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A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties

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THE SEAMEN'S HYMN


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ChrisJBrady 30 Jun 12 - 07:19 PM
Charley Noble 30 Jun 12 - 09:11 PM
ChrisJBrady 05 Jul 12 - 11:28 AM
GUEST,Lighter 05 Jul 12 - 12:11 PM
Brian Peters 05 Jul 12 - 04:16 PM
Gibb Sahib 05 Jul 12 - 04:41 PM
Gibb Sahib 05 Jul 12 - 04:45 PM
Steve Gardham 05 Jul 12 - 05:52 PM
GUEST,Lighter 05 Jul 12 - 06:49 PM
Gibb Sahib 05 Jul 12 - 07:54 PM
GUEST,Lighter 05 Jul 12 - 08:54 PM
Brian Peters 06 Jul 12 - 04:19 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Jul 12 - 04:58 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Jul 12 - 05:32 AM
GUEST,Lighter 06 Jul 12 - 08:30 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Jul 12 - 08:53 AM
GUEST,Lighter 06 Jul 12 - 10:20 AM
RTim 06 Jul 12 - 10:28 AM
ChrisJBrady 06 Jul 12 - 11:08 AM
ChrisJBrady 06 Jul 12 - 11:31 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Jul 12 - 11:50 AM
Gibb Sahib 06 Jul 12 - 01:57 PM
Gibb Sahib 06 Jul 12 - 02:12 PM
Brian Peters 06 Jul 12 - 02:27 PM
Gibb Sahib 06 Jul 12 - 02:54 PM
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Subject: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: ChrisJBrady
Date: 30 Jun 12 - 07:19 PM

Sea Shanties in Moby Dick (1956) - A.L.Lloyd

From:

http://www.folkradio.co.uk/2011/07/a-l-lloyd-bramble-briars-and-beams-of-the-sun/

Probably one of the best depictions of sea chanties / shanties as working songs on a windjammer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=hdiFYCUP9oU


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Charley Noble
Date: 30 Jun 12 - 09:11 PM

Jerry-

One of the very few mainstream films that featured sea shanties. The only other ones I'm aware of that were recorded were from retired sailors.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: ChrisJBrady
Date: 05 Jul 12 - 11:28 AM

A note:

Paul Clayton released Whaling Songs & Ballads, Stinson Records around 1954. There was also the Whaling and Sailing Songs from the Days of Moby Dick in 1956.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXxLg7a9_qk


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 05 Jul 12 - 12:11 PM

Don't forget that the Highpoint CD "Sailor's Songs and Sea Shanties" contains the entire contents of Lloyd & MacColl's mid-50's Stinson LPs, "Haul on the Bowline" and "Off to Sea Once More."

These are two of the finest shanty records ever release by folk-revival singers. They were ahead of their time in many ways.

There's also a CD of Lloyd & MacColl's "Blow Boys Blow," which is nearly as good as the first two.

Unfortunately the excellent "Thar She Blows!" and "A Sailor's Garland" have never been reissued.

Pedants will remember that Lloyd & MacColl have "improved" their material. They've done it so tastefully, though, that only pedants will care or notice.


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Brian Peters
Date: 05 Jul 12 - 04:16 PM

"only pedants will care or notice"

...as indeed did that old pedant Stan Hugill (see Dave Arthur's biography, 'Bert', pp 279 - 80).


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 05 Jul 12 - 04:41 PM

Brian--

Would you care to quote or summarize what Arthur says about this (for those of us without _Bert_)?

Hugill wasn't rigorous enough, in my opinion, to be considered a true 'pedant' -- though I suppose he may have believed he was or said so with self-deprecating humor.

In his _Shanties from the Seven Seas_, Hugill was full of praise, if I remember, for Lloyd's recordings. His assessment was similar to Lighter's in that the recordings, while perhaps not totally authentic, were quite good, especially when compared to others.

As to whether or not Hugil cared/noticed that they "improved" the chanties, this has been in a way a recurring issue in discussions. Because it seems, at least to me, that Hugill accepted a portion of what Lloyd sang as authentic, rather than questioning it, and may have even gone on to spread it further.


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 05 Jul 12 - 04:45 PM

BTW, the Moby-Dick clip linked in the OP is something I posted as part of a YouTube series (on-going) of clips, "Chanties in Film."

See it here.


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Jul 12 - 05:52 PM

Before we get carried away on the authentic thing, let's just remember the film was based on a piece of fiction and is nowhere presented as a documentary. You need to be comparing it with the likes of 'Pirates of the Caribbean'.


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 05 Jul 12 - 06:49 PM

I may have said this some years ago, but I can't find the post quickly, so I'll repeat it.

I met Stan Hugill at Mystic Seaport in 1988 and 1989. In '88 I asked him straight out what he thought of MacColl and Lloyd's performances. He believed that they had caught the "spirit" of the shanties better than any revivalists who had yet recorded (he was especially scornful of "radio singers.")

He objected mildly to the occasional harmony singing, because sailors (except Welsh crews, many of whom came from a strong tradition of choir singing) didn't often sing in harmony.

What he objected to most was Lloyd & MacColl's combination of bowdlerizing on the one hand (which he realized was unavoidable) and then, on the other, fashioning mildly bawdy or double-entendre lines of their own.

The example he gave instantly and with unmistakable disdain was the line from Lloyd's "Farewell Nancy": "Your little behind, love, would freeze in the wind, love." Hugill said that sailors didn't use words like "behind": "They called a spade a spade." Furthermore, they wouldn't have sung about their girlfriends' derrieres in a sentimental song like that anyway. The shanties, of course, were different, and they wouldn't have said "derriere" either.

He told me the only sea songs he knew that relied partially on double entendres were "Ratcliffe Highway"/"Cruising 'Round Yarmouth," and "The Fireship," which has a similar theme.


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 05 Jul 12 - 07:54 PM

I am not interested in authenticity, just in what Hugill thought, etc!

We have on one hand Hugill's "official" and probably most guarded statement of opinion in SfSS, where he recommends Lloyd's albums.

Then we have Lighter's data, which is a bit more balanced. The recommendation would still seem to hold, though he has specific criticisms.

I am curious as to what it says in Arthur's book -- especially whether it presents Hugill as significantly more negative. I also am curious what the source of that data would be.

Then we have my suggestion, which is that while Hugill may have criticized some things in Lloyd, there are other things that, if a true pedant, he would also have criticized. Hugill was able to criticize the delivery of Lloyd in some respects while still accepting some of Lloyd's material as authentic -- that is, of evidence of something that was "out there" in tradition.


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 05 Jul 12 - 08:54 PM

Hugill wasn't a pedant, but he didn't like it when shanty singing was badly misrepresented by people who hadn't a clue.

He seemed to have been perfectly at home with anything that sounded   authentic "to my way of thinking," as he frankly put it. He was also fond of saying, "Different ships, different long splices."

In other words, "different strokes for different folks." Any variation was acceptable to him, I believe, as long as it resembled the verbal, melodic, and presentational style, and the cultural substance, of what he knew (or had every reason to believe) was real. His books show how strongly he wished to preserve the real in the face of the artificial and distorted.

To give a partly fanciful example, he may have included "blood-red" roses, whatever its actual origin, because it sounded perfectly plausible and was not clearly in conflict with shanty idiom. But something modern, like "long-stemmed roses," would have just sounded wrong, and I believe he'd have shaken his head in disbelief.

Of course, that's merely my impression of his views, which are, fortunately, mostly set out in his books.

I can only imagine what he'd think about current "pyrate music."


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 04:19 AM

Here's the passage I referred to:

"… the sea shanties, which Bert and MacColl pioneered on the British folk scene… and which the folk audiences assumed to be authoritative because of Bert's whaling trip (!) were, according to Britain's last genuine shantyman, and nautical authority, Stan Hugill, somewhat less so:

All the weird shanties they put over are good, perhaps, depending on which way you look at them. But for Bert they had to be modal, they had to be Mixolydian, they had to be Dorian. They never sang the songs the real sailors sang: 'The Rio Grande', 'Shenandoah', 'The Banks of the Sacramento'… Those were the songs the sailors sang but they never looked at them. Bert did 'Sally Brown' but not the normal version, not the way any sailor ever did it. He sang a Bahamian boatman's rowing song as a deepwater shanty, but it was never sung in deepwater. It was only collected once in the early '60s but Bert's version had extra verses that he must have written. 'Little Sally Racket' came from a collection of Jamaican folk songs and, again, was not the version sung by sailors."

In his endnotes Dave Arthur gives the source only as 'Stan Hugill interview'.

My description of Hugill as a 'pedant' was actually ironic. I was just a bit surprised to find 'Lighter' (whose posts I always enjoy and respect) suggesting that one has to be a pedant even to notice - never mind care about - Lloyd's editorial interventions. As it happened I'd been reading that passage in 'Bert' just a couple of days ago, and it popped into my head.


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 04:58 AM

My grandfather worked under sail and picked up a few shanties which he used to sing around the house.
I played him a recording of Stan once, which he thought very odd - but I didn't have the nouse to take him up on it at the time - horses for courses I suppose.
I was very saddened to read Hugill's review of the Ben Bright monograph (I think in Dance and Song).
He remembered Bright and described Joe Hill's I.W.W. (Industrial Workers of the World) as the "I wont workers" - again, horses for courses.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 05:32 AM

Authenticity aside, I feel there is a touch of pedantry about Stan Hugill's criticicism of shanty singing in the revival.
In a way, shanty singing resembles the modern approach to traditional Irish music, which was at one time almost exclusively for dancing, but has become something you now sit and listen to for its beauty and complexity.
The first albums of shanties I heard, the two 8" Topic LPs, were just for that, sitting and listening to. They got me hooked for life;
I'm not sure that, if I heard them screamed at the top of the voice so they could be heard over a howling wind, would have had the same effect.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 08:30 AM

Brian, my use of the word "pedant" was also ironical because I noticed and cared.

I doubt that more than a small percentage of Mudcatters would be disturbed by L & M's "improvements." The song performed right now is the thing, not how it more or less sounded 150 years ago.

Thanks for posting that revealing passage. L & M did record "Blow the Man Down," possibly the most frequently sung shanty, but they had Harry Corbett helping them out.

(He *really* sounded authentic. How'd he do it?)

Lloyd's preference for the modal and exotic shows what a romantic he was. As does "Folk Song in England," despite the Marxism.

I don't believe he ever significantly altered a tune, however. And his textual changes were always in the spirit of the song.

Needless to say, the contrast between L & M singing a shanty and a polished "balladeer" like Burl Ives doing the same would get anyone's attention.

As for the modal "Sally Brown," memory suggests that Short, Bullen, and Harlow had similar tunes - presumably West Indian. Gibb should know.


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 08:53 AM

"He *really* sounded authentic. How'd he do it?)"
Probably by collecting all those rags and bones!
Authenticity seems to be a movable feast.
For instance, the BBC recordings of shantyman Stanley Slade (without that awful BBC chorus), are in my opinion, far neared to that of MacColl and Lloyd's singing than they are to Hugill's. Different again are the recordings of R H Rassmussen and (?) Halliday
Authenticity is in the ear of the beholder maybe.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 10:20 AM

Jim, by sounding "authentic" I mean sounding "perfectly believable stylistically."

Slade seems to have gotten his *texts* straight from Davis & Tozer, but his delivery is very vigorous and, IIRC, unornamented. Without the orchestra and drawing-room chorus he'd sound "authentic."

Rasmussen and Halliday may simply have been recalling the songs for posterity rather than trying to sing as if they had hold of a rope or windlass bar. Just a guess.

Possibly Hugill got his yips and yelps mostly from his West Indian shipmates. But he certainly seemed to think that they were more typical than not.

I believe that a few of Carpenter's shantymen used them too. Maybe more would have done so at sea than singing into a machine at the age of 80.

We can agree, however, that few shantymen sounded like Burl Ives, with or without guitar.

One of the other threads raises the question of how much direct influence Hugill mau have had on L & M as early as 1956. But where else could they have gotten that style, particularly M's very Hugillian "Stormalong" - to me probably the greatest revival shanty performance on record (though "Blow the Man Down" comes close).


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: RTim
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 10:28 AM

A question I have is about how the singing happened.

Did the Shantyman when on board working, sing both his line AND the response,
or only his line?

Tim Radford
(Who has just recorded some shanties with a chorus)


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: ChrisJBrady
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 11:08 AM

[i]"The song performed right now is the thing, not how it more or less sounded 150 years ago."[/i]

In which case what is claimed as shanty singing ain't that no more and never has been. What we hear today - even at sea shanty festivals - is something interpreted, imagined, fancied, by those who haven't a clue about what real tall ship sailing is about.

Surely 150 years ago shanties were for uniting the labour of sailors doing heavy manual work such as hauling up the topsail yards, lumbering around a capstan, bracing the yards, etc.

Now-a-days the chant "2, 6, heave" suffices - but having been lead on heavy rope pulling (bracing from say full port to full starboard) on a tall ship only a few weeks ago I know that the constant repetition of even that induces a trance state and that makes the work seem easier even if its not. At one point we even found "South Australia" worked as well for this.

Shanties performed on stage without the effort of manual work are but a shadow of what they used to be regardless of the intentions of the singers.

I think that it was Hugill's concern that shanties should be and sound as though they were songs to work to, not to sit back and be enjoyed as an entertainment.

It appears that A.L.Lloyd's imposition of a more musically academic approach irritated Hugill. I guess another irritation was calling a woman's backside a 'behind' or a 'derriere' instead of what it was to a sailor amongst liked minded men, all devoid of a woman's company for months at a time, namely an 'arse.' On board a working tall ship, especially a whaler, amongst a bunch of hard-working guys, there was no room for such Victorian sensibilities.

It is unfortunate that clips of sailors working to shanties are so rare. Even the film of the Peking rounding Cape Horn is devoid of such activity. But then the Peking had Jarvis winches for bracing the yards, and its not possible to sing a shanty when spinning the flywheel of those.

But there are films of other work songs. Not only the waulking songs of the women in the Scottish Highlands and Islands. But work songs such as:

Afro-American Work Songs in a Texas Prison
http://www.folkstreams.net/film,122      

Gandy Dancers
http://www.folkstreams.net/film,101

Gandy Dancers 1973
http://www.folkstreams.net/film,223

Singing Fishermen of Ghana
http://www.folkstreams.net/film,123

BTW there is a large collection of chanty material in the Alan Lomax Archives at:

http://www.culturalequity.org/

CJB.


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: ChrisJBrady
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 11:31 AM

[i]Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: RTim - PM
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 10:28 AM

A question I have is about how the singing happened.

Did the Shantyman when on board working, sing both his line AND the response, or only his line?

Tim Radford
(Who has just recorded some shanties with a chorus)[i/]

The shantyman wouldn't have had a 'line' per se. The work was rhythmic and went across both the 'verses' and the 'choruses.' The actual words were immaterial except as distractions to the hard work at hand.

He was paid to get the most work out of the men for the job to be done in the quickest time possible. If he also sang the chorus to get that extra effort from the men that so be it.

But I guess it would depend upon the inclination of the shanty singer himself. And also of course the job to be done - there were different shanties with different rhythms for different jobs.

What I am sure about is that there were no idlers standing by to join in the chorus in harmony at appropriate moments!!

Incidentally when pulling ropes it is the rhythmic nature of that pulling that makes the work easier because everyone directs their effort into the work all at the same time. This would cut across the verses and choruses alike. If the words were bawdy and/or lent an air of humour into the work then all the better - this would have made the work seem easier. The men would have appreciated that.

As always I recommend that any shanty singer worth his/her salt books a passage on a real tall ship, even for a day sail, and sees what its all about. The rougher the sea the better.


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 11:50 AM

Lighter
Both Rasmussen and Slade were at one time or another shantymen.
Little information on either but for anybody with the time, opportunity and inclination, the BBC index (copy at Vaughan Williams Memorial Library) has a few interesting notes to their shanties and how they were used.   
"Slade was the very last sailor, starting off in the days of sail, to have served before the mast as a recognised shantyman. It was his recordings that fired Peter Kennedy, and later the BBC, to begin a systematic programme of recording traditional singers and other performers in the UK."

"RASMUSSEN, A.H.        .        
Singer of sea-shanties. Recorded London. 11.4.55.
A Norwegian and a writer, aged: 74. Has functioned as a shantyman during the early part of his life. On 22348 he talks about himself and an adventure at sea; and on 22350, introducing 'Sacramento' he tells how he was elected shantyman."
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 01:57 PM

Brian --

I really appreciate you posting that passage. Thank you!

If I were to take what Hugill said at face value, it does ring pretty true. My sense is that Lloyd would have preferred the "modal" tunes in the same way that, I believe, Cecil Sharp did. They struck one as being more "original" and "ancient" and, by a certain logic, more authentic and even more English--with the assumption that English song was the original source of the genre. I don't think Lloyd had a particular agenda, but I do suspect he had an unconscious bias that shaped his vision of chanties and thus also shaped his preferences along these lines. By the same token, much like in the case of Sharp, typical chanties like "Sacramento" (too American and popular/vulgar) and "Shenandoah" (too American and Black) might have been passed over because they didnt fit the preferred vision as well. I am not saying that Lloyd was adamant that his chanties were "English," but that he probably preferred them to at least be "folk" -- this sense of an authentic music of a people. The disparity between what selection that vision turns up and what sailors actually commonly sang seems to be provoking the comment.

We can say that the example titles that Hugill gives were among the very most noted of the chanties during the Age of Sail and reasonably assume that they were among the most sung, too. Lloyd's percentages -- what he emphasized versus what was common in Hugill's experience -- were "off". This continues to be off in revival scenes (not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that). Lots of reasons for that. In certain years, certain songs will just seem too hackneyed, I suppose. Rarely would anyone sing 'Drunken Sailor" at a contemporary chanty sing, though the similar "Roll the Old Chariot" is done to death for some reason (kind of a "lazy" singer's song, that can easily generate a lot of sound). Interestingly, the chanties that Hugill mentions are still not sung a lot--relatively speaking. They are well known, but slightly avoided in actual practice; other songs -- all sorts of odd bits revived in the last couple decades -- seem to have more cache. Some of that is the product of year-by-year trends, but some of it may have also been established by what Lloyd's generation chose to emphasize.

The disproportionate (it seems) preference for minor keys and modal stuff seems to continue, and that may be simply the musical preferences of the Anglo-/Euro-American audiences, whose ears spend more time in the world of traditional British and Irish song than in the minstrel and Afro-American sounds that pervaded the chantyman's world.

Being more critical of Hugill's statement, I suspect we'd find he's exaggerating a bit, and due to speaking casually, wasn't quite accurate. I am guessing that "Bring 'em Down" is the chanty that was pulled from a book of Jamaican songs; that's what I've found, at least. I don't recall "Sally Racket" being that different from Hugill's (in SfSS). I'll take a closer look at this later on.

I'm not sure if I've heard Lloyd's "Sally Brown." The collected versions have melodies that are very consistent with each other, however. Not sure what he would have done differently.


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 02:12 PM

Hey, Tim --

I think yours is a great question. I'd be interested to discuss it a bit, since I am not sure of the answer, either. I'd encourage you to re-post it in another thread -- perhaps the recent one titled "Shanties at Work" or something like that, which actually has a related (though appreciably different, I know) question in it. I'll meet you over there!
Gibb


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 02:27 PM

"My sense is that Lloyd would have preferred the "modal" tunes in the same way that, I believe, Cecil Sharp did."

I've been doing a bit of research on this very topic recently, and I think you're right. Both Sharp's '100 English Folksongs' and Lloyd and Vaughan Williams' original 'Penguin Book of English Folk Songs' favour modes other than the major (or 'Ionian'), to the extent that straightforward major tunes are in the minority in both collections. I strongly doubt that this represents accurately the range of tunes collected with English fok songs, and the 'New Penguin' collection seems to bear this out. Sharp, in his notes to '100 EFS' admits to picking interesting modal versions to represent certain songs that were overwhelmingly major in the examples that he'd found.

"Brian, my use of the word "pedant" was also ironical because I noticed and cared."

Good! Perhaps we should both start using smiley or winky faces to denote irony, Lighter? ;-)


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 02:54 PM

FWIW, I detected the irony in both of your uses of "pedant," guys! :) But I for one thought it would be interesting spur for discussion to take it at face (no face) value.

***

Here's a list of the shanties recorded by Lloyd and MacColl in collaboration. I may certainly have missed some; please add, if so. I have deliberately left out the the forebitter-ish, rarely-used-as-shanties songs like The Dreadnaught, Go to Sea Once More, etc., only because I don't think they have much relevance to the discussion.


A Hundred Years Ago
Billy Riley
Black Ball Line
Blood Red Roses
Blow Boys Blow
Blow the Man Down
Bowline
Bring 'em Down
Gal with the Blue Dress On
General Taylor
Hilo John Brown
Hilo Somebody
Jamboree
Paddy Doyle
Reuben Ranzo
Rise her Up (Whiskey O)
Sally Brown
Sally Racket
Santiana
Stormalong (way, hey, mister stormalong)
Wild Goose Shanty (?)

We could eventually look at each of these in detail and see where they may have learned them, how they arranged/adapted them, and how this shapes up with Hugill's assessment, etc.


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Dead Horse
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 04:01 PM

Interestingly most of the titles in that list have many variations.
If you think that doesnt matter - that they are merely different words to the same tune or whatever, just listen to the three (count 'em. Three) versions of 'Paddy Doyles Boots' that are to be heard on the sound track to Moby Dick.
As hultonclint (we know who you are) points out in his foreward/more info to this shanty, it is not sung to the correct work at hand, but, the three versions are all entirely different - one version having twice the pulls of another. All three are Bunt shanties, but all three are not the same by any means.
And that is just ONE of the shanties taken from that list.
Now define which shanty was used for which job. I dare you.
(insert smiley face of the pedant here) :-)


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 04:03 PM

Hugill's "Shanties and Sailors' Songs" (1969) calls L & M's LP "The Singing Sailor" "magnificent...a more true-to-life performance than previous record performances....Following this, several other discs came on the market, some good, some too 'arty.'"

He goes on to mention a number of other shanty and sea-song records without commenting on their quality.

In a last-minute footnote he describes MacColl & Seeger's "Whaler out of New Bedford" as "excellent." The same goes for L & M's "Leviathan" (aka "Thar She Blows!")

He presumably didn't know that some of the texts on both albums
have been artificially Americanized.


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Dead Horse
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 04:11 PM

I should have put the link to Moby Dick in above post.
Moby Dick shanties


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 04:37 PM

DH: Can't hear Paddy Doyle's Boots in that clip. There are only Blood Red Roses & Heave Away My Johnny.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 07:08 PM

Taking the shanties in turn...

A Hundred Years Ago.

Lead by Lloyd.
Compares well with Terry's (1926) presentation.
The line "I promised her a golden ring/ she promised me that little thing" might be one of Lloyd's lines that Hugill didn't care for.

Billy Riley
Lead by Lloyd.
Seems based in C Fox Smith, lyrics-wise, but Lloyd's melody doesn't appear in print. (MacColl later did a rendition after Terry's collection of John Short.)
Caribbean-oriented.

...


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 07:39 PM

Brian - while 100EFS may favour modal tunes, in EFS Some Conclusions, Sharp does give his opinion that:

The majority of our English folk-tunes, say two thirds, are in the major or ionian mode. The remaining third is fairly evenly divided between the mixolydian, dorian and aeolian modes, with, perhaps, a preponderance in favour of the mixolydian. These figures have been compiled from an examination of my own collection ; but, I believe, they accord approximately with the experiences of other collectors.


In Karpeles' Cecil Sharp's Collection of EFS, she gives the numbers for her selection as:

Major 619 (53%), Mix 139(12%), Others with maj3 168 (14%)
With minor: 3rd Dor 105(9%), Ael 57(5%), Others 29(2%)
Others 58(5%)

(Total 1175, wrongly given as 1165 in intro. Percentages rounded).

So even she doesn't get a distribution according with the figures from Conclusions.


I don't know whether Sharp's figures in Conclusions were just what he felt, or if he did a rigorous count. Or even if anyone has done a rigourous count!

Mick


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 08:28 PM

Black Ball Line
Lead by MacColl.
After Colcord.

Blood Red Roses
Lead by Lloyd.
After Doerflinger, but seems to be with multiple changes by the singer.

Blow Boys Blow
Lead by MacColl.
Melody perhaps after Terry. The lyrics here are interesting: "Where fever makes the White man shiver." I don't see this idea anywhere accept in Hugill SfSS (1961). MacColl's recording seems to have been 1960 or earlier. I'd suspect one got it from the other. For reasons I won't elaborate here, I actually think Hugill may have took it from MacColl.

...

"Sailboat Malarkey" must be the Bahamian song Hugill was talking about.


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 08:48 PM

Blow the Man Down
Lead by Corbet.
Compares well with Colcord and Terry.

Bowline
Lead by Lloyd.
After Colcord, etc.

Bring 'em Down
Lead by Lloyd.
Evidently adapted from Jekyl's collection of Jamaican songs. See here:
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=121396

...


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 09:03 PM

Gal with the Blue Dress On
Lead by Lloyd.
I don't have this one -- I'm guessing it follows Hugill (the album came out in 1962)

General Taylor
Lead by Lloyd.
I don't have this one -- I'm guessing it follows Hugill (the album came out in 1962)

Hilo John Brown
Lead by MacColl.
I don't have it. If it's anything like Killen's rendition, then it's straight outta Hugill.

...


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 09:24 PM

Hilo Somebody
Lead by Lloyd.
I don't have it. Must be after either Terry or Hugill.

Jamboree
Lead by Lloyd.
I don't know the source, and I suspect Lloyd fooled around with this one a bit.
The melody is similar to what's in Terry, but I suppose it might sound more "modal" because of the harmonization. Incidentally, the Spinners' version, in which I think the traditional melody was inadvertently changed, sounds more modal to me.

Paddy Doyle
Lead by both.
Harmonizing the lead is a weird choice.

...


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 10:32 PM

Rise her Up (Whiskey O)
Lead by MacColl.
Could only be from Doerflinger, though they messed with it and reshaped it a lot. Spliced it with "Whiskey Johnny."

Sally Brown
Lead by Lloyd.
Haven't heard it. Will update once I find a copy.

Sally Racket
Lead by Lloyd.
Melody as in Moby-Dick film's "Hill and Gully Rider". Lloyd may have spliced in words from Terry's "Cheerl'y Man" (as Hugill did also do). Overall, not too much different than what Hugill claims to have gotten from Harding.

Santiana
Lead by Lloyd.
Some inspiration from Doerflinger, but Lloyd's own tweaks.

Stormalong (way, hey, mister stormalong)
Lead by MacColl.
So close to Hugill's SfSS, and no other versions found. Yet this was recorded several years before Hugill's book. They must have been collaborating. Perhaps Hugill coached MacColl on the yelps.

Wild Goose Shanty (?)
Lead by Lloyd.
Unique to the collection of, or made up (e.g. from Terry's "The Bully Boat") by Lloyd.

...


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 10:45 PM

I forgot from the list:

South Australia
Lead by MacColl.
It's my opinion that he worked this up from Doerflinger...a careless reading... and that's what spawned the revival version.


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Jul 12 - 03:45 AM

Couple of quick comments:

""Sailboat Malarkey" must be the Bahamian song Hugill was talking about."
Included on an album of field recordings from the Bahamas (I think it is also on one of the Lomax series)
I have the Bahaman album somewhere - not got round to digitising it yet.
I think Roy Harris also recorded it - though he may have sung it at the Singers Club.

"Blow Boys Blow
Lead by MacColl.
Melody perhaps after Terry. The lyrics here are interesting: "Where fever makes the White man shiver.""

One of the few shanties I partially remember from my grandfather's singing

Was you ever on the Congo river,
Where fever makes the white man shiver.

A Yankee ship sailed up the river
Her masts and spars they shone like silver.

What do you think we had for dinner?
Blind scouse pie and donkey's liver.

What do you think we had for supper?
?????

Who do you think was the first mate of her?
Tommy Brown the n***** lover.

Who do you think was the captain of her
??????

Blow me boys and blow forever,
Blow her down the Congo River

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Brian Peters
Date: 07 Jul 12 - 05:26 AM

Mick, thank you for those additonal stats on modal tunes. Very interesting. I probably need to do a more careful recount, but according to my initial count, 100 EFS contains 45 tunes with the minor 3rd - way ahead of either Sharp or Karpeles' estimates.


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 07 Jul 12 - 07:48 AM

Brian - I just remembered that Green's intro to my 1970 reprint of Kidson TT also gives some stats for that:

Major 66(61%), Tetratonic 1(1%), Pentachordal/tonic 3(3%), Hexachordal/tonic 17(16%), Ael 3(3%), Dor 6(6%), Mix 4(4%),
Other 9(8%).

The major count is in line with Sharp's Conclusions' estimates. It's harder to say for the rest without looking more closely at the hex ones to see which sort they are.

If Sharp is right about the estimates from his complete collection, you, and others above, may be right about a bias towards non-major in the selections.

Mick


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 07 Jul 12 - 08:36 AM

Jim, thanks so much for posting your grandfather's lyrics. Roughly when did he learn them?

They are extremely similar to MacColl's, the biggest difference being the "blind scouse pie."

Correction: Topic's "Leviathan" album is not the same as Riverside's "There She Blows"/"Whaling Ballads," which Hugill seems to have overlooked.

MacColl and Seeger aren't on it, but Martin Carthy and other future stars are.


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Jul 12 - 09:10 AM

"Roughly when did he learn them?"
I think it would have have been around the beginning of the last century - I understand he was one of the founder members of the seaman's branch of The Workers Educational Association.
Interestingly, he and my grandmother were fanatical anti-racists (my grandmother was arrested for throwing a brick at Mosely), yet he had no compunction singing "n*****" - not a term I've ever been commfortable with.
He also sang 'Johnny come down from Hilo' which started:

"I've never seen the like since I was born,
As a big buck n***** with his sea-boots on."

The Bulgine was another one of his.
I wasn't interested enough at the time to memorise his songs, but unknown to me, my father's brother, my Uncle Gerry remembered most of them and sang them at the whitby Folk Festival - I didn't find this out until after he died.
I've alwys dreamed of finding that somebody recorded them from him - and regretted I didn't.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 07 Jul 12 - 10:05 AM

Thanks, Jim.

I hate realizing years later that I should have done something simple and obvious long ago. But as a friend of mine used to say, "That's life in the swamp."


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 Jul 12 - 01:03 PM

Jim,
Until WWII the N word wasn't particularly seen as a racist word in Britain, hence the perfectly widely used saying 'N in a woodpile'. Dark-skinned people used this word to describe themselves and all sorts of innocent expressions included the word. I think the word started to be recognised as a derogatory word when the white American servicemen came over in WWII and used it in this way. Therefore there is no anomally over your anti-racist granparents using it.

BTW I have been going to Whitby since the second festival in the late 60s. It's a long shot but I just might know people who have old recordings of what went on in the early festivals, or have memories of your uncle. What was his name please and where was he from?


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Jul 12 - 02:24 PM

Thanks Steve
His name was Gerry Carroll - it would have been some time in the early 90s he was there I think
I'm not sure whether he was a guest or not, but he did get a sizeable spot I believe
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Brian Peters
Date: 07 Jul 12 - 02:51 PM

"In Karpeles' Cecil Sharp's Collection of EFS, she gives the numbers for her selection as..."

Mick, can I double check (since I haven't got that collection): are those figures from Karpeles regarding modal tunes derived from the songs she included in the book, or from Sharp's collection as a whole?

Thanks again for those figures from Kidson.

Apologies for thread drift, but it's not entirely irrelevant!


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 07 Jul 12 - 03:29 PM

Brian - those are for the selection she made for the 2 vol published collection. In the introduction she says:

...he noted nearly 3,300 tunes [footnote: In addition he noted nearly 1700 tunes in the Southern Appalachian Mountains...making a total of nearly 5,000 tunes]. Of these about 480 are dance tunes, 180 singing-games, and 170 chanteys, leaving about 2,470 songs and ballad-tunes.

It is from this last that the present selection is taken. It consists of 1165 tunes (413 separate titles) and though it numbers somewhat less than half the tunes that were noted it may nevertheless be said to represent the corpus of the collection


She goes on to categorize the omitted as: 1) Versions with only slight differences from included, 2) tunes only partly remembered, 3) songs of doubtful traditional provenance 4) a few noted from Irish immigrants in Marylebone W/H considered alien 5) a number of songs with commonplace tunes accompanied by texts which are corrupt, fragmentary, or of little interest (..mostly of the Come all ye type).


The figures from Conclusions seem to be Sharp's estimates from his whole collection. But since Conclusions was published in 1907 I don't know what proportion of his songs had been collected by then. It's possible the distribution he gave there might be altered in the full set of songs he collected (Karpeles gives 1903-1923, the year he died, as the dates he collected).

Mick


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 Jul 12 - 06:17 PM

Jim
I've kept records like programmes and news letters of all the Whitby Festivals so I'll check these first.


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 07 Jul 12 - 11:09 PM

I've have now heard Lloyd's "Sally Brown" (thanks to a friend) and it's as I was suspecting: the unusual melody that Lloyd was being called out on was simply the one prominent collected version that differs a good degree from others. This was a rendition sung by ex-sailor Charles Robbins, age 66, in 1908 to Cecil Sharp. Sharp first presented it in a journal article, then included it in his big chanty collection of 1914. Here is me singing it, so that one can hear the melody notated by Sharp:
"Sally Brown" of Robbins

My working hypothesis is that the unusual sound of this melody -- in which some degrees of the scale are sometimes major, sometimes minor -- reflected the phenomenon of blue notes. Sharp, as far as I know, did not have "blue notes" in his frame of reference. He merely made an effort to notated what he'd heard within the categories of his musical system. To his credit, he did try to notate the melodies rather precisely, whereas other collectors might "normalize" them. I think what happened in this and some other chanties that were collected is that neutrally-pitch or blue notes were sung, after which the collector, out of necessity, forced these notes into major or minor. When one (e.g. Lloyd) then goes to read the notation, one realizes the reified categories of the collector. Anyway...

Hugill is claimed to have said, in the above quoted passage,

Bert did 'Sally Brown' but not the normal version, not the way any sailor ever did it.

He was essentially incorrect; Bert sang it as the sailor Robbins, albeit rendered from notation, but a notation that was more accurate than Hugill's, FWIW. OK, so it sounded weird to Hugill, and we can understand why.

What irks me, however, is that Hugill reproduced, verbatim, the Robbins variation of "Sally Brown" in his book! He didn't even know it was there, I guess (since he seems not to have been able to read music, and just threw it in there with a vague idea of what it was like). And you know what? The album on which Lloyd sang this was one that was created after Hugill's book came out and which clearly utilized Hugill's book for some things. Lloyd may even have got this "Sally Brown" right out of Hugill's book.


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 08 Jul 12 - 12:48 AM

My purpose in listing and providing short notes with the Lloyd/MacColl shanties was to consider them in concrete terms, rather than as a vague impression. Now, people who know me might know that I am not a huge fan of some of the stuff they did with/to chanties. But I think those are separate issues. The issue for me at the moment is Hugill's criticism of them, which I have come to the conclusion is largely bullshit.

All the weird shanties they put over are good, perhaps, depending on which way you look at them. But for Bert they had to be modal, they had to be Mixolydian, they had to be Dorian.

After looking at the individual songs, I don't see much that could be considered modal. More importantly, the songs -- the great majority, if not perhaps all -- seems as though they were probably worked up from one of a few common media sources. These sources contained reasonably common and acceptable melody forms, of which Hugill gives tacit approval by also putting them in his book. They are not funky variations from left field, or, at least, they were sung by someone in tradition.

That being said, some of Lloyd/MacColl's renditions differed melodically from their sources in one of two ways. The first was if they inadvertently mis-read the notation. If this was the case, they might subject the melody to their own preferred sort of melody. An example of this is "Hilo John Brown" (which I noted above I had not heard, but now I have). Lloyd changes the ending melodic figure into something (which I've noted in several revival interpretations of chanties now) that might be called sort of "modal".

The second was, I think, they approached the reading of notation very roughly. There will be those who argue that their melodies differ from print sources because they were learned differently, in oral tradition. But I think it is more likely that they used the book sources and yet felt it wasn't all that important to follow the melodies precisely. They just didnt make the effort, perhaps being of the opinion that it didnt matter much. (Does it?) A fairly extreme example of this is their "South Australia". Let's face it -- the hyper-detailed and -variable melody in Doerflinger isn't all that easy to render if your sight-reading skills aren't great. Yet Hugill also did this "make up any melody you want" thing, e.g. in his "Shiny O". Yet whatever L/M made up/fudged by way of melody, I still don't hear much "weird/modal" stuff.

An additional irony may be that numerous notations in Hugill's book are messed up. He has certain phrases of songs (.e.g. in "Hilo Johnny Brown") misplaced, on the wrong ledger lines. Anyone who would try to sing from those notations would come up with a weird or modal tune!

The one place where I can try to agree with this criticism of Hugill's in in the harmonizing done by L/M. I think the style of harmony they used may not have been characteristic of historic chanteying and, to my ears, gives it a weird sound.

They never sang the songs the real sailors sang: 'The Rio Grande', 'Shenandoah', 'The Banks of the Sacramento'… Those were the songs the sailors sang but they never looked at them.

This is a valid observation. L/M did ca.26/27 shanties. I have my own list of the ca. 27 most noted chanties. The overlap is 5 items. That does seem a bit low.

Bert did 'Sally Brown' but not the normal version, not the way any sailor ever did it.

I've explained in the post above why this was an incorrect and perhaps hypocritical statement.

He sang a Bahamian boatman's rowing song as a deepwater shanty, but it was never sung in deepwater. It was only collected once in the early '60s but Bert's version had extra verses that he must have written.

Lloyd didn't do this until the 70s. By this time, we had Harlow's book with stevedore songs, Abrahams' and Beck's books with Caribbean songs, Lomax's recordings from the 60s and more awareness of his 30s recordings, etc. Revival performers since then have many times performed non-deepwater worksongs that they discovered in various sources. Perhaps people became more willing to include these songs under the larger rubric of "shanty." Perhaps, too, they are excited and inspired by the availability of actual recordings -- a way to learn from authentic performances. If Lloyd wanted to sing some of these songs, why not? Didn't Hugill include someone of these *seeming* marginal songs in his collection? And why wouldn't they add they own lyrics? Isn't that what Hugill does all throughout his book?

'Little Sally Racket' came from a collection of Jamaican folk songs and, again, was not the version sung by sailors."

I've not yet found the collection he is referring to. Lloyd used the "Hilly and Gully" melody. But when Hugill presents the song, he also says it is similar to "Hill and Gully." Hugill indicates only that he got it from Harding, so to say "sung by sailors" seems disingenuous.

Leaving aside Hugill's criticism, I personally think the shanties most tinkered with or mis-interpreted, in a regrettable way (although all not equally so) by L/M are:

Wild Goose Shanty
South Australia
Rise Her Up (so-called Whiskey Johnny)
Bring 'em Down
Blood Red Roses
Hilo John Brown

Others may not be historically authentic, but they are quite acceptable (and good, IMO) as what they are: revival performances.

I'd be glad to elaborate on any of those.


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Jul 12 - 09:18 AM

Gibb,
'it didn't matter much. (did it?)
In accordance with my last post, it surely doesn't matter at all. In all of L&M's RECORDING output they were ENTERTAINERS. They were not pretending to be seamen. I doubt if MacColl had ever been aboard and Lloyd only went for a sample run on a modern whaler with NO SAILS.

FWIW I posted this a few years ago. Bert claimed to have collected a version of 'Heave away me Johnny' from a Hull seaman when he sailed out of Hull. The words of this pertaining to Hull are not what any person from Hull would ever have sung. I can go into detail if you like. The song IMHO was written by Bert.


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 08 Jul 12 - 10:08 AM

"South Australia" may have been written by Lloyd as well.

I wouldn't be as charitable as Steve. L & M presentedthemselevs as much more than simple entertainers: their extensive sleeve notes, their learned references to scholarly sources, their (deserved) air of unusual knowledgability advertises them as being dedicated to documentary authenticity, particularly in the '50s, when nobody but a relatibe handful of academics and aficionados had the slightest idea of what English folksong, including shanties, was all about.

They were great singers. They hooked me on the subject. They could also be good scholars when they wanted to be.

Unfortunately that was not all the time, and they sometimes got very sloppy if not downright misleading - though by non-academic standards their transgressions were harmless, if occasionally tawdry (I'm thinking especially of Lloyd's blithe anglifying of American whaling songs he got from Colcord, though that was early in his career).

I doubt that Hugill was guilty of either "hypocrisy" or "bullshit." He was not a trained scholar, and like most people he often spoke off the cuff, basing his remarks on impressions and recollections that he may not have scrutinized. As he says frankly in the intro to SSS, he never wrote down the songs he learned at sea until he started writing his book in the 1950s. After thirty years of being away from sail, and without graduate training in textual criticism, it's no surprise that his texts are sometimes a hodgepodge of what he genuinely learned, what he made up at sea or in a German POW camp, and what he picked up as presumably genuine from shanty books. It would be easy to confuse these things, just as it would be easy for a busy amateur to edit some songs more rigorously than others. He may even have relied heavily on memory when writing down verses he got from print. Why not? Think of the time saved. And of course shantymen varied even established words somewhat when singing.

Hugill is outspokenly skeptical of many of Davis & Tozer's texts for being too drippily sentimental. Yet I believe he also mentions somewhere that his father owned a copy and thought it was a fine collection. (And we know that Stanley Slade, of the generation preceding Hugill's, recorded some of D&T's versions. His own preference? The BBC's requirement? It would be good to know.)


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Jul 12 - 10:38 AM

""South Australia" may have been written by Lloyd as well."
Doubt it - though he may have been an infant prodigy - it was collected in the 1920s
As has been pointed out, as far as 'sloppy scholarship' and misinformation is concerned, these people were performers; it was only when they made unsubstantiated and inaccurate scholastic claims of the songs they introduced "this is typical of the 18th English repertoire" was one of Bert's favourite types of statement, when we now know he got many of his songs from Canadian or Irish collections, for instance.
MacColl's introductions tended to be leads in to the appreciation of the songs as performed pieces rather than the passing on of scholarly information - we have enough recorded live performances of his to know this to be a fact (not to say he couldn't bullshit with the best of them).
"I doubt that Hugill was guilty of either "hypocrisy" or "bullshit."
The half dozen times I saw Hugill perform I came away with the impression of somebody desperate to show he knew more than anybody else on the planet about sea songs - he straddled the revival and the tradition like the feller who used to stand outside Rhodes Harbour - a performer to a T.
Jim Carroll.


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 08 Jul 12 - 11:58 AM

I meant the "Nancy Blair" words he sang and the especially lively tune he used.


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 08 Jul 12 - 12:17 PM

> came away with the impression of somebody desperate to show he knew more than anybody else on the planet about sea songs

I wouldn't put it quite that way. Especially since he may *well* have known more than anybody else, at least about English-language shanties. That's not to say he was infallible, or that he thought he was. He certainly doesn't lay down inviolable rules in his books, nor did he in person.

Hugill was, after all, one of the very last active shantymen in the English-speaking world, and no matter how his style and repertoire may have been modified over the decades, I believe he did his best to give an accurate picture of shantying. Because he'd learned shantying as a teenager, I think it unlikely that his basic style or repertoire changed significantly.

Though I met him only twice, my impression of Hugill was of a natural but serious-minded extravert who was determined equally to put on a good show and to inform an interested audience as accurately as he could about genuine shanty singing.


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 08 Jul 12 - 02:03 PM

I feel like you guys are drifting a bit towards overall or general assessments of Hugill and Lloyd. Both have positives and negatives -- and good reasons for any shortcomings. It gets muddled, in my opinion, when we judge them by different standards in order to give more or less emphasis to positives or negatives.

I am trying to stick to the specifics (though not always succeeding). My allegation of bullshit and hypocrisy doesn't apply to Hugill overall. It's just directed at his specific words in the 'Bert' biography.

I think these words need critique because they can easily be taken for granted. Hugill enjoyed the position of being able to cast doubt on the authenticity or quality of any Revival singer's performance. I think most people would read this passage at face value, as something that confirmed their understanding that Stan was The Man and that Lloyd, naturally, could not measure up fully. While we can't "blame" any one for speaking off the cuff, in this case Hugill's off the cuff statement (if that's what it was) creates a picture of Lloyd and MacColl that I think is unjustified and yet will be believed by most readers.

While Hugill and Lloyd were very different in important ways, in this case, Lloyd either didn't do some of what Hugill exaggeratingly claims or else what he did was no different than what Hugill himself had done. I object to the way that what amounts to a statement of Hugill's personal preferences or tastes as a performer seem to be made superior under the guise of authenticity. If there were circumstantial reasons for Hugill's shortcomings, then there were circumstantial shortcomings for Lloyd's, too. In all, I wish both these fellows had just said "I don't know", "I'm not sure", and "My opinion is" more often!


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 08 Jul 12 - 02:05 PM

Dare I also say that I think Hugill adopted some of Lloyd's refashioned "South Australia"?


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Jul 12 - 03:03 PM

As a researcher, once reasonable doubt has been cast on a collector/authority I tend to avoid their works for serious research, with perhaps the exception of 'Traveller Songs from England and Scotland' which I have been unable to find fault with.

However, as a singer I do sing MacColl's songs, and Lloyd's reworked songs, because I like what they did with them. They were very talented people. I'm pretty certain also that some of the many chanties I sing, Hugill had a hand in. As I am a revival singer, none of this bothers me in the slightest.

From postings on the Ballad List, which Jonathan is a member of, I must admit to occasionally being amused when members take L&M's Child Ballads as serious versions.

If I wanted to know something really learned about chanties I'd come here first before going to Hugill.


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 08 Jul 12 - 04:58 PM

> I wish both these fellows had just said "I don't know", "I'm not sure", and "My opinion is" more often!

Yeah, but how many do you know who actually say that?


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Jul 12 - 03:50 AM

"amused when members take L&M's Child Ballads as serious versions."
As far as I understand it, both of them never hid the fact that they re-worked and collated ballad texts, as have most revival singers I have met (that's what they both were).
The problem with Bert is that he was regarded as a serious folk song scholar, (even though he was sometimes 'economical with the truth' regarding his scholarship), I was never aware that MacColl was regarded in the same way.
MacColl's major contribution was in evolving a system of voice production and applied it to the singing of folk songs, which, alas, has never been examined outside of the confines of the Critics Group.
As far as sea songs are concerned, did either of them make misleading pronouncements on the shanties they sang or did they do what all of the revivalists do way back then, and just sing them, wherever they got them and whatever they did to them?
I seem to remember (could check if I need to) that all the sea albums they did came with extremely sparse notes.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 09 Jul 12 - 10:48 AM

> all the sea albums they did came with extremely sparse notes.

It depends what you mean by "sparse." Typically most of the back of the sleeve was covered in small print, with a general introduction and each song commented upon, generally by Lloyd.

They were "sparse" in terms of academic information, but appeared to the uninstructed (like me) to be the last word in scholarship.

Example, from "Off to Sea Once More" (1956):

"STORMALONG Romantic writers imagine the hero of this shanty as a legendary giant, a seafaring Paul Bunyan. He has become as much a figure of marine folklore as Davy Jones or Mother Carey. However, some old Cape Horners declare that Stormalong was a real man named John Willis, of Eyemouth, Berwickshire, who was one of the greatest of early nineteenth century West Indiaman skippers. There are two quite distinct versions of this shanty, one for halyards, the other, as here, for manning the capstan or the pumps."

Just the fact of the notes, and their detail, proclaims that this is the real thing, with factual commentary by genuine experts. Rarely did either MacColl or Lloyd say frankly that they'd changed anything. (An important exception are the collations in Riverside's multi-disk "The English and Scottish Popular Ballads," all of which are evidently acknowledged, possibly under the influence of PhD editor Ken Goldstein.)

Of course, maybe I was an exceptionally naive youth to trust anybody in show biz, regardless of how much history and folklore they could cite. However, neither the Clancy Bros., nor the Dubliners, enormously popular "folk" acts of the era, supplied comparable notes. And L & M's signature, unaccompanied singing, or singing with "folky" instruments like the concertina, appeared to be yet another stamp of authenticity.

I don't want to make too much of this, but many future scholars listened to L & M's albums with complete confidence that they were as close to 19th C. folk singing as a 20th C. human could get.

BTW, just how "prominent" *were* Stormy, Davy Jones, and Mother Carey in marine folklore? My impression is that they were, essentially, names or phrases only. (Though "Davy Jones" is said specifically to have been a name for the devil.)


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 09 Jul 12 - 12:57 PM

Lighter--

Can you please confirm that _Off to Sea Once More_ was 1956? I ask just for my own info. Someday I'd like to arrange the recorded chanties on a timeline. I'm particularly interested in the issue of interaction between Hugill and Lloyd/MacColl/others.


"Stormalong" seems intriguing in this regard. It is quite a distinct version of the song that MacColl is singing -- one which I don't recall seeing anywhere before Hugill. Some of the historical references to "Stormalong" by title alone might be referring to this version. And some of the song texts without tune could be, though I cannot really get them to scan. Hugill published it in 1961, saying he'd got it from Harding the Barbadian.

The question then would be, where did MacColl get it? His matches Hugill's quite well. The most likely answer is that MacColl learned it personally from Hugill by 1956. One supposes Hugill sang it for him, perhaps emphasizing the vocal "breaks" that characterize MacColl performance and which Hugill notes in SfSS directly before the song. This would be interesting though because I'm not sure Hugill was ever known to perform this song later on; indeed, he seemed to avoid chanties that required a "bluesy" expression.

The other possibility, that Hugill learned it from MacColl, seems too bizarre to consider. What isn't so far fetched though is if Hugill taught it to MacColl, MacColl put his own spin on it, and then that interpretation had some influence on Hugill's published version.

In any case, this seems to be evidence that Hugill and MacColl (and maybe Lloyd) had interacted in the '50s. Unless I am missing something.


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Jul 12 - 05:04 PM

I've always assumed the British revival started in the 60s which is when most of us got involved. I knew that L&M and a few others were involved in folk by then but I assumed more in isolation. Is there an authoritative book on the British folk scene in the 50s? I have Journeyman and the Joan Littlewood biography.

I too would be interested to know if Hugill interacted with the folk scene at an early stage in the 50s or even earlier. We used to have Stan and Bob Roberts doing workshops together at our Hull whaling festivals in the late 60s early 70s.


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 09 Jul 12 - 05:52 PM

From the "Rare Caribbean shanties" thread, 2009:

Re Lloyd and Hugill before 1961:

Hugill writes that in the mid '50s he "contacted the Folk Song Department of the B.B.C." and "recorded several of the rarer shanties for their Permanent Records Library." He "also became known at Cecil Sharp House, the headquarters of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, where I was asked to give talks on the subject of shantying and shanties and where I met many well-known collectors ofsea-songs and shanties, with whom I exchanged notes on the subject."

Hugill even refers to "an excellent recording of sixteen sea-songs (forebitters) and shanties sung in fine imitation of the true style, and in particular the Liverpool seaman's style." This must be the Topic LP "The Singing Sailor," issued 1956/57, featuring Lloyd, MacColl, and the actor Harry Corbett

http://www.informatik.uni-hamburg.de/~zierke/lloyd/records/thesingingsailor.html

"Stormalong John" appeared on the 1957 Topic sequel, "The Black Ball Line," with MacColl as shantyman.   

It thus seems probable after all that Lloyd and MacColl got "Stormalong John" directly from Hugill rather than the other way around.

MacColl's "hitches" in the shanty (probably never heard before on a commercial shanty recording) are more likely to be from Hugill's influence than to be a component of an elaborate counterfeit.

The simplest explanation seems to be that "Stormalong John" came to MacColl from Harding via Hugill.

I don't believe Hugill would ever have claimed he'd learned "Stormalong John" from Harding if in fact he'd only heard it on a "revival" record (or even on a B.B.C. recording) just a few years earlier.


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 09 Jul 12 - 06:54 PM

> I met many well-known collectors of sea-songs and shanties, with whom I exchanged notes on the subject.

Among these, presumably, were Lloyd & MacColl. How many other shanty "collectors" were there in the mid '50s? How many of them were "well-known" in the '60s?


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Jul 12 - 12:24 PM

Who else was still collecting in Britain in the 50s, Lomax? Ennis? Kennedy? When I get time I'll have a look through the Journals for that period.


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Jul 12 - 12:54 PM

It makes me wonder who would be the market/audience for such productions in Britain c1956/7 as I always thought the revival in Britain didn't take off until the early 60s. There were no folk clubs, or festivals of the sort we know today. There were EFDSS festivals but these were mainly dance and very much a middle class affair.


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Snuffy
Date: 10 Jul 12 - 01:31 PM

Steve,

Hugill's "many well-known collectors of sea-songs and shanties, with whom I exchanged notes on the subject" were not necessarily still collecting in the 50s and 60s.

He could well have met people like Percy Grainger at CSH in that period: although his shanty collecting was now many years in the past, Grainger certainly qualifies as "well-known"

What happened to Hugill's notes and correspondence?


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Jul 12 - 03:18 PM

"It makes me wonder who would be the market/audience for such productions in Britain c1956/7 "
There seems to have been an on-going interest in shanties throughout the first half of the 20th century.
Remembering Hugill's pointing out the international nature of shanties, the Library of Congress was recording sea songs and shanties from New York, Wisconsin, Virginia and California as early as 1939.
Whall published in 1910 and again in 1920, Colcord in 1925 and Doerflinger in 1951.
Stanley Slade was first recorded in 1943 and it was thought there to be enough of an audience for HMV to issue his singing commercially.
Incidentally, the late Tom Munnelly wrote a fascinating long article on Irish sea songs which contains a very evocative description of on of the great blind storytellers, Henry Blake, hearing the crew of a sailing ship sailing out of the Shannon estuary singing shanties - I'm pretty sure Tom said that none were collected in Ireland.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Jul 12 - 06:15 PM

JIm
Yes and I suppose Sharp's/Terry's chanteys, or at least some of them, were constantly available through the community song books like The Daily Express one.

Is there a date on the Blake reminiscence? Of course the seamen could have been from anywhere. There are plenty of sea songs in the Healy books but I don't recall any chanteys.


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 10 Jul 12 - 07:56 PM

> I'm pretty sure Tom said that none were collected in Ireland.

Certainly my impression. The current "revival" assumption, however, seems to be that most shanties are somehow Irish.

Maybe the Clancys contributed inadvertently to this idea.


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Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jul 12 - 03:16 AM

"Is there a date on the Blake reminiscence?"
Not as far as I know - this is the extract.
Jim Carroll

"How relevant, then, is the shanty to the Irish tradition? One can only speculate at this stage, but shanties were certainly not unknown to the Irish. The late Henry Blake of Kilbaha, in Loop Head, County Clare, had this to say:

Henry Blake: Sea shanties ?

Tom Munnelly: Aye. Now where did you hear them?

HB: Oh I heard them singin' them alright, you know. Santiago an'... It is with sailors I heard that; Santiana . . . Sally Brown, Homeward Bound, Goodbye Fare Thee Well. I remember them alright... Of course we were young and [didn't] take much
notice. But I have a memory of them. I heard the sailors on board the ship. ... So young Brennan [a pilot] and I took the captain off the Shannon, and Michael Brennan put him on board the ship. And they started to weigh anchor. And when they started to weigh anchor they started to sing the shanty Homeward Bound for Limerick Town.

TM: That was the same one as Goodbye Fare Thee Well was it?

HB: Yes, yes . . . It was lovely to listen to them. Of course they'd all [be] lovely singers, and ten, fifteen or twenty of them together singin', you see, 'twas lovely to hear them. I. . . very often heard them on the Island [i.e. laying off Scattery Island] when the ship'd be weighin' anchor on Scattery Roads. I wasn't out at all on the ship, but you could hear them on the island. You'd love to listen to them.

This recalls O'Curry's account of listening to Anthony O'Brien who shared a boat with his father on the same stretch of the Shannon estuary. The young O'Curry would stand on the shore to hear O'Brien singing Fenian lays:

So powerful was the singer's voice that it often reached the shores at either side of the boat in Clare and Kerry and often called the labouring men from the neighbouring fields at both sides down to the water's edge to enjoy the strains of such music".


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