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The Advent and Development of Chanties

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Gibb Sahib 11 Nov 10 - 08:34 AM
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Lighter 13 Nov 10 - 10:10 AM
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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 11 Nov 10 - 08:34 AM

And here's "A Yankee Ship and a Yankee Crew" from 1840 -- it's Tally I O!. Gotta wait till later to dissect it, but enjoy!

http://books.google.com/books?id=9IwvAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA34&dq=%22yankee+ship+and+a+ya


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 12 Nov 10 - 02:09 AM

Whoops -- so I guess some of you guys already discussed the "A Yankee Ship and a Yankee Crew" song when talking about Dana's shanties. It doesn't seem like a chanty to me but I think it can reasonably be conjectured that it is related to the Tally I O szanty. I am at a loss, however, to say whether the "real" Tally chantey may have influenced it, or if the shanty was based in the song.

I am going to leave it aside for the purpose of this thread, because I don't think there is sufficient grounds to call it an attestation of chanteying happening. And because the "Darkey Crew" seems just a parody of the popular song, for the time being I am going to leave it out of things, too.

re: Fanny Elssler/Grog Time

My hypothetical scenario of the sich is as follows. "Grog Time of Day" was a chanty in use since at least the 1810s. In the early 1840s, the dockworkers in NOLA indeed sang something of that form when Fanny was leaving. An observer wrote a news article about it, including reconstructed lyrics. The author of NEGRO'S OWN used that recent news article as one of his sources in compiling his songster. Later, the author of ART OF BALLET used the hypothetical news article as a source for his historical account.

Whatever the details, I think there is enough to safely assume that *some* version of "Grog Time" was observed in the early '40s in NOLA.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 05:39 AM

Well now. Here's a song that's quite a lot like "Blow, Boys, Blow".

NEGRO SINGER'S OWN BOOK, pp239:

//
ORIGINAL OLE TAR RIVER

Banjo and ance accompaniments.
Sung by the Virginia Minstrels.

Its way down in ole Carolinar,
    Oh, ah, oh, ah
'Twar on de bank ob ole Tar riber,
    Dah, da, tiddle dum de da.

'Tis dar I met Aramintah Glober
She wanted me but I choose anudder.

Jim Carron katch a turkey buzzard
Black Betsy charmed dis nigger's gizzard

Her figure set dis heart a trotting
Her shabe war like a bale ob cotting

I ride upon de rolling riber
Wid a sail made ob a waggon kiver

Ole fat Sam died ob de decline
An dey dried him for a bacon sign

Is dere any one here loves massa Jackson
Yes I's de nigga loves General Jackson

He had a wife and a big plantation
De odder one in de choctaw nation

He thrashed the red coats at Orleans
He gib Packenham all sorts of beans

He is growing old, and will hab to leab us
His going will make a nation griebous

Along come a nigger wid a long tail coat
He wanted to borrow a tend dollar note
Says I go away, nigger, I ain't got a red cent
//

If the Virginia Minstrels sang this -- perhaps circa 1843 -- would they still be that obsessed w/ Andrew Jackson enough to make a new song? Or could we guess that they were performing a much older song? Jackson died in 1845, so it was created before then. And the line about "he's going to leave us" makes perfect sense for 1843-ish. But still I wonder if the subject matter wasn't original developed back just after the War of 1812. Notably, no composer is credited.

It does have the form of a halyard chantey/ rowing song, but there's no way to tell if that's what it originally was.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 07:31 AM

In Longman's Magazine Vol 12 (June 1888) there is an article "Old Naval Songs." The author, W. Clark Russell, sees fit to bring in chanties, although he familiarity with them is questionable. Several that he mentions are clearly pulled from Dana's TWO YEARS, but he passes of the titles as if they were songs that were part of his experience.

//
THERE are two kinds of sea-songs: those which are sung at concerts and in drawing-rooms, and sometimes, but not very often, at sea, and those which are never heard off shipboard. The latter have obtained in this age the name of ' chanty,' a term which I do not recollect ever having heard when I was following the life. It is obviously manufactured out of the French verb, and there is a 'longshore twang about it which cannot but sound disagreeably to the elderly nautical ear.
//

Hmm. Never heard the term 'chanty'? Possible. When did he sail?

//
This sort of song is designed to lighten and assist the sailor's toil. It is an air that enables a number of men pulling upon a rope to regulate their combined exertions. It is also a song for sailors to sing as they tramp round a capstan and heave upon a windlass. Of the melodies of many of them it is difficult to trace the paternity. Some are so engaging that they might well be regarded as the compositions of musicians of genius, who wrote them with little suspicion of the final uses to which they would be put. Why their destination, having been sung perhaps at the harpsichord and the guitar by ladies and gentlemen, should be the forecastle; why, being appropriated by the sailor they should be so peculiarly his, that no one else ever dreams of singing them, there is no use in attempting to guess.
//

Forecastle? He's talking about chanties, right?

//
The reader will not require me to tell him that the marine working songs are to be heard only in the Merchant Service. In a ship of war the uproar caused by the hoarse bawling of half-a-dozen gangs of men scattered about the decks would be intolerable, nor could the working song be of service to the blue-jackets, who are quite numerous enough to manage without it. It was always so, indeed ; a frigate getting under way would flash into canvas in a breath ; sails were sheeted home, yards hoisted, jibs and staysails run up, and the anchor tripped, as though the complicated mechanism were influenced by a single controlling power producing simultaneously a hundred different effects. There were men enough to do everything, and all at once ; but the ship's company of the merchantman were always too few for her. A mercantile sailor is expected to do the work of two, and, at a pinch, of three and even four. When one job is done he has to spring to another. There are 'stations' indeed in such manoeuvres as tacking or wearing; but when, for instance, it comes to shortening sail in a hurry, or when the necessity arises for a sudden call for all hands, the merchant sailor lays hold of the first rope it is necessary to drag on, and when he has ' belayed' it, he is expected to fling himself upon the next rope that has to be pulled. Here we have the secret of the usefulness of the working song. Let the words be what they will, the melody animates the seaman with spirit and he pulls with a will; it helps him to keep time too, so that not so much as an ounce of the united weight of the hauling and bawling fellows misses of its use on the tackle they drag at. I have known seamen at work on some job that required a deal of heavy and sustained pulling, to labour as if all heart had gone out of them whilst one of the gang tried song after song ; the mate meanwhile standing by and encouraging them with the familiar official rhetoric; till on a sudden an air has been struck up that acted as if by magic. The men not only found their own strength, every fellow became as good as two. This, I believe, will be the experience of most merchant sailors.
//

OK, so more confirmation of the lack of chanties in navy ships, and the reasons why.

Next, types of chanties:

//
There are tunes to fit every kind of work on board ship; short cheerful melodies for jobs soon accomplished, over which a captain would not allow time to be wasted in singing (for I am bound to say that the disposition of a sailor is to make a very great deal of singing go to the smallest possible amount of pulling), such as hauling out a bowline, mastheading one of the lighter yards, or boarding a tack. Other working choruses, again, are as long as a ship's cable. These are sung at the capstan or at the windlass, when the intervals between the starting of the solo and the coming in of the chorus do not hinder the work an instant.
//

Next he states he could not fins mention of chanties in older British accounts, concluding they may be American in origin:

//
It would be interesting to know when and by whom the working song was first introduced into the British Merchant Service. In old books of voyages no reference whatever is made to it. There is not a sentence in the collections from Hakluyt down to Burney to indicate that when the early sailors pushed at handspikes or dragged upon the rigging they animated their labours with songs and choruses. I have some acquaintance with the volumes of Shelvocke, Funnell, and other marine writers of the last century, but though many of them, such as Ringrose, Dumpier, Cooke, Snelgrave, and particularly Woodes Rogers, enter very closely into the details of the shipboard work of their time, they are to a man silent on this question of singing. It is for this reason that I would attribute the origin of the practice to the Americans.
//

//
If most of the forecastle melodies still current at sea be not the composition of Yankees, the words, at all events, are sufficiently tinctured by American sentiment to render my conjecture plausible. The titles of many of these working songs have a strong flavour of Boston and New York about them. 'Across the Western Ocean'; 'The Plains of Mexico'; 'Run, let the Bulljine, run !' 'Bound to the Rio Grande '; these and many more which I cannot immediately recollect betray to my mind a transatlantic inspiration. 'Heave to the Girls'; 'Cheerly, Men'; 'A dandy ship and a dandy crew'; 'Tally hi ho! You know'; ' Hurrah! hurrah! my hearty bullies'; and scores more of a like kind, all of them working songs never to be heard off the decks of a ship, are racy in air and words of the soil of the States.
//

'Heave to the Girls', 'Tally hi ho! You know', 'Hurrah! hurrah! my hearty bullies'
'Cheerly, Men', 'A dandy ship and a dandy crew' -- clearly come from Dana.

'Bound to the Rio Grande' could be his observation. But that exact wording appeared also in Chambers's Journal, 1869.

'Across the Western Ocean' - This exact phrase has not turned up yet in this thread.

'The Plains of Mexico' -- was there prior.

'Run, let the Bulljine, run!' -- I'm seeing this for the first time.


Then he moves onto sea songs, emphasizing the improvised, incidental, and 'doggerel' nature of chanty verses:

//
The other kind of songs—the songs of Charles and Thomas Dibdin, Shield, Arnold, Arne, Boyce, &c., are of a very different order. The working song is often at best but little more than unintelligible doggerel. It is the sailor's trick to improvise as he goes along, and rhyme and reason are entirely subordinate to the obligation of shouting out something. But the sea-song, as landsmen understand the term, is accepted as a composition of meaning and even of poetry...
//


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Lighter
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 10:10 AM

Though born in NYC, W. Clark Russell (1844-1911) was a very popular and respected English writer of sea stories. His father, Henry Russell, was the composer of the parlor song, "A LIfe on the Ocean Wave." The younger Russell was born in NYC, but both parents were English and he sailed on British ships, making his first voyage as a midshipman in 1857. He left the sea in 1865.

So I believe him when he says he can't recall hearing the word "chanty/shanty" used at sea. Remember that except for Nordhoff's (American) testimony from the 1840s, the word doesn't appear in print till 1868, after Russell had swallowed the anchor. As Nordhoff connects the word with the cotton-stowers of New Orleans, it may not have become generally applied to shipboard songs, even in the Gulf and the Caribbean, till during or just after the Civil War. Russell's observation should be taken seriously.

Neither Whall nor Robinson, who served at sea in Russell's time, insist that they'd heard the songs actually *called* shanties by the mid '60s. Even if they had, that doesn't mean that the word was universally known, as it apparently was by the '70s. (Without the broadcast media, new words didn't become entrenched as quickly then as now; even Davis & Tozier in 1888 thought they needed to put the word in quotes.)

When Russell wrote "in the forecastle," he meant, like many writers, "among deckhands," and not literally in the forecastle.

Russell's opinion that shantying arose in American ships looks more and more likely all the time.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 04:44 PM

Great info!

This testimony of Russell, coupled with his details, is thought provoking.

I too believe Russell when he says he didn't hear the word "chanty". But I am not sure what exactly that means for us.

Should we take it as some evidence that the word really was not common at sea ca. 1857-1865? Sure, that's possible. But though I am on board with the idea that the word didnt become common until relatively late (vagueness intended), it seems unlikely to me that it would go *this* late. If the first print mentions of chanty/shanty are 1867/1868, one could equally argue that terms are around awhile (e.g. at sea) before they get into print.

Or should we take it that 'chanty' was simply not in Russell's *personal* experience. Was he only in Navy ships? If so, that might explain why, if it was common, he did not come across it. Perhaps he heard sailors singing chanties but was not involved in them much.

It could also be that he sailed in British vessels and at that time 'chanty' was not there. This would inadvertently (?) help to prove his point about chanties originating in America. I think it was Steve Gardham who was investigating a while back the date at which shanties became prevalent in British ships.

It would be interesting to know how it is that now (i.e. 1880s -- he has earlier works with similar material) he knows the word 'chanty.' What has he been reading or hearing? (FWIW, the prominent 1868 and 1869 articles use the "shanty" spelling.) Has he since been observing sailors' speech? Or is his knowledge based in his reading?

I am not convinced (yet) that Russell knew much about chanteying from first hand experience, despite his nautical credentials in some areas. I prefer to read this for what it says (doesn't say?) *about* knowledge of chanteying.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 05:04 PM

Here's more from W. C. Russell. SAILOR'S LANGUAGE (London, 1883)

//
...I quote these verses at length, as a fair sample of the sort of " growling " Jack puts into his songs. Unfortunately he is somewhat limited in melodies. Some of them are very plaintive, such as "The Plains of Mexico " and "Across the Western Ocean," and others have a merry, light-hearted go, such as "Run, let the bulljine run!" "Whisky, Johnny!" "Time for us to go," " I served my time in the Blackwall Line."
//

He cites SANTIANA, ACROSS THE WESTERN OCEAN, RUN LET THE BULGINE RUN, WHISKEY JOHNNY, "Time for us to go", BLACKBALL LINE.

That's the earliest mention I've seen in print so far of "Run Let the Bulljine Run," suggesting it may be a unique addition. But then "Time for us to go" is one of those "lost" chanties of Dana. If he knows his chanties, why does he have to throw in Dana's titles?

In the continuation of the passage, he uses the term 'chantey'. Had that spelling turned up yet?

//
But the lack of variety is no obstruction to the sailor's
poetical inspiration when he wants the " old man" to know
his private opinions without expressing them to his face, and
so the same "chantey," as the windlass or halliard chorus is
called, furnishes the music to as many various indignant
remonstrances as Jack can find injuries to sing about.
//


Finally, he quotes the Salt Horse rhyme:

//
The provisions have for years been a sore subject with the sailor.
His beef and pork have earned more abuse from him than any
other thing he goes to sea with. " What's for dinner to-day,
Bill ? " I remember hearing a sailor ask another. " Measles,"
was the answer, that being the man's name for the pork aboard
his vessel. " Old horse," is the sailor's term for his salt beef;
and some old rhymes perhaps explain the reason :—

"Between the main-mast and the pumps
There stands a cask of Irish junks;
And if you won't believe it true,
Look, and you'll see the hoof and shoe.
Salt horse, salt horse, what brought you here,
After carrying turf for so many a year,
From Bantry Bay to Ballyack,
Where you fell down and broke your back ?
With kicks, and thumps, and sore abuse,
You're salted down for sailor's use.
They eat your flesh and pick your bones,
Then throw you over to Davy Jones."
//


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 05:09 PM

Russell has a story in Longman's Magazine Vol. 3 (Nov. 1883), called "Jack's Courtship."

//
Miss Hawke then somewhat bashfully asked if I would sing. (What! before ladies, thought I. Never!) I told her that my knowledge of music did not enable me to reach to anything higher than a windlass chorus.

'Then give us one of the old chanteys,' exclaimed my uncle. "Haul the Bowline," or "Whiskey, Johnny," or " Run, let the Bulljine run." Why, the mere sound of those old songs takes me back forty years, and I seem to be standing in the lee scuppers up to my neck, or holding on with my eyelids as I try to roll up the foreroyal single-handed.'
//

He adds BOWLINE to his repertoire. Still "chantey". Must have changed it to "chanty" later on.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 05:18 PM

Russell's 1888 collection THE MYSTERY OF THE 'OCEAN STAR' has a version of his "Old Naval Songs" article above-- presumable collected in this volume. It's called "The Old Naval Sea-song." The chanty-related passage is the same. The preface is dated July 1888.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 05:52 PM

Russell again discusses sailor's songs in his THE ROMANCE OF JENNY HARLOWE (1889). This time, however, he is more opinionated.

//
In fact, there are two distinct sorts of sailors' songs, compositions of which only a very few indeed are sung by sailors, and compositions which nobody but sailors ever dream of singing. These last are well worthy of brief consideration. Some reckless modern has hurled the execrable term "chanty" at them, and the word, I am sorry to say, has stuck. I suppose the etymology of it must be sought in the French verb chanter. The "chanty," as it is now the custom to call it—pronounced "shanty," I believe, but I am very unwilling to have anything to do with it—is the modern generic appellation of the mariner's working song or chorus. It may be presumed that there is no landsman who needs to be told that when sailors heave upon a windlass, or wind round a capstan, or haul upon ropes, one of them will break into a song, which the rest at regular intervals pick up in a rousing chorus. These are Jack's working songs, and they are to be heard only on board ship.
//

Ouch! OK then, he really never heard 'chanty'! Still again -- I wonder where he first heard it. Has it been 'hurled' at sailors or landsmen by these 'moderns'?

//
The words of these compositions might make the exclusiveness intelligible were it not that some of the melodies are so pretty, so plaintive, so catching, so full of the salt aromas of the deep, as to make one wonder that they should not long ago have found their way ashore, fitted to words more proper for the drawing-room and the concert hall, than Jack's rhymes to them. Such airs as "Across the Western Ocean," "The Plains of Mexico," "Yon rolling River," "Blow, Boys, Blow," and a few others—not many, I admit—harmonized by an able musician, and associated with good poetry, should scarcely fail, I think, to captivate the shore-going ear, and hold to it with scarcely less tenacity than may be witnessed in its adherence to maritime memory and sympathy.
//

He has added SHENANDOAH and BLOW BOYS BLOW to his list.

I wonder if he read Adam's ROCKET of 1879. Lots of similarities in their expositions.

More on American origin of shanties:

//
I think it may be taken that we owe the sailors' working song as we now possess it to the Americans. How far do these songs date back ? I doubt if the most ancient amongst them is much older than the century. It is noteworthy that the old voyagers do not hint at the sailors singing out or encouraging their efforts by choruses when at work. In the navy, of course, this sort of song was never permitted. Work proceeded to the strains of a fiddle, to the piping of the boatswain and his mates, or in earlier times yet, to the trumpet. The working song then is peculiar to the Merchant Service, but one may hunt through the old chronicles without encountering a suggestion of its existence prior ot American independence and to the establishment of a Yankee marine. It is at least certain that the flavour of many of these songs is distinctly Transatlantic. The melodies it might be impossible to trace. Just as " Yankee Doodle " is an old English air Americanized by the inspirations of the Yankee poet, so there may be many an old tune that owed its existence to British brains appropriated by the Boston and New York lyrists, and fitted to words so racy of the soil as to render the whole production as entirely Yankee to the fancy as are the stripes and stars or the cotton white canvas of the ships of the States.
//

Attesting that despite steam, chanteys are still current:

//
But the working chorus takes a distinctive character when you think of it in reference to the small crew of a merchantman. Captains and mates so well understand the heartening influence of the song upon the sailor's toil, that half the official rhetoric of the forecastle and the quarter-deck is formed of entreaties to tbe men to sing out; to " Sing and make a noise, boys ! " To " Heave and pawl! " To " Heave and raise the dead ! " To " Sing to it, lads; sing to it!" A new song will sometimes be as good as a couple of new men to a ship's forecastle; hence in the merchant service sailors' songs, in the strict sense of the expression, are of incalculable value. To be sure in these days steam and patent machinery have diminished something of the obligation of these chants. A donkey engine does its work without a chorus; it needs not a fiddler to set a steam capstan revolving. But the manual windlass is still plentiful, the capstan bar of our forefathers is not yet out of date, though the single topsail is halved there is yet the upper yard to masthead; and these, with a hundred other jobs to be done aboard a sailing ship, keep the sailors' sea-song actively current.
//

Next he quotes from THE QUID (1832):

//
An old sailor recalls with a sigh the heaving of the capstan of his day. " It is one of the many soul-stirring scenes," he says, " that occur on board when all hands are turned up ; the motley group that man the bars, the fiddler stuck in a corner, the captain on the poop, encouraging the men to those desperate efforts that seem to the novice an attempt at pulling up the rocks by the root. It is a time of equality; idlers, stewards and servants, barbers and sweepers, cooks and cooks' mates, doctors' mates and loblolly boys; every man runs the same road, and hard and impenetrable is that soul that does not chime in with the old ditties, 'Pull away now, my Nancy O!' and the long ' Oh !' that precedes the more musical strain of—
" ' Oh, her love is a sailor,
His name is Jemmy Taylor;
He's gone in a whaler
To Hie Greenland Sea.'

" Or—
" Oh! if I had her,
Eh, then, if I had her,
Oh ! how I could love her,
Black although she be!'"
//

On improvisation, variability:

//
The sailor's trick of improvising furnishes a very varied character to his working songs. A man having exhausted all the rhymes he knows, with a good deal of pulling and hauling still remaining, will often venture upon a doggerel of his own instead of repeating what he has already said. "Words of certain songs have indeed a permanency, but I doubt if it would be possible to express the peculiar nature of the sailors' working songs, by printing the verses which are supposed to accompany the airs. Words are varied again and again; line after line is made up on the instant; the reader may reject with confidence any collection that is offered to him as samples of the poetry which Jack roars out when he heaves or drags. In truth, but a very little of the real thing would bear the light of day.
//

Lastly, he claims to be very familiar with shanties first hand. OK, I'll buy it. Funny thay he never prints any verses though.

//
I remember a lady writing to ask me to assist her in forming a collection of the sailors' working songs, and I could not help thinking that if by Jack's songs she meant the "chanties," as they are now called, she would be starting on a quest which I might expect to hear in a very little time she had relinquished with a hot face and a shocked heart. No, the mariner is not very choice in his language. His working ditties are a little too strong for print, on the whole. The few examples I have seen in type are Bowdlerized out of knowledge. He may have reformed in this matter of late years; he may sing nothing to-day that is not virginal in purity; but in my time—and it is not so very long ago either—his working choruses reeking with forecastle fancies, were as full of the unrepeatable and the unprintable as his biscuit was of weevils. In sea stories, however, the sailors' working song is seldom or never given. Dana will speak of the crew having struck up such and such an air—"Cheerily, Men," or "Heave to the Girls," or "Tally hi ho, you know," but he confines his reference to the titles.
//


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Lighter
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 07:33 PM

The 1889 passages are especially interesting. I'd almost bet that the lady who asked Russell's assistance was L. A. Smith, ca1883.

The reference to Dana makes it pretty clear that he knows those shanties by title only. I'm not surprised that he offers no words.
He obviously doesn't think much of them, and he may not remember them very clearly. He hadn't been at sea for nearly 25 years, and as far as we know he was never a shantyman himself; so the words he'd memorized would have mostly been the choruses. It is also possible that

1. the shantymen he'd known were so vulgar (by Victorian standards) that he'd have felt uncomfortable quoting anything they sang. A serious Victorian frowned on any reference to getting drunk or disorderly, any use of the word "damn" or "bloody," any suggestion of hanky-panky, and perhaps even on a song like "Sally Brown," in praise of a mulatto woman. Minstrel-type lyrics were simply foolishness (Whall pretty much says that's how he felt.) "Uplift" was the watchword.

2. the shantymen he'd known extemporized so freely and unpoetically that the words were just too dull to quote

3. he knew that the inoffensive stanzas floated so freely from song to song that he didn't feel they belonged to any one shanty and so would not be "representative" of any particular song

4. Russell's editor thought that it would be a waste of space to quote doggerel, particularly since the books of L. A. Smith and Davis & Tozier were now available.

Altogether, I don't see anything disingenuous about Russell's failure to quote lyrics, though of course it's disappointing. My guess is that he didn't pay much attention to the shanties in the first place except for the melodies. I'll also guess that the shanties he mentions (except probably those mentioned by Dana) were the most widely sung in his experience.

The "reckless modern" had "hurled" the name not at the sailors or the landsmen but at the songs themselves. "Them" must refer to "these last," which refers to the songs.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 08:56 PM

The "reckless modern" had "hurled" the name not at the sailors or the landsmen but at the songs themselves. "Them" must refer to "these last," which refers to the songs.

Grammatically, sure. But the question I am getting at is who was using the word 'chanty,' and what exactly is he alleging? Did the agent who introduced the word (i.e. in his imagination of it) come from among sailors or from among literateurs? Were sailors using a word that had become trendy among outsiders and then put into their vocabulary? Or does he believe sailors began using the word natively among themselves? If the latter, why so much disdain for the sailors' own language? What could he possibly think was their motivation to adopt the term or for someone among them to introduce it?

I am mainly using Russell as a foil here. His statements remind me of the yet unanswered issue of how/why/when the term 'chanty' came about -- the answer to which, of course, would help show from who/where they came.

The cotton-stowers and stevedores in many ports had the term "chantyman' or 'chanty" with them. There is a notable association with African-Americans, but it is not necessarilly the case that most were. Use of chanties (by whatever name) seems to have become common on ships (qualified by nationality, geography) by the Gold Rush. Assuming there is at least some significant relationship between the African-Americans' worksong practice and later shipboard practices...Did the term 'chanty' not come with the songs? Was it that the songs mostly came, and that only some 'deep' in-the-know would refer to them as 'chanty'? And if, for some time, the practice of these songs went on without most people calling them chanties, when/why did the term finally gain prominence? What would it come to prominence so long *after* the adoption of the practice?


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 11:52 PM

One last (?) statement by WC Russell comes in an essay called "A Claim for American Literature" in THE NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW, Feb. 1892.

It shows his high regard for Dana.

He puts his American origins of chanties idea down in an even more positive fashion than previously.

//
However, I will not here assert that the Americans have taught us any particular lesson in the direction of forecastle fare. They invented the double topsail yards ; they invented the "chanty," the inspiring choruses of the windlass and the capstan, such hurricane airs as "Across the Western Ocean," " Run, Let the Bulljine Run!" " Shanadoah," " Old Stormy," " Bully in the Alley," " Cheerily, Men !" and scores besides ; they were the first to lighten the sailor's labor by bidding him lift up his voice when he hove or shoved ; they-imported into their commercial marine fifty useful time- and labor-saving ingenuities, all which we on our side, blind with the scaly salt of centimes of dogged seagoing, were very slow to see, to apprehend, and to apply. But the imaginations, the inventions, of the American nautical mind seemed to have come to a stand at the Sign of the Harness Cask.
//

He adds "Old Stormy" -- which I will attempt to class under the keyword I've been using, WALK HIM ALONG -- and "Bully in the Alley" to his named shanties.

The title "Old Stormy" appeared as such in Nordhoff but nowhere else that I can see. BULLY IN ALLEY occurred only once so far, in a book by Mulford in 1889. Russell doesn't mention that title in his writings prior to 1889 but now he adds it to his list. Whereas one could argue that Rio Grande and Bowline and Whiskey Johnny were commonly known, Bully in the Alley being mentioned here raises my eyebrow. It is entirely possible that he mentions it independently but... there still remains an issue for my purposes at least. Which is that if this is an independent mention then I want to record it as such, while if Russell is for some reason just mentioning previously-mentioned songs (regardless of his own experiences) then it messes with my data....damnit!

In any case, these Russell examples are great because they show an Englishman, at the cap (?) of the shanty era stating his belief that szanties were American creations...which we can then compare to the growing belief in the 20th century that shanteys were essentially British.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 14 Nov 10 - 01:00 AM

This reference comes via Q, who posted it 28 Jun 09 on the "Rare Caribbean" thread.I am taking the liberty of copy-pasting it because it has all the information.

Robert C. Leslie, in "Old Sea Wings, Ways and Words in the Days of Oak and Hemp," , London, 1890, Chapman and Hall Ltd., describes the sailing of an American Black X ship from St. Katherine's Docks, bound for New York, p. 233: "Yankee seamen (almost an extinct race now) were then noted for their capstan chants, and the chorus of "Good Morning, Ladies All," swells quaintly up at intervals above the other sounds."" [Leslie was speaking of the 1880s]

So, GOOD MORNING LADIES, which was also mentioned as a capstan chantey in 1868 ONCE A WEEK article.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 14 Nov 10 - 01:49 AM

In another work of historical fiction, Elijah Kellogg sets a scene of Black men at work in Portland (ME) using chanties. Like in his other works, the shanties (at least in my opinion) look like they were based in some existing songs. The book is A STRONG ARM AND A MOTHER'S BLESSING, published 1881.

Stevedores are unloading casks of molasses (by means of hoisting with rope) to make way for lumber. We are expecting either a halyard-like action or else a hand-over-hand.

//
Shepard, a tall, intelligent-looking mulatto, covered with molasses from head to foot, took his place at the hatchway, and the stevedore cried :

"Come, Bob Craig, call de mourners, strike de music, short song, my bullies, short song; we've lost much time dis mornin', and de brig must be discharged to-night."

Thus exhorted, Craig, a very tall, sinewy negro, black as night, opened a mouth so capacious that it resembled an old-fashioned fall-back chaise, but the voice that issued from this cavern, though of tremendous volume, was sweet and well modulated. The words were silly enough, but the time was perfect, — and this accomplishes the object of the song, which is to cause every man to lay out his strength at the same instant; it also excites the negro to such a degree that while singing he is scarcely conscious of fatigue. Craig, obeying the command of the stevedore, proceeded to "call de mourners," standing on a plank placed across the hatchway that elevated his tall form far above the rest.

"Born in a frying-pan, raised on a shovel,
Tidee-i-dee ah, tidee-i-dee ah ;
Way down south among de corn and de cotton,
Tidee-i-dee ah, tidee-i-dee ah,
Dere I growed to be such a coal-black darky,
   Tidee-i-dee ah, tidee-i-dee ah."

The other blacks giving the chorus.
//

I can't place it. Thought about "Tiddy High O," but it doesnt fit Hugill's version.

//
Under the stimulus of this quick time six casks came up in a hurry, when Craig struck up :

"Gen'ral Jackson's a fightin'-man,
    Fire, my ringo, fire away;
He opened his forts, fired away,
    Fire, my ringo, fire away."
//

MARINGO!

The following exchange underscores the idea of the chantyman as a singer who doesnt work. In his ARK OF ELM ISLAND (1869), Kellogg also refers, as if to an actual event, to this "Old Craig" singing while hoisting molasses from the brig WILLIAM in Portland. Is he reusing his ideas here? It's not unreasonable to think that Kellogg did see something like this "many years" before 1869, however we can't place the shanties.

//
"Dat's fust-rate song," cried the stevedore, delighted. He then said to Arthur:

"Dat big man what gives de song — dat's Bob Craig; no man like him eber I see ; I give him most wages. I've knowed Massa Jake Knights give hitn nine shillings a day, 'cause he 'fraid somebody else hire him, and Craig neber touch his hand to de rope, but stand at de rail, and sing, and beat de time with two belayin' pins."

"I don't see why he paid him for singing if he didn't work."

"Paid him 'cause he made de rest work — paid for de sing; black man no like a white man, song stir him all up ; no song, he lazy, no do nothin'; give him good song, den he throw himself."
//

And one more song:

//
One of the negroes now cried :
" Dis song too quick, Jack Groves; men no get dere breath ; must have longer song."
" Stick to it, bullies; three more casks, den have longer song."
After hoisting three more casks, Craig began another ditty.

"My name is Johnny-jump-round,
And every person knock down,
Ho, ho, Highland a'!
Round de corner Sally,

My breast is made of steel-plate,
My arms are made of crowbars,
Ho, ho, etc.

And if you don't believe me,
I'll give you leave to try me,
   Ho, ho, etc."

[line breaks are mine]
//


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 14 Nov 10 - 02:02 AM

And here's more from Kellogg.

//
The importance of the negro stevedores and seamen gradually diminished with the decay of the West India trade. But the first severe blow was inflicted in 1833, when the brig Oscar, belonging to Jacob Knight, a prominent West India merchant, came into Boston with a cargo of molasses. Mr. Knight took his blacks and went to Boston to discharge the vessel, and bring her back to Portland. He took a large crew of the smartest negroes, first-rate hoisters and singers, with the tackles and other gear, and Robert Craig for leading singer, with the two Shapleigh's, Isaiah Thomas, Young, Jere Brown, and Stewart, a man of enormous bulk and lungs in proportion. The derrick was raised, the gear rove, and Craig commenced his favorite song:

"Crow, crow; why don't you crow?"

in tones that were distinctly heard in South Boston, East Boston, and over the entire peninsula, while the rest of the crew resolved to show the Boston people how it was done, put in a fearful chorus of

"John, Johnnie Crow is a dandy, O."

In half an hour there were five thousand people on the wharf, and the vessel's rigging was filled with boys and loafers from the leading-blocks to the cross-trees.

Some one bent on mischief raised the cry of fire; the Old South bell rang; the firemen turned out, and rushed wildly about to find the fire, for there was no smoke visible, and no fire telegraph then. At length the police were summoned to disperse the crowd and stop the noise, and to their infinite disgust the negroes were forbidden to sing, upon which they refused to work, when the matter was compromised by their being permitted to sing in a low tone, with a policeman on the quarter-deck to enforce the order. Craig avenged himself and his mates by lampooning the policeman in his song, and most of the time sung a mournful ditty, the chorus of which was:

"Poor old man."

In the mean time Knight went among the shipping, and found cargoes there were discharged with a winch, that this required less men, and more work could be done in the same time for less money. He therefore bought a winch (windlass turned by cranks) and brought it home in the brig. The negroes would have nothing to do with it, because they could have no song, for this machine did not admit of it. There was neither poetry, music, nor pleasant associations connected with turning a crank, and the Irish filled their places; the lumber was cut off; the negroes gradually disappeared and sought other employments, and the entire course of trade changed.
//

Kellogg made a similar claim about the winch in his 1869 work.

1833 was during the time that Kellogg was at sea. I'm beginning to think this stuff has basis in fact in which case Kellogg's observations would really give some insight to *early* work-singing.

More facts could be checked. Here's the link to the book.

http://books.google.com/books?id=QksqAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA151&dq=negro+sing+%22fire+awa


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 14 Nov 10 - 04:06 AM

A reference to shantying probably in the 1870s (after the Civil War but no later than 1881) is the following, introduced by John Minear in the "Sydney" thread thus:

Here is another one of those very interesting references in which the events are not dated. My sense is that this is from the 1870s. The book is FORE AND AFT: A STORY OF ACTUAL SEA LIFE, by Robert Brewer Dixon, in which he describes a voyage from New York to Vera Cruz, Mexico, on the "brig Elizabeth." The book was published in 1883. I have tried to locate information on the brig "Elizabeth", but there apparently were several of them dating back to the time of the American Revolution. I couldn't pin it down. The same was true with "Captain Bradley". There was a Robert Brewer Dixon who became a prominent physician in boston. He studied for his MD at Harvard from 1876-79. It is likely that this is the same person, in which case, these events at sea probably happened prior to his time at Harvard. He mentions in his first chapter that he has been at school at "Chauncy-hall School, Boston, and was at home on my summer vacation..." (p.2)

The shanty passages are as follows.

When leaving NY:

//
The pawls of the windlass rattled merrily to "Shanandore, I love your daughter," led by our "shanty-man," the crew coming in on the chorus of "Hurrah, you rollin' river!"
...
The top-sail sheets were hauled taut and "bowsed down;" the halyards were then run through a snatch-block, manned by all hands; and, with another song from our "shanty-man," the yard was "mast-headed," and the sail filled with the breeze.
//

SHENANDOAH at the brake windlass, and a reference to halyard chanties.


In Vera Cruz, Mexico, cargo is being discharged a a group of stevedores -- no Americans among them -- as described herein. The work involves a pulling action.

//
Some of the logs were monsters, ten of them weighing nearly six tons each; these were about fifteen feet in length, and nearly four feet square, and required a large and powerful purchase to get them over the rail and into the hold without accident. The winch was not strong enough to lift them, so the purchase had to be taken to the windlass.

Some of the "shanty" songs, which the stevedore's crew sang as they hove in and stowed away the logs, were highly interesting and melodious. The "shanty-man" was a large, powerfully built Portuguese, who had charge of the work. He would lead off in a song; and the rest of the gang would come in on the chorus, all pulling at the same time, as the word or sign was given in the song. All of the men were Mexicans, except the Portuguese, and a young Swedish sailor who had left his vessel, and had since" been living on shore, working for the stevedore.
//

//
There is a great deal of melody in these sailorsongs, and a good "shanty-man" has at least fifty songs in his repertoire. One of the most spirited " pulling-songs " was the " Bowline," a favorite with the men, constantly called for when a log refused to move; and almost continually the echoing chorus of this or some other equally pleasing song resounded through the hatchway while the cargo was stowing.

We'll haul the bowline so early in the morning;
(Chorus.) We'll haul the bowline, the bowline haul!
[w/ musical score]

"Rosa," another "pulling-song," undoubtedly of negro origin, was a favorite of mine.

Oh ! Rosa in the garden, hanging out clothes
(Chorus.) Stand below you coal black rose.
[w/ music]
//

So, BOWLINE and COAL BLACK ROSE mentioned for the first time. The melody is different than the one supplied by Hugill.

//
"Pulling-songs" should have but one chorus, while windlass-songs invariably have two. One of the widest-known and most melodious of all windlass-songs is " Shanandore." This is also of negro origin: as now sung, the wording is changed almost entirely, but the original air remains.

For seven long years I courted Sally.
Hurrah, you rollin' river!
I courted Sally down in yon valley
Ah, ha! I'm bound away on the wild Missouri.
[w/ music]
//

SHENANDOAH again. When he says "as now sung," I understand it to me that he believes the "Shanadore, I love your daughter" version (i.e. as opposed to a Sally Brown version) is the the altered form, which the sailors (as opposed to these stevedores) sing.

//
These few are enough to give an idea of sailor-songs. The Portuguese had a good voice for "shanty " singing, and his clear tones would ring out with the line of the song; while the men, catching up the air, would come in heartily on the chorus, and give a quick strong pull at the proper time. It was remarkable to see, when a song was started up, how quickly the men would move a heavy log that before they could not stir. The song not only inspired them with vim and enthusiasm, but gave them the time for pulling all together.
//

FWIW, "shanty" continues to be used in quotes.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 14 Nov 10 - 04:26 AM

and, from Dixon:

//
The following morning, Sept. 18, all hands were called at daybreak; and the windlass was manned, and the anchor hove short, to " Lowlands," the wildest and most weird of all sailor-songs, led by the second mate.
//

LOWLANDS AWAY


Dixon's lyrics and tunes compare well with RC Adams' (1879).


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 14 Nov 10 - 04:39 AM

This collection of STUDENTS' SONGS (13th edition, ed. W.H. Hills, 1887) has a parody version of RIO GRANDE. It is by Hills and copyrighted 1881. Just goes to show how well known the chanty must have been by then.

http://books.google.com/books?id=U68QAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA34&dq=%22heave+away%22&lr=&as


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 14 Nov 10 - 05:21 AM

The March 5, 1887 issue of CHAMBERS'S JOURNAL contains an unsigned article about a trip to North Bimini (Bahamas) at the end of 1881. The travelers meet with some boat rowers, who sing a work song:

//
One of the large island boats, rowed by twelve stout blacks, took us the three miles to the landing-place, as, though we were only about two miles from the island then, we had to circumnavigate the reef which projects across the narrow strait dividing North from South Bemini, and which strait, sheltered by the reef, forms a most excellent harbour for the schooners and smaller craft of the island. These black rowers then started a chant, of a more Anglican than Gregorian tone, the music of which was prettier than the words, though this is not high praise, the words being:

Oh, I wish I was in Mobile Bay—
   Sally, get round the corner;
Loading cotton all the day—
   Sally, get round the corner;
//

This reads like a passage from the 1830s! Funny that the author doesn't connect this 'chant' to 'chanties,' but I suppose s/he didnt have the experience.

Is this ROUND THE CORNER SALLY?


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 14 Nov 10 - 06:14 AM

I take back what I said about Dixon. Looks like his stuff, and some of his ideas are from Alden's 1882 article (not yet dissected in this thread), which would have just come out recently before. He even talks about "Lowlands" as the "wildest" chanty, like Alden, and uses Alden's "shanty-man." And he refers to two versions of Shenandoah in the same way. The tunes are the same as Alden.

The exception is Coal Black Rose. I don't know where that came from.

Also -- Comparing Russell's work to Alden, his titling is conspicuously similar. "Across the Western Ocean" had not been mentioned until Alden. "Plains of Mexico". Russell and Alden have "bound TO the Rio Grande," where elsewhere it is "for." Use of the title "Old Stormy."

The unique phrases in Russell so far are 'Run, let the Bulljine, run!' and "I served my time in the Blackwall Line". I am skeptical of the rest, and I won't include it in any tally.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 14 Nov 10 - 05:07 PM

Going back a bit, here is relevant reference to non-maritime work-singing. RH Dana evidently took a trip to Cuba in Feb. of 1859, and the result is his travelogue, TO CUBA AND BACK (1859). At one point he visits a sugar plantation and observes the round-the-clock slavery of converting the cane into raw sugar. Here is is description of the singing.

//
The smell of juice and of sugarvapor, in all its stages, is intense. The negroes fatten on it. The clank of the engine, the steady grind of the machines, and the high, wild cry of the negroes at the caldrons to the stokers at the furnace doors, as they chant out their directions or wants—now for more fire, and now to scatter the fire—which must be heard above the din, "A-a-b'la! A-a-b'la!'" "E-e-cha candela!" "Pu-er-ta!", and the barbaric African chant and chorus of the gang at work filling the cane-troughs ;—all these make the first visit at the sugar-house a strange experience. But after one or two visits, the monotony is as tiresome as the first view is exciting. There is, literally, no change in the work There are the same noises of the machines, the same cries from negroes at the same spots, the same intensely sweet smell, the same state of the work in all its stages, at whatever hour you visit it, whether in the morning, or evening, at midnight, or at the dawn of the day. If you wake up at night, you hear the "A-a-b'la A-a-b'la!" "E-e-cha! E-e-cha!" of the caldron-men crying to the stokers, and the high, monotonous chant of the gangs filling the wagons or the trough, a short, improvisated stave, and then the chorus;—not a tune, like the song of sailors at the tackles and falls but a barbaric, tuneless intonation.
//

In 1859, Dana is still using his terminology of "song at tackles and falls". I wonder if, while away from sea, his vocabulary has been updated or not. Probably not, and it's not surprising he doesnt say "chanty."

But what is more deserving of careful thought: He says that these short, improvisated [intoned] staves, followed by chorus were *not* like the sailors' songs. Well, not like them for their lack of "tune" -- though his definition of "tune" is certainly subjective. One presumes he means that they didnt have much in the way of melodic leaps and they had a very narrow ambit, though they were still tunes at some level if ~intoned~. I think what he is saying is fairly clear, but I do wonder if he is comparing this to the "songs at the tackles and falls" of *his* day -- remembering that we are unclear what the songs/chanties were like in his day.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 14 Nov 10 - 10:37 PM

It's come time....*drumroll*....to break out the source that may be "ground zero" for much of what is now contained in the shantying collections. It is Alden's July 1882 article in HARPER'S MONTHLY MAGAZINE, "Sailor Songs." It has been mused over quite a bit in the Sydney/Frisco thread. Now to look at its details in relation to what came before it and to see if it indicates anything about the trajectory of chanty development.

Before starting, I will include Jon Lighter's sketch/remarks on Alden, back from Ja. 2010, for easy reference:

Born in Williamstown, Mass., William Livingston Alden (1837-1908) was just old enough to have learned his shanties in the 1850s, but neither _Who's Who_ nor his obituary in the N.Y. Times suggests that he took a sea voyage before 1885, when he was appointed U.S. Consul- General in Rome by Pres. Cleveland. He held the post till 1889.

Wiki warning: Despite the authoritative sources, Wikipedia's brief bio claims he held the office of Consul-General for the rest of his life - another indication of Wikipedia's unreliability. (If they could get that wrong....) What he did do was to remain in Europe, living in Paris and London while writing professionally.

Alden practiced law during the Civil War, then became a journalist and editorial writer. He wrote humorous editorials for the Times for
a number of years, and was well known for his books for young people and a biography of Columbus. He helped introduce sport canoeing to the United States in the early 1870s.

Unfortunately, we know nothing about when Alden learned his shanties. His Harper's article suggests that he'd heard them sung often - quite possible for an interested journalist living in New York City.

On the other hand, he didn't move to NYC, apparently, till the 1860s.
Until then, all his residences seem to have been landlocked.

It seems as though "thirty years ago" was a literary device and that none of Alden's shanties can be dated that far back on the basis of his 1882 article.


And a warning: I'm keeping my skeptic's / Devil's-advocate's hat on for now. This is the first focused article on chanteying after the similar 1868 and 1869 articles from ONCE A WEEK / CHAMBERS'S. I expect to see some correspondences.

ok...


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 14 Nov 10 - 11:08 PM

Alden, 1882, cont.

He begins by speaking of the decline of sailors, and thus their songs. He presents it as a salvaging project. This is very different from the tone of previous articles. As I can see, only Adams, so far, has made a comment about steam's effect on things, and even he (3 years earlier) says that chanties are still going along well. Perhaps we can begin to see the early 1880s as the "beginning of the end" for chanties.

//
Let us, then, in the interest of archaeological science, make an effort to preserve the memory of his songs before the last man who heard them, and can give testimony in regard to them, is gone.

The present race of marine brakemen who form the crews of steam vessels can not sing. There is but one solitary song that is ever heard on board a steam-ship, and that one belongs to the least artistic class of sailor songs. The "shanty-man"— the chorister of the old packet ship—has left no successors. In the place of a rousing "pulling song," we now hear the rattle of the steam-winch; and the modern windlass worked by steam, or the modern steam-pump, gives us the clatter of cogwheels and the hiss of steam in place of the wild choruses of other days. Singing and steam are irreconcilable. The hoarse steam-whistle is the nearest approach to music that can exist in the hot, greasy atmosphere of the steam-engine.
//

Alden was first to use the orthography "shanty-man."

He reinforces the idea of Black origins of chanties, which seems to be tied up with this consistent idea that they (or their melodies) are "wild." Funny that he thinks Emmett's minstrel songs were so evocative of "African melodies." I suppose nowadays we are so accustomed to these musical forms as "American" or even global popular music style that they don't stand in such contrast to supposed "non-African" melodies.

He says other chanties were the work of English sailors, but cites only CHEERLY. This is important because, as we have documented, "Cheerly" seems to have been one of the very early chanties that existed, at least as I allege, before an influx of African-American songs to the trade that exploded the genre.

//
The old sailor songs had a peculiar individuality. They were barbaric in their wild melody. The only songs that in any way resemble them in character are "Dixie," and two or three other so-called negro songs by the same writer. This man, known in the minstrel profession as "Old Emmett," caught the true spirit of the African melodies—the lawless, halfmournful, half-exulting songs of the Kroomen. These and the sailor songs could never have been the songs of civilized men. They breathe the wild freedom of the jungle, and are as elusive as the furrow left by a ship on the trackless ocean.

Undoubtedly many sailor songs have a negro origin. They are the reminiscences of melodies sung by negroes stowing cotton in the holds of ships in Southern ports. The "shanty-men," those hards of the forecastle, have preserved to some extent the meaningless words of negro choruses, and have modified the melodies so as to fit them for salt-water purposes. Certain other songs were unmistakably the work of English sailors of an uncertain but very remote period. Of these the once famous " Cheerly, men," is a typical specimen. They were, however, frowned upon on board American ships because of their English origin, and no American crew would ever ape the customs prevailing under the flag of an effete monarchy by singing "Cheerly, men."
//

Of course, he is wrong about "Cheerly" in American ships. Perhaps this is a clue about what he *hasnt* read.

Next, basic features of the genre that ring true today. The emphasis on variability and improvisation remains.

//
Sailor songs may be divided into two classes—pulling songs and windlass songs. The former were used merely to aid the men, when pulling on a rope, to pull at the same precise instant. The latter were intended to beguile the men, while getting up the anchor or working the pumps, into temporary forgetfulness of their prosaic labor. As might be expected, the latter are much the more elaborate and pretentious. The one class, however, passes into the other by subtle gradations. There are pulling songs which approach so closely the structure of windlass songs that they were sometimes made to do duty at the windlass or the puinp by shanty-men whose artistic consciences were somewhat dull.
All sailor songs consist of one or more lines sung by the shanty-man alone, and one or two lines sung by the men in chorus. Windlass songs always have two choruses, while pulling songs should have but one. The choruses are invariable. They are the fixed and determinating quantities of each song, while the lines sung by the shanty-man were left in a measure to his discretion. It is true that custom wedded certain lines to certain songs, but the shanty-man was always at liberty to improvise at his own pleasure. He was also permitted to slightly vary the melody of his part, and the accomplished shanty-man was master of certain tricks of vocalization which can not be reproduced in print, but which contributed vastly to the effectiveness of his sinking. Those who have heard Irma Marie in Barbe Bleu may remember that in some of her songs, notably in the first act, she had a trick of slurring from a note in her proper register to another in her head voice. This was one of the favorite mannerisms of the shanty-man.
//

Some mention at the end of vocal technique. To my mind, this sounds like normal scooping or gliding in singing that any non-classical singer would do unconsciously today?


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 14 Nov 10 - 11:13 PM

I forgot to mention that the inclusion of music notation in Alden makes it the first collection to have that (after Adam's briefer exposition, also with musical examples). It does a lot to add to the originality of the article.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 14 Nov 10 - 11:42 PM

//
Let us suppose ourselves on board a Liverpool packet thirty years ago. The maintopsail has just been reefed, and the men are vainly trying to hoist the heavy yard, which refuses to move. Presently some one says, "Oh, give us the 'Bowline,'" whereupon the shanty-man's sharp clear voice is heard, the men join in the chorus, and as they sing the last syllable they haul on the halyards, and the stubborn yard yields. Verse follows verse until the yard is up, and the virtue of the pulling song has been vindicated. This is the "Bowline," one of the purest of generic pulling songs:

We'll haul the bowline so early in the morning,
(Chorus) We'll haul the bowline, the bowline haul!
[w/ score, throughout]

Another pulling song of almost equal popularity in old days was the following one:

Way, haul away, haul away, my Josie.
Way, haul away, haul away, Joe.

These have, as is seen, but a single chorus. Their purely nautical origin is manifest and they are undoubtably very old.
//

SO he begins with the same two sheets shanties (though not identical forms) as Adams, BOWLINE and HAUL AWAY JOE. He attributes "Bowline" to raising a yard, which is a plausible use -- momentarily if it gets stuck -- but not typical.

The melodies for these here and as given in Adams are, to my mind, conspicuously similar. Sure, they didnt vary much perhaps, but my intuition is telling me to wonder.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 15 Nov 10 - 12:13 AM

Next he mentions halyard shanties.

//
Closely resembling them, but nevertheless advancing a step in the direction of windlass songs, were those pulling songs which consisted of four lines instead of two, the words of both the choruses being the same, but the melody of each being different. Of these the two following were often heard:

I'm bound away to leave you
Good-by, my love, good-by
I never will deceive you
Good-by, my love, good-by...

Come get my clothes in order
Shallow, Shallow, Brown.
The packet sails tomorrow.
Shallow, Shallow, Brown.

Finally there were pulling songs with a double chorus, each chorus differing both in words and melody from the other. These were in structure precisely the same as the windlass songs, but it was very "bad form" to use them except for pulling purposes. It is one of these that is the sole surviving song which steam-ship crews ever use. They would have shown better taste had they chosen for preservation the ballad of Jean Francois, whoever he may have been.

O drive her, captain, drive her!
Way-a-yah!
O drive her, captain, drive her!
To my Johnnie Franswaw.
//

GOODBYE MY LOVE was mentioned once earlier (1877).
This is the first time for SHALLOW BROWN.

BONEY was also in Adams, however he says it referred to Bonaparte (whereas Alden is not positive).

He never mentions "the sole surviving song which steam-ship crews... use". ?? What was it, and what did they use it for?


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 15 Nov 10 - 12:53 AM

Great detail on performance practice! And stringing-out.

//
It was in the windlass songs that the accomplished shanty-man displayed his fullest powers and his daintiest graces. When he began a song, he usually began by singing the first chorus as an announcement of what he expected of the men, who, being thus duly warned, joined in the second chorus. He was always careful to rest his voice while the others were singing, and it was considered the proper thing for him to begin his lines so closely after each chorus as to make his first note a prolongation of the last note of the preceding chorus. His lines were expected to rhyme, but he was prudently economical of them, generally using only one line, repeated twice, for each verse.

One of the best known of the windlass songs was the " Shanandore":

You Shanandore,I long to hear you.
Hurrah, you rollin' river!
You Shanandore, I long to hear you.
Ah, ha, you Shanandore.

This is clearly of negro origin, for the "Shanandore" is evidently the river Shenandoah. In course of time some shanty-man of limited geographical knowledge, not comprehending that the "Shanandore" was a river, but conceiving that the first chorus required explanation, changed the second chorus. Thus the modified song soon lost all trace of the Shenandoah River, and assumed the following form, in which it was known to the last generation of sailors:

For seven long years I courted Sally.
Hurrah, you rollin' river!
I courted Sally down in yon valley.
Ah, ha! I'm bound away on the wild Missouri.
//

I'm going to assume for now that by "windlass" he means "capstan." SHENANDOAH would be awkward at the brake/pump windlass, no?

//
Perhaps the wildest, most mournful, of all sailor songs is "Lowlands." The chorus is even more than usually meaningless, but the song is the sighing of the wind and the throbbing of the restless ocean translated into melody.

I dreamt a dream the other night.
Lowlands, Lowlands, Hurrah, my John.
I dreamt I saw my own true love.
My Lowlands aray.

Much care was evidently given to "Lowlands" by the shanty-men. It has often been improved. In its original form the first chorus was shorter and less striking, and the words of the second chorus were, "My dollar and a half a day." It is to be regretted that no true idea can be given on paper of the wonderful shading which shanty-men of real genius sometimes gave to this song by their subtle and delicate variations of time and expression.
//

It's the first text of LOWLANDS AWAY. (The title was mentioned in 1868.) Note the "aray."


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 15 Nov 10 - 10:13 PM

What is the "aray" supposed to be? A typ-o of "away"? Is it a phonetic rendering of "hurray!" as it would sound coming after the word "lowlands"?

When it appears in later literature, is it pretty safe to assume that those authors have copied Alden? What did *they* think it meant (i.e., why just copy verbatim)?


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Lighter
Date: 15 Nov 10 - 10:39 PM

"Aray" is almost certainly a misprint for "away." At least I've never seen it anywhere else.

If Alden had meant "hurray," he'd have written it.

So yes, I'd say at this point that all later writers must slavishly have copied "aray" from Alden.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 15 Nov 10 - 11:00 PM

//
Of the same general character as " Lowlands," though inferior to it, is the song that was usually known as " Across the Western Ocean." There were, however, several variations of the second chorus, none of which could be called improvements.

I wish I was in London town.
O say where you bound to?
That highway I'd cruise round and round.
Across the western ocean.
//

There were 2 (probable) mentions of ACROSS THE WESTERN OCEAN early, but this is the first to call it by that name, and to supply the music. "Several variations of the chorus" might include Nordhoff's "across the briny ocean."

//
It may be assumed that the predominance of Santa Anna's name in sailor songs is due to the Southern negroes, who still sing songs of which the name of the Mexican general is the burden. We may therefore class the "Plains of Mexico" with those sailor songs which are of African descent.

Did you never hear tell of that general?
Hurrah, you Santy Anna
Did you never hear tell of that general?
All on the plains of Mexico.
//

The first instance of music for SANTIANA.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 03:05 AM

Continuing my logging/break-down of Alden 1882...

We continue with a version of NEW YORK GIRLS.

//
Another Santa Anna song is more unmistakably negro from the fact that the expression "my honey," so common among the negroes of the South, occurs in it. It is a cheerful song, in spite of the painfully mercenary spirit expressed in the second chorus:

As I was lumbering down the streets of bully London town,
I spied a Yankee clipper ship to New York she was bound.
(Cho.) And hurrah, you Santy, my dear honey; Hurrah, you Santy, I love you for your money.
//

Hmm, I really didn't know the phrase "my honey" would tip off an African-American influence. But while we haven't seen NEW YORK GIRLS for sure yet up to this point, we've seen a reference to a Black rowing song from Ohio with similar solo lyrics--though no full semblance of the chanty we know.

Alden goes on to give two different Stormy chanties.

//
"Old Stormy" is a mythical character often mentioned in sailor songs. Who Stormy was, and why he received that evident nickname, even the most profound and learned shanty-men always confessed themselves unable to explain. The oldest of these songs is rather the best of them:

Old Stormy he is dead and gone.
To me way hay storm along, John.
Old Stormy he is dead and gone.
Ah, ha! come along, get along, stormy along, John.

Here is another "Stormy" song that contains a hint of negro origin in the word "massa," and suggests that perhaps the legend of "Stormy" is an African rather than a nautical myth:

Old Stormy he was a bully old man.
To me way you storm along.
Old Stormy he was a bully old man.
Fi-i-i, massa, storm along.
//

As far as I can tell, this is the first time that these *particular* Stormy chanties, what I have been tagging as STORMY ALONG and MR. STORMALONG, are mentioned in literature.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 03:33 AM

continued...

//
Quite as popular as Stormy was another mysterious person--Randso. Of this person it is alleged in an unusually coherent narrative song that "he was no sailor"; that, nevertheless, "he shipped on board of a whaler," and as "he could not do his duty," he was brought to the gangway, where "they gave him nine-and-thirty." Obviously Randso was not a model for sailors.

O Randso was no sailor.
Ah, Randso, boys, ah, Randso.
He shipped on board of a whaler.
Ah, Randso, boys, ah, Randso.
//

It's REUBEN RANZO with the regulation verse.

Then he gives HUCKLEBERRY HUNTING

//
In the following song not only is the mysterious Randso mentioned, but a word of fathomless meaning and of very frequent recurrence in sailor songs is introduced. Perhaps Max Müller could attach some meaning to "hilo," but in that case he would do more than any sailor ever did. It will not do to suggest that it is really two words--"high" and "low." It occurs in too many other songs as an active verb to leave us any room to doubt that to "hilo" was to be, to do, or to suffer something. It can not be gathered from the insufficient data at our command whether or not the act of "hiloing" was commendable in a sailor, but from the frequency with which the fair sex was exhorted in song to ''hilo," it is evident that it was held to be a peculiarly graceful act when executed by a young girl. The syllable "yah" which appears in the first chorus of this song is not necessarily the negro "yah." The best nautical pronunciation gave it a long sound, something like "yaw," whereas the negro, who is popularly believed to remark "yah I yah I" whenever he is amused, really says " yoh! yoh!"

I've just come down from the wildgoose nation.
To me way hay E O yah.
I've left my wife on a big plantatlon.
And sing hilo, me Randso, way.
//

This is there first time it appears as a chanty, though the song is known in minstrelsy since the 1840s.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 03:55 AM

//
In another song, which is chiefly concerned with the celebration of the great deeds of the first Napoleon, we find the expression "hi-lon-day." It has been held by learned nautical commentators that this word should be written ''Allan Dale." It is a good theory, and the only fault to be found with it is the fact that there is not a particle of evidence in support of it. This song departs from the usual pattern of windlass songs in having but one chorus; but that chorus is so elaborate that it fully satisfied the artistic desires of marine vocalists.

O Boney was a warrior.
(Cho) Ah hilonday.
O sigh her up, my yaller gals, a hi, hilonday
//

First appearance of HILONDAY. Note that it is ascribed to capstan use and especially that the entire bit after "warrior" is the chorus. So, the form is diffferent from the hauling form that Hugill later describes.

//
The most pretentious, though not always the most meritorious, of windlass songs were those in which the second chorus was greatly extended, and made in some instances longer than all the rest of the song.
//

He is referring to a 'grand chorus'.

//
Of these there is one in which the chorus rises and swells with the crescendo of the heaving Atlantic swell.

I'll sing you a song of the fish of the sea.
Rolling Rio.
I'll sing you a song of the fish of the sea.
To my Rolling Rio Grande.
Hurrah, you Rio, Rolling Rio.
So fare you well, my bonny young girls,
For I'm bound to the Rio Grande.
//

The by now well documented RIO GRANDE.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 04:17 AM

//
But one sailor song has ever been tamed and made to do land service. The song of the "Railway" was caught by some negro minstrel, and with sundry improvements made to do duty as a comic song on the minstrel stage. It is still occasionally sung by street boys, who fancy that it is an Irish national air.

In eighteen hundred and fifty-three I sailed away beyond the sea.
O! I sailed away to Amerikee
(Cho.) To work upon the railway, the railway.
O! I'm wearied on the railway.
O! poor Paddy works on the railway.
//

Huh! Interesting theory about PADDY ON THE RAILWAY. However, I believe there is a broadside of this about, right? I wonder what evidence he had -- or recent observation -- to claim that the song began as a chanty. Well, we've got references for the chanty to/from the 1860s. Any of the broadsides predate that?


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 04:42 AM

//
It may be imagined that the specimens of sailor songs already given illustrate the highest possible achievements of man in the direction of vocal idiocy. This would be a mistake. There are songs which in elaborate unintelligibility and inanity of chorus are so appalling that it would be unkind to lay them before the sane reader. The following song is bad enough in this respect, but there are others which are infinitely worse. It has, moreover, the redeeming trait of true melody, and was once, perhaps, the most universally popular of its class.

O the wildest packet you can find--
Ah he, ah ho, are you most done?
Is the Marg'ret Evans in the Black X line.
So clear the track, let the bulgine run.
To my high rigajig in a low-back car.
Ah he, ah ho, are you most done?
With Eliza Lee all on my knee.
So clear the track, let the bulgine run.
//

It seems to be the first reference to CLEAR THE TRACK. The only earlier thing that might be related is a corn shucking song, mentioned in 1848 (AMERICAN AGRICULTURALIST, above) called "Clear the track when Sambo come."

//
It is not the purpose of this article to give the entire repertoire of the shantyman. If he was an artist of any real cultivation, he had at least seventy-five songs at his tongue's end. Those which have been given will afford a fair idea of the best of the sailor songs which will bear translation from the windlass to the columns of a magazine. It must be admitted that, in spite of the simplicity and purity of character ascribed to the sailor by novelists, not a few of the songs which he sang were highly objectionable on the score of morality. They were, however, no worse in this respect than the songs which one occasionally hears in the smoking-car of an excursion train, and were decidedly better than certain opera-bouffe songs which some ladies seem to enjoy when the song-writer's indecency is picturesquely illustrated by a clever French-woman. But both the good and the bad songs ceased when the sailor disappeared, and to revive them on the deck of an iron steam-ship would be as impossible as to bring back the Roman trireme.
//

Clearly, Alden knew more chanties than what he has given.

With the end of the article, another lament for the end of sailing ships...and chanties.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 22 Dec 10 - 12:40 AM

I've found the only (???) reference to chantying in the 18th century, so far. It's basically something we've seen, but an earlier version with a much earlier date.

1784[1769]        Falconer, William. An Universal Dictionary of the Marine. New Edition. London: T. Cadell.

Falconer died 1769. He had sailed in British merchant ships from 1748 or '49 through the 1750s. I was not able to access the first, 1769 edition of this, but it seems to have had the same content as the 1784 (he was dead, and it doesn't look to have been revised). The passage is as follows.

From the entry on "WINDLASS":

As this machine it heaved about in a vertical direction, it is evident that the effort of an equal number of men acting upon it will be much more powerful than on the capftern; becaufe their whole weight and ftrength are applied more readily to the end of the lever employed to turn it about. Whereas, in the horizontal movement of the capfrern, the exertion of their force is considerably diminifhed. It requires, however, fome dexterity and addrefs to manage the handfpec to the greateft advantage; and to perform this the failors muft all rife at once upon the windlafs, and, fixing their bars therein, give a fudden jerk at the fame inftant, in which movement they are regulated by a fort of fong or howl pronounced by one of their number.
        
The moft dexterous managers of the handfpec in heaving at the windlafs are generally fuppofed the colliers, of Northumberland: and of all European mariners, the Dutch are certainly the moft aukward and fluggifh in this manoeuvre.


So, he is making the distinction between working the spoke windlass versus capstan. In his capstan entry, incidentally, no songs are mentioned. Capstan did not need coordination as, he explains, the spoke windlass did. He does not call it a "song" but rather a "SORT OF song or HOWL." Doubtful if this was any kind of "chanty" as we know them, however it was a similar practice. The question is whether it was anything more notable than a "yeo heave ho." Speaking of which...in his French dictionary, he later gives this entry:

UN, deux, troi, an exclamation, or fong, ufed by feamen when hauling the bowlines, the greateft eftbrt being made at the laft word. Englifh failors, in the fame manner, call out on this occafion,—haul-in—haul-two—haul-belay!

In a way, this is "negative testimony" suggesting that the French and English of that time did not have songs for hauling. True, that is not necessarily the case, and only the "bowlines" are discussed here. But I think it is reasonable to infer that if there were songs he would have mentioned them, no?


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 23 Dec 10 - 04:24 PM

My last article source for the 1880s is one called "Sailors' Songs" starting on pg. 592 in Charles Dickens' edited ALL THE YEAR ROUND, no. 1047, 22 December 1888. The name of the author is unknown.

This postdates LA Smith's collection, which I suppose it would make sense to critique first...however I feel like getting all the articles out of the way first! Nevertheless, I am sure that much will reference Smith's text.

S/he begins with the idea that true sailors' songs are unlike the parlour songs represented as sailor songs on shore. I don't get the sense, however, that chanties had actually yet been appropriated and transformed as parlour songs.

SPANISH LADIES is first mentioned with a tip of the hat to Marryat, as did Smith. The lyrics more resemble Smith than Marryat. And the idea is added that it was used as a chanty.

//
You may also still hear, sometimes as a forecastle song, but more often adapted, in time and metre, as a Chanty, a song which was popular in Captain Marryat's time:

Now, farewell to you, ye fine Spanish ladies,
Now, farewell to you, ye ladies of Spain,
For we've received orders to sail for Old England,
And perhaps we may never more see you again.

We'll range and we'll rove like true British sailors,
We'll range and we'll rove all on the salt seas,
Until we strike soundings in the Channel of England.
From Ushant to Scilly is thirty-five degrees. ["leagues" in original source]

There are four more verses given in "Poor Jack," and the whole song has been incorporated by Mr. Chappell in his "Music of the Olden Time."
//

Ah, so it looks like this author and Smith both copied their versions from Chappell. Chappell's work, in which Spanish Ladies is not represented as a chanty, dates from 1850 or earlier. Gotta get it.

cont...


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 Dec 10 - 05:11 PM

Gibb,
Have copies of Chappell if you need it, including his own personal copy.

Paddy Works. There is no broadside as such. There are broadsides possibly related with this title and similar c1850 all mentioning Greenock in Scotland. There is useful info on it in Folk Songs of the Catskills where they mention a sheet music copy seemingly written by J. B. Geoghegan in the Levy Collection. It mentions tunewise the connections to 'When Johnny Comes Marching Home' which is also claimed by Geoghegan. 'Paddy works on the Erie' about canal building may be older. When was the Erie Canal built?

I'm pretty certain it must be an American song of Irish navvies inspired perhaps by the Scottish song.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 02:45 AM

Thanks, Steve!

Well, I was able to see a preview on-line of Chappell. I was just trying to find out when Chappell published "Spanish Ladies" for the very first time. There were some misleading links suggesting that "Music of the Olden Time" existed as early as 1850, however, I guess the actual publication dates of the volumes range from 1855-59.
In mentioning "Spanish Ladies," however, Chappell says that he had it in his earlier work, which must be his "Collection of National English Airs." Those volumes range from 1838-1840. I have not been able to see the text to verify. Marryat gave "Spanish Ladies" in his POOR JACK of 1840, and Chappell implies that that came after his own offering. For now, that is close enough for me -- since I am not trying to track down the origins of the song.

Steve, according to Wikipedia, the Erie Canal "was under construction from 1817 to 1825 and officially opened on October 26, 1825."


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 03:10 AM

continuing with the ALL THE YEAR ROUND article...

//
While the sailors are "making poetry" their lives are neither bright nor comfortable; but they are infinitely better than they would be without song. It is song that puts spirit and "go," into all their work, and it is often said at sea that a good "Chanty-man" is equal to an extra hand. The chanties, or working songs, are the real sea songs of sea life. It may be that they are going gradually out of use nowadays, when so much is done by steam; but, wherever the concentrated strength of human muscles is needed, even on a steamship, there is nothing like a chanty for evoking the utmost motive power.
//

The "extra hand" bit comes from Smith.

//
Chanties are of various kinds, adapted to the different varieties of work on shipboard, and without a chanty a crew is as listless as a gang of South Carolina darkies without their plantation songs. In truth, there is a good deal in common between the working songs of sailors and of niggers, and it is curious that many of the most popular sea-chanties are wholesale adaptations of plantation airs, and often of the words also.
//

Let us not this observation of comparability between chanties and African-American worksongs.

//
For quick haulage, working at the sails, and so forth, one of the most favourite chanties is this:

We'll haul the bowlin' so early in the morning.
(Chorusl We'll haul the bowlin', the bowlin' haul.
Haul on the bowlin', the fore and maintop bowlin'.
(Chorusl Haul on the bowlin', the bowlin' haul.
Haul on the bowlin', the packet she's a rollin'.
(Chorusl Haul on the bowlin', the bowlin' haul.
Haul on the bowlin', the Captain he's a growlin'.
(Chorusl Haul on the bowlin', the bowlin' haul.

There is not much poetry in this, you will say. Well, there is not; but there is an immense amount of vigorous music when ten, or twelve, or twenty strongthroated seamen give voice to the hearty chorus, and with each recurrence of the word "haul," strain every muscle of the body in combined effort. That is where the chanty is invaluable—in timing the moment for the concentration of force. It makes all the difference in the world in the working of a ship, and the chanty will often be changed several times at some special job, until the right one is got, which sends the men together like the beat of a conductor's baton in an orchestra. A good chanty-man—that is, the soloist who starts the songs, and gives the time to the chorus —is one of the most popular, as well as the most useful, men on board a ship.
//

BOWLINE here has the format of Alden (with "We'll") while combining the lyrics to Smith's two versions.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 03:22 AM

The idea of variability and improvisation is there:

//
The airs to which the chanties are sung are pretty much common property—that is to say, you will hear thom all the world over. Miss Smith has scored many of them, and musical readers cannot do better than consult her pages if they want to test the quality of Jack's music. But the words of the chanties vary very much. There is a sort of general range of subject for each air, while a great amount of latitude is exercised by the chanty-man. In fact, a clever "improvisatore" who can adapt the lives and the peculiarities of officers and crew to the metre of the chanty he is leading, is very much esteemed. Like everybody else, Jack enjoys hearing the foibles of his fellows humorously hit off. and he does not object to being "dressed" a bit himself in turn.

Thus, then, the words of a chanty may be altered according to the ability of the chantyman and the opportunity afforded by the incidents and personages of each separate voyage. All that is wanted is that hauling chanties shall be short and lively; that windlass chanties be more measured; that pumping chanties be adapted to the monotonous movement of the work, and that capstan chanties be in long metre, and of a more tender character in general. Thus it is, that in the capstan chanties, when the men run round and round from slow to quick as the anchor comes "home," we find usually both more sentiment, and more of the semblance of part-songs.

Here is one capstan chanty:

To the Liverpool Docks we'll did adieu,
To Suke, and Sally, and Polly, too;
The anchor's weighed, the sails unfurled,
We are bound to cross the watery world.
Hurrah, we're outward bound!
Hurrah, we're outward bound!

The first four lines may be either sung as a solo, with the last two in chorus, or the four lines by divisions of the men, and the last two in unison. Of course, for "Liverpool Docks" will be substituted the name of any other place from which the ship is parting.
//

This OUTWARD AND HOMEWARD BOUND evidently comes from the 1869 Chambers's Journal article. It is verbatim. Smith had another version of the shanty, w/ Catherine's Dock, which probably led the author here to his/her idea about substitution.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 03:35 AM

RIO GRANDE here is from Smith:

//
Here is another very favourite outwardbound chanty:

(Solo) The ship went sailing out over the bar.
(Chorusl O Rio! O Rio!
(Solo) They pointed her nose for the Southern Star.
(Chorus) And we're bound for the Kio Grande.
(Together) Then away, love, away, away down Rio.
Then fare you well, my pretty young girl,
We're bound for tho Rio Grande.

(Solo) Oh, were you ever in Rio Grande?
(Chorus) Away, you Rio.
(Solo) Oh, were you ever in Rio Grande?
(Chorus) We're bound to the Rio Grande.
Away, you Rio; away, you Rio.
Fare you well, my pretty young girl,
I am bound to the Rio Grande.

As capstan work is long, we may take this as only the beginning of the song, the rest of which will depend on the chantyman's ability to weave in some narrative. Failing that, the words of the old song, "Where are you going to.my pretty maid?" will be utilised, each line being sung twice by the soloist, followed by the Rio Grande chorus. The effect is curious, but very pleasing.
//


The next again, STORMY ALONG, is the author's interpretation of Smith.

//
Another capstan song is sacred to the memory of a certain mythical being called "Old Stormy" or " Old Storm Along":

(Solo) Old Stormy he is dead and gono.
(Chorus) To me, way, hay, storm along John.
(Solo) Old Stormy he is dead and gone.
(Chorus) Ah ha, come along, get along, storm along John.
(Solo) Old Stormy he was a bully old man.
(Chorus) To me, way, you storm along.
(Solo) Old Stormy he was a bully old man.
(Chorus) Way, hay, storm along John.

There are several variants of this chanty, and one of the versions gives to the soloist these curious words:

When Stormy died I dug his grave,
I dug his grave with a silver spade,
I hove him up with an iron crane.
And lowered him down with a golden chain,
Old Storm Along is dead and gone.
//


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 03:42 AM

LOWLANDS AWAY comes from Smith (orig. from Alden)

//
One of the most beautiful in a musical sense of all the chanties, is that known as "Lowlands Low." The words are nothing, and, as usual, many versions are used; but the air is singularly wild and mournful, and is an immense favourite with Jack It generally begins somewhat like this:

(Solo) I dreamt a dream the other night.
(Chorus) Lowlands, lowlands, hurrah, my John.
(Solo) I dreamt I saw my own true love.
(Chorus) My Lowlands, aray.
//

HOME DEARIE HOME also is from Smith 1888.

//
The most sentimental and also the most poetical of all the capstan chanties, is "Home, Dearie, Home ":

Solo.
Oh, Amble is a fine town, with ships in the bay,
And I wishwithmy heart I was only there to-day;
I wish with my heart I was far away from here,
A-sitting in my parlour and talking to my dear.
Chorus.
And it's home, dearie, home, oh, it's home I want to be,
My topsails are hoisted and I must out to sea.
For the oak, and the ash, and the bonny birchen tree,
They're all a-growin' green in the North countree.
Oh, it's home, dearie, home, it's home I want to be.
Solo.
Oh, there's a wind that blows, and it's blowing from the west,
And of all the winds that blow, 'tis the one I like the best;
For it blows at our backs, and it shakes the pennon free,
And it soon will blow us home to the North countree.
(Chorus as before.)

The next verse refers to the ei arrival of a little stranger:

Solo.
And if it be a lass, she shall wear a golden ring;
And if it be a lad, he shall live to serve his King;
With his buckles, and his boots, and his little jacket blue.
He shall walk the quarter-deck as his Daddy used to do.
(Chorus as before.)
//


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 04:21 AM

OK, so I went through the rest of this painful Dickens edited article, and it's all culled from LA Smith. Here are the rest of the chanties noted:

HANDY MY BOYS
BLOW THE MAN DOWN
REUBEN RANZO
UP A HILL
PAY ME THE MONEY DOWN (orig. from the 1858 Atlantic Monthly)
HILONDAY
BONEY
HAUL AWAY JOE
SHENANDOAH
OUTWARD AND HOMEWARD BOUND (another variation)
and some forecastle songs like THE MERMAID


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 05:33 AM

The remaining 1880s publications on chanties, that I know of, are:

1883: Luce - I think most of the chanties are taken from Adams 1879
1887: Davis and Tozer
1888: L.A. Smith

Right now I want to mention Davis and Tozer. The vagarious editions (each quite different) are hard to come by. Once Lighter put up the table of contents for the first edition. Here it is:

1. Sally Brown
2. Away for Rio
3. We're All Bound to Go
4. The Wide Missouri
5. Leave Her, Johnnie ###
6. Can't You Dance a Polka? ###
7. The Black Ball Line
8. Hoodah Day ###
9. Homeward Bound
10. Whiskey for My Johnnie
11. Reuben Ranzo
12. Blow Boys, Blow
13. Blow the Man Down
14. Tom's Gone to Ilo ###
15. Hanging Johnnie ###
16. Haul Away Jo'
17. Haul the Bowlin'
18. Paddy Doyle's Boots
19. A-Roving
20. Storm Along
21. Mobile Bay
22. Salt Horse
23. The Dead Horse
24. Eight Bells

I won't have access to this edition (unless I fly to Dublin), but I am going to get a later edition and assume that the earlier shanties were unchanged. For now, I thought I'd take note of which of these songs had appeared in literature already up to this point. I don't mean the same lyrical versions, I just mean if the song had been mentioned at all.

So, all the chanties have turned up in some form (A-Roving not as a chanty). The songs with ### after them, however, have a significantly different or original phrasing.

In all, the book appears to be quite original (despite the common songs, they look like they'd be original versions). What intrigues me more is the possibility that many of these forms set the mold for future interpretations.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: John Minear
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 09:42 AM

Some good reading and fine analysis here, Gibb. I am enjoying this very much. I appreciate the way you are tracing out the historical lineage of these works and untangling the possible borrowings and sources. This transition period seem to sum up the fragmented past and to lay the foundations for future "interpretations". I like the care with which you go about this work and also your willingness to put forth your own theories and conclusions. Keep up the good works.


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: John Minear
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 10:05 AM

&printsecGibb, I don't think this source has been mentioned, but I confess to not having done a thorough look-through. It doesn't show up in the Mudcat search system. The book is THE CRUISE OF THE YACHT MONTAUK, by James McQuade. This cruise took place between February 21, 1884 and May 3, 1884, and was a trip to the West Indies. As near as I can tell, the book was written in 1884. Here is the link:

http://books.google.com/books?id=7jEn_Inpb6wC=frontcover&dq=James+McQuade&hl=en&ei=jrMUTZqBJsXflgfh09DADA&sa=X&oi=book_

On page 102, McQuade mentions shanties and lists "Ranzo", "Haul Away, Joe" and "Knock-a-man-down" specifically by saying that they "rarely animate the sailor in this period of maritime degeneracy."

http://books.google.com/books?id=t2QXAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA102&dq=%22Knock+a+man+down%22+shanty&lr=&cd=16#v=onepage&q=%22Knock%20a%20man

And on page 103, he gives the words to an unfamiliar chanty he calls "Largy-Kargy", of West Indian origin:

http://books.google.com/books?id=t2QXAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA103&dq=Largy+-+Kargy&lr=&cd=1#v=onepage&q=Largy%20-%20Kargy&f=false


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Charley Noble
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 02:45 PM

Hate to have this old minstrel song that I posted above ignored in the discussion of where and when "stormy" first surfaced:

As sung by J. Smith of White's Serenaders at the Melodeon, New York City, from White's New Ethiopian Song Book, published by T.B. Peterson & Bros., Philadelphia, US, © 1854, p. 71,

Storm Along Stormy


O I wish I was in Mobile bay,
Storm along, Stormy.
Screwing cotton all de day,
Storm along, Stormy.
O you rollers storm along,
Storm along, Stormy.
Hoist away an' sing dis song,
Storm along, Stormy.

I wish I was in New Orleans,
Storm along, Stormy.
Eating up dem pork an' beans,
Storm along, Stormy.
Roll away in spite ob wedder,
Storm along, Stormy.
Come, lads, push all togedder,
Storm along, Stormy.

I wish I was in Baltimore,
Storm along, Stormy.
Dancing on dat Yankee shore,
Storm along, Stormy.
One bale more, den we'be done,
Storm along, Stormy.
De sun's gwan down, an' we'll go home.
Storm along, Stormy.

This minstrel song is clearly inspired by a stevedore song, sung while the worker gangs were rolling burlapped-wrapped bales of cotton down the dock.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 11:58 PM

Happy Christmas, friends!

Cool, John, it's always good to see more travelogues; they usually have some 'gems' that are not in the deliberate articles.

The schooner MONTAUK was out of New York. This part of the voyage, between Bermuda and St. Kitts, was in March 1884.

McQuade seems to have read Adam's 1879 ON BOARD THE ROCKET, I think. He is not noting these chanties because he heard them, but rather knows of them from elsewhere (and noting that he did not hear them). Adams' text is the only one that had the "Knock a Man down" at this point (well, along with Luce 1883, who got it from Adams). That, and the way he invokes Dibdin as Adams did, suggests that he read it.

For recording purposes, here is the passage:

//
Since the general employment of steam in navigation, the habits of sailors have naturally changed so as to conform, in some degree at least, to the existing condition of sea service. The old Jack tar, with his natty blue jacket, immaculate white trousers, flowing neckerchief, and jaunty tarpaulin hat, is being merged in the greasy stoker. The dust, smoke, cinders and soot of the steamship make sad havoc with the purity of white duck; the stiff tarpaulin has no place in the sweltering confines of the boiler-room and coal-bunker; everything is done by machinery; the anchor is hoisted by steam, the sails set by steam, and even the vessel steered by steam. William and Black-eyed Susan belong to the stage, and the oil-stained sailor of to-day is but a grimy representative of the airy and romantic jolly tar, who danced the sailor's hornpipe, wielded a heavy cutlass as if it were a toothpick, and blasted his 'eyes, and shivered his timbers, and avasted, and ahoyed, in days of yore. As steam has so largely superseded manual labor, the sea-songs with which sailors used to keep time when pulling and hauling in combined and simultaneous effort, are dying away in faint echoes, and soon they will only mingle with the discredited strains of the nearly forgotten mermaid. True there are navies to keep up the old standard, and sailing vessels and yachts to maintain the recollection and traditions of the blue jackets, but they are fast being smothered by steam. Occasionally we hear some of the familiar chants, but " Ranzo," " Haul Away, Joe," and "Knock-a-man-down," rarely animate the sailor in this period of maritime degeneracy. Of course seamen have to be educated in their vocation, but the sailor has become something like the mechanic. Large manufactories and mills, with complex labor-saving apparatus, have done away measurably with the journeyman who served his time as an apprentice to an experienced master. Machinery not only works, but thinks, and the machine-feeder takes the place of the skilled mechanic.

The sea-songs of Dibdin and others were really made for landsmen, and are different from the sailors' chants proper, which were of other material; like their working toggery, expressive and matter-of-fact. Prosody received but scant consideration, but the rhymes were a sort of rugged doggerel, with a refrain strongly accentuated, which served as a signal for all to pull away together. They were called Shanty songs, from the French word chanter, to sing, and many of them are familiar, having been incorporated in magazine articles and published in books.
//

But then we have the new chanty!: LARGY KARGY, attributed to the West Indies.

//
One of the sailors aboard the Montauk, who has been in the West Indies, furnishes the following example of a Shanty song, which is evidently the composition of some one possessed of a better ear for rhythm than the ordinary chanteur, as the measure is reasonably accurate. The refrains, Largy Kargy and Weeny Kreeny, are evidently corruptions of Spanish words, probably intended for Largo Cargo and Buena Carina—big cargo, and good little girl:

We're bound for the West Ingies straight,
    Largy—Kargy, Haul away O—h.
Come lively, boys, or we'll be late,
   Weeny—Kreeny, Haul away O—h.

We'll have rum and baccy plenty,
    Largy—etc.,
Cocos, yams, and argy-denty,
    Weeny—etc.

No more horse ' and dandy funky,
But St. Kitten's roasted monkey.

We'll go fiddle with black Peter,
Dance all night with Wannereeter.

At Kooreso we'll get frisky,
Throwing dice with Dutch Francisky.

When we've found the pirate's money,
We'll live on shore eating honey.

Wear big boots of allygator,
Taking Nance to the thayayter.

We'll bunk no more with cockroaches,
    Largy—Kargy—Haul away O—h,
But ride all day in soft coaches,
    Weeny—Kreeny, Haul away O—h.
//

I love it!

Charlie-- Yes, I love that one, too. It is such a cool example to have -- a song in a minstrel context that does not disguise its work song roots (?). No, we're not forgetting that one -- I think somewhere along the line we found that it could be dated to at least as early as 1848, so it is "filed" there at present. The same text also had a version of the "Sailor Fireman " (stoker's chant) and "Fire Down Below". Cheers!


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