practice among the different cultural groups? Was cotton-screwing, for example, a ground zero whence the practice was taken to ships? Or had the sharing already occurred earlier – e.g. aboard ships, initially? Whereas in the past I have thought that cotton-screwing songs must be analogous in form to halyard shanties, after a close look at the literature, I begin to have doubts whether that can be said with any certainty.

Interestingly, through the 1840s there are still not many references to what one might consider "classic" halliard shanties. For pulling songs, this decade gives us, with clarity, only the well-worn, old-fashioned "Cheerly"…. Along with "Grog time of day" (in two different forms) used for hauling to load cargo and…finally as a halliard chantey. I find the latter to be most significant, because it is (arguably) the one halliard song of the decade with something like the classic form. Still, it is shy of the most typical form (i.e. of later times).

Needless to say, all this material needs much more mulling over. But if I may state, prematurely, my surprise – that there is little evidence, by the end of the 1840s yet, to say that many of the chanties we now know (especially in the typical double-pull halyard form) had by then existed.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: John Minear
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 07:09 AM

Here is a reference to "A Hundred Years Ago" from a journal kept aboard the "Agincourt" on it's way to South Australia in 1848. The verse given is as follows:

"A hundred years is a very long time,
    Oh-ho! Yes! Oh-ho!
A hundred years is a very long time,
    A hundred years ago.
They hung a man for making steam,
    Oh-ho! Yes! Oh-ho!
They cast his body in the stream,
    A hundred years ago."

And the entry mentions that "Other favourites included:
   "Sweet Belle Malone"
   "Off to Botany Bay"
   "Sailing over the Ocean Blue"
   "Can You Bake a Cherry Pie".

The introductory comment is: "They were like monkeys moving swiftly aloft up the ratlines and sang Sea Chanties as they worked. ("Chant" is a French word)"

This comes from a posting found on the internet entitled BOUND FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA - AGINCOURT 1849-50 Journey by Diane Cummings. It looks like it is primarily concerned with the passengers list and has to do with genealogical research. There is no further documentation. Here is the link:

http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/fh/passengerlists/1850AgincourtJourney.htm

I have not found other information on this particular "Diane Cummings". But here is a reference to the "barque Agincourt" making another voyage to Australia that is dated 1852, from OUR ANTIPODES: OR, RESIDENCE AND RAMBLES IN THE AUSTRALASIAN COLONIES by Lieut.-Col. Godfrey Charles Mundy:

http://books.google.com/books?id=MVgBAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA2&dq=barque+Agincourt&lr=&cd=20#v=onepage&q=barque%20Agincourt&f=false

There are numerous other references to ships named "Agincourt".


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Charley Noble
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 07:41 AM

John-

Nice reference to "A Hundred Years Ago" from a journal kept aboard the "Agincourt" and interesting verse.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 05:36 PM

Interesting, John. So that makes three references to "Hundred Years Ago" in the late 40s. The first is sung removed from a task, the second is in reference to capstan and/or windlass and this one is again vague. Perhaps it was halyards.

The "based upon a diary" part of this is shady. Surely the line about "They were like monkeys moving swiftly aloft up the ratlines and sang Sea Chanties as they worked. ("Chant" is a French word)" is the editor's interpretation. Unfortunately, it raises suspicion on the rest. However, though the context and precise wording of the Diary have been mangled, it seems probable that it did contain the "Hundred Years Ago" text, at least.

Incidentally, the line about how "They hung a man for making steam," if authentic, is interesting. It seems an early date (though I would not know) for that tension between sail and steam. In the Rev. Lowrie voyage to Frisco in 1849, above, he took two steamships to get there, and at least twice in his journal he recommends strongly that all passengers avoid sailing vessels!


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 06:36 PM

I'm presuming we are looking mainly for influences rather than origins.
The sporadic evidence strongly suggests multiple origins and we can only guess anyway. The strongest influences on the main body of material when it was at its height seem to be various channels of African/American occupations. Whereas the cotton screwing won't have been the only channel of influence I still think it would have been one channel.

Once this study is relatively complete another interesting development would be a timeline using specific chanties. I would suggest rather than using the dates of references, use e.g., c1825 as the suggested date of when the chanty was being performed. In order to do this effectively it might be helpful to have Master Titles for those chanties known by a variety of titles. I would be willing to help and make suggestions on this one, having already developed criteria for an English folk song Master Title Index. Chanties, however, are very different to other traditional songs and a different approach is needed. For instance with other types of folk song we identify variants of one song by the text and tune, mostly the text. With chanties the text is almost irrelevant so we would look at refrains, tunes and format.


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