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Conan Doyle re Chanties

Haruo 16 Dec 12 - 01:38 AM
Sandra in Sydney 16 Dec 12 - 01:48 AM
Gibb Sahib 16 Dec 12 - 02:23 AM
MGM·Lion 16 Dec 12 - 03:47 AM
Leadfingers 16 Dec 12 - 04:43 AM
MGM·Lion 16 Dec 12 - 05:02 AM
WindhoverWeaver 16 Dec 12 - 05:23 AM
MGM·Lion 16 Dec 12 - 06:27 AM
gnomad 16 Dec 12 - 07:41 AM
Leadfingers 16 Dec 12 - 09:27 AM
Haruo 16 Dec 12 - 09:57 AM
The Sandman 16 Dec 12 - 12:33 PM
katlaughing 16 Dec 12 - 01:04 PM
Gibb Sahib 16 Dec 12 - 02:25 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Dec 12 - 02:38 PM
Mark Ross 17 Dec 12 - 12:55 AM
Haruo 17 Dec 12 - 02:01 AM
Haruo 18 Dec 12 - 01:49 AM
GUEST,John Foxen 18 Dec 12 - 12:06 PM
Charley Noble 18 Dec 12 - 05:37 PM
Gibb Sahib 18 Dec 12 - 08:14 PM
Charley Noble 19 Dec 12 - 10:13 AM
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Subject: Conan Doyle re Chanties
From: Haruo
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 01:38 AM

Came into possession today of a copy of Bullen & Arnold's 1914 "Songs of Sea Labour (Chanties)", from which I quote Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's prefatory "Appreciation" (I hadn't realized that at age 20 he served as ship's surgeon on a whaler):

Dear Bullen,
………You have done real good national work in helping to preserve these fine old Chanties. Like yourself I have heard them many a time when I have been bending to the rhythm as we hauled up the heavy whaling boats to their davits. It is wonderful how their musical rise and fall, with the pull coming on the main note, lightened the labour. I fear in these days of steam winches that the old stamp-and-go of ten men on a rope is gone for ever. And yet your book will help to preserve it, and to those who know and can feel, there is a smack of salt spray in every line of these rude virile verses. To them once again will come back the creak of the blocks as the falls whine through them, and the dead heavy lurch as the boat jerks upwards. As I glance through your pages and see "On the plains of Mexico," "Blow the man down," or "Rio Grande," I can hardly think of any words or tunes that appeal more intimately to all the spirit of adventure that life has left in me. I only wish you were here to sing them yourself in your inimitable way.
Yours cordially,
ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE.
Windlesham,
………Crowborough,
………………Sussex.
………………………April 4th, 1914.

This appears to be a rare book; the only (used, unknown binding) copy Amazon shows is listed at $166. I do not intend to part with mine.


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Subject: RE: Conan Doyle re Chanties
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 01:48 AM

what a treasure!


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Subject: RE: Conan Doyle re Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 02:23 AM

Bullen's is one of the best "collections" of chanties. However, Doyle's characterization of it as "national work" is a bit off!


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Subject: RE: Conan Doyle re Chanties
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 03:47 AM

Something I find a bit puzzling here: ~~ was it common usage on whalers for the ship's surgeon to bear a hand on the hauling? I should have thought he would have ranked with the captain and mates in being only present in a supervisory role -- in his case in relation to the men's fitness for the task?

~M~


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Subject: RE: Conan Doyle re Chanties
From: Leadfingers
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 04:43 AM

I CAN see that a fit and active twenty year old would be prepared to 'try Anything' once so A C D having a go with the seamen , rather than standong aloof with the older officers seems perfectly reasonable


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Subject: RE: Conan Doyle re Chanties
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 05:02 AM

Probably so, LF. It would, I suppose, have depended on his captain whether he would have been permitted to join in & share some of the men's experience.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Conan Doyle re Chanties
From: WindhoverWeaver
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 05:23 AM

It would appear that not only did he probably help on the ropes, but actually went out in the small whaling boats! See here for some details.


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Subject: RE: Conan Doyle re Chanties
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 06:27 AM

What an adventurous young man! Interesting about the boxing, too.


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Subject: RE: Conan Doyle re Chanties
From: gnomad
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 07:41 AM

I suspect that the position of ship's surgeon to a whaler of the time would be a somewhat ambiguous one, status-wise. The calling of surgeon would be in change from the dreaded barber-surgeons of the 18th century to the respected professional of today.

His acceptance in post after just 3 years as a student, and in hurried replacement for another student at that (Part-qualified? I suspect this would be out of an intended 4 or 5 years, followed by supervised practice) suggests to me that only fairly basic surgical skills would be expected of him.

In the rough conditions pertaining on a 19th century whaler one might expect scant respect to be paid to an evidently fit young man if he failed to demonstrate his manliness, whatever his inclination.

Interesting to speculate, though, and a side of ACD of which I was previously unaware. Shows one reason why I still come here.


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Subject: RE: Conan Doyle re Chanties
From: Leadfingers
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 09:27 AM

We can ALL learn something from the threads here !


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Subject: RE: Conan Doyle re Chanties
From: Haruo
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 09:57 AM

I'll try to remember to post the table of contents here when I have time to type, unless it's already here and my search just somehow missed it. 40 Chanties and two "Sea Songs" (Spanish Ladies and Lowlands Low).


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Subject: RE: Conan Doyle re Chanties
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 12:33 PM

What larks, Pip old chap.


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Subject: RE: Conan Doyle re Chanties
From: katlaughing
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 01:04 PM

How wonderful to read about. Thanks for sharing with us!


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Subject: RE: Conan Doyle re Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 02:25 PM

If anyone wants to see the texts (no music) with commentary:

http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=128220#3185858
(wait for page to load)

It's not an elegant layout, but the benefit of what I've done is to take the notes pertinent to each song, scattered in the intro sections, and placed them before each song text. These notes are important, and even to read them in their original context (the intro/from matter) can be confusing.


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Subject: RE: Conan Doyle re Chanties
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Dec 12 - 02:38 PM

A copy of Bullen "Songs of Sea Labour" is online, digitizing sponsor Brigham Young University.

http://archive.org/details/songsofsealabour1914bull

Found copies for sale from $55 up. Also print to order.


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Subject: RE: Conan Doyle re Chanties
From: Mark Ross
Date: 17 Dec 12 - 12:55 AM

Here's todays LISTINGS from ABE;

Songs of Sea Labour (Chanties) With an Appreciation by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.


Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Conan Doyle re Chanties
From: Haruo
Date: 17 Dec 12 - 02:01 AM

Okay, $55 instead of $166 which is what I saw yesterday on Amazon. In any event, I'm thrilled to have come into its possession for free. ;-)


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Subject: CONTENTS of "Songs of Sea Labour"
From: Haruo
Date: 18 Dec 12 - 01:49 AM

INTRODUCTION.
THE MUSIC OF THE CHANTIES.
NOTES TO THE CHANTIES.
NOTES TO THE TWO SEA SONGS.
      WINDLASS AND CAPSTAN CHANTIES.
  1. MUDDER DINAH.
  2. SISTER SUSAN.
  3. TEN STONE.
  4. SHANANDOAH.
  5. SALLY BROWN.
  6. WALK ALONG, ROSEY.
  7. GOOD-BYE, FARE-YOU-WELL.
  8. STORMALONG.
  9. LEAVE HER, JOHNNY.
  10. ROLLING RIVER.
  11. A-ROVING.
  12. LOWLANDS AWAY.
  13. RIO GRANDE.
  14. POOR LUCY ANNA.
  15. SANTY ANNA.
  16. WHAT SHALL WE DO WITH A DRUNKEN SAILOR.
  17. POOR PADDY.
  18. OH! WHAT DID YOU GIVE FOR YOUR FINE LEG O' MUTTON.
  19. HOG-EYE MAN.
  20. CAN'T YOU DANCE THE POLKA.
  21. THE BANKS OF THE SACRAMENTO.
      HALLIARD CHANTIES.
  22. TOM'S GONE TO HILO.
  23. HANGING JOHNNY.
  24. ONE MORE DAY.
  25. BOUND TO ALABAMA.
  26. LIZA LEE.
  27. REUBEN RANZO.
  28. POOR OLD MAN (Dead Horse).
  29. HILO COME DOWN BELOW.
  30. BONEY WAS A WARRIOR (John François).
  31. BLOW THE MAN DOWN.
  32. COAL BLACK ROSE.
  33. WHISKEY JOHNNY.
  34. BLOW BOYS, BLOW.
  35. THE BULLGINE.
      FORE SHEET CHANTIES.
  36. HAUL THE BOWLIN'!
  37. DO MY JOHNNY BOWKER.
  38. HAUL AWAY JO.
      BUNT CHANTY.
  39. PADDY DOYLE'S BOOTS.
      SEA SONGS.
  40. FAREWELL AND ADIEU TO YOU SPANISH LADIES.
  41. LOWLANDS LOW.


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Subject: RE: Conan Doyle re Chanties
From: GUEST,John Foxen
Date: 18 Dec 12 - 12:06 PM

I've just downloaded a digital edition from Brigham Young. Many thanks to Mudcatters for pointing this out.


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Subject: RE: Conan Doyle re Chanties
From: Charley Noble
Date: 18 Dec 12 - 05:37 PM

Excellent discussion. I also have a copy of this book. The only fault I can find with it was that the editors believed there was no reason to print more than the first verse and chorus for each shanty. They believed that in general all other verses were ad hoc, either composed on the spot or borrowed from other shanties.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Conan Doyle re Chanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 18 Dec 12 - 08:14 PM

Charley--

Is that really a fault? If Bullen (an experienced (chantyman) says that was how it was, I believe him!

My opinion is that some of the later editors did some damage (inadvertent as it may have been) to the genre by leading people to think their verses constituted set material. (This is offset if someone, as Doerflinger did, makes it clear that all the verses presented just happened to be sung an a particular occasion by a particular individual).


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Subject: RE: Conan Doyle re Chanties
From: Charley Noble
Date: 19 Dec 12 - 10:13 AM

Gibb-

Not really a fault and certainly a point of view from an experienced shantyman, and he did provide musical notation.

However, I do like the fact that Hugill provided a whole list of follow-up verses for the shanties he featured, even if some of them were not unique, and alternative versions and melodies.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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