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Lyr Add: Chanteys in Greig-Duncan

Related thread:
Lyr Add: Chanteys in the R.W. Gordon papers (24)


Lighter 01 Jun 15 - 12:51 PM
Lighter 01 Jun 15 - 12:54 PM
Reinhard 01 Jun 15 - 01:47 PM
Lighter 01 Jun 15 - 02:45 PM
Steve Gardham 01 Jun 15 - 03:04 PM
Lighter 01 Jun 15 - 03:18 PM
Steve Gardham 02 Jun 15 - 04:07 AM
Steve Gardham 02 Jun 15 - 04:19 AM
Lighter 02 Jun 15 - 07:24 AM
Snuffy 05 Jun 15 - 06:56 AM
Lighter 05 Jun 15 - 07:37 AM
Lighter 05 Jun 15 - 08:12 AM
Gibb Sahib 05 Jun 15 - 08:28 AM
Lighter 05 Jun 15 - 10:44 AM
Steve Gardham 05 Jun 15 - 12:54 PM
Lighter 05 Jun 15 - 01:40 PM
Steve Gardham 05 Jun 15 - 06:40 PM
Gibb Sahib 05 Jun 15 - 07:06 PM
Lighter 06 Jun 15 - 03:38 AM
Lighter 06 Jun 15 - 03:48 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: Chanteys in Greig-Duncan
From: Lighter
Date: 01 Jun 15 - 12:51 PM

Working in Aberdeenshire around 1905, the Gavin Greig and the Rev. James B. Duncan collected thousands of songs and tunes. The songs were published in eight volumes, edited by Patrick Shuldham-Saw and Emily Lyle, beginning in 1981.

Remarkably, in spite of their ceaseless collecting activities, the published Greig-Duncan collection includes only a five chanteys (and four tunes), far less than one percent of the song total.

They may be of interest to chantey singers, and because published chanteys collected in Scotland are quite rare.

Three of the songs were collected from George Innes, Jr.


"Haul Away Your Bowline"

Haul away your bowline, our ship she is a-rolling,
Oh, haul away your bowline, your bowline haul!

Oh, haul away your bowline, our skipper he's a-growling,
Oh, haul away your bowline, your bowline haul!

Haul away that bowline, and belay, belay that bowline,
Oh, haul away that bowline, that bowline haul!

The first two stanzas seem like the most widely sung of all.
Interestingly, as the editors note, Innes's tune was not the usual one but the related but more melodic air of Lady Nairne's "Caller Herrin."


"Blow, Boys, Blow"

Blow today and blow tomorrow,
Blow, boys, blow!
And blow today and blow tomorrow,
Blow, my bully boys, blow!

Blow away our griefs and sorrows.

A Yankee ship sails down the river.

How do ye know she's a Yankee liner?

The Stars and Stripes they fly behind her.

She is one of the olden timers.

This suggests to me that any verses following that of the Stars and Stripes were likely to be improvised or idiosyncratic. Innes's tune is not much like the favorite popularized by MacColl and Lloyd. It is much closer to Colcord's, which is less dramatic and apparently was more frequent.


"Roll the Cotton Down"

Oh, across the west'ard I served my time,
Oh, roll the cotton down!
Oh, across the west'ard I served my time,
Oh, roll the cotton down!

Oh, it was in one of the Blackball line.

To the familiar tune, which is also used for the now popular but historically rare chantey, "The Alabama." Variants of these lines seem to have been among the most often sung chantey lines.


A fourth chantey came from Mrs. Margaret Gillespie:

"The Drunken Sailor"

What will we do wi' the drunken sailor? (3x)
Early in the mornin?

Oh, ro, an' up she rises (3x)
Early in the mornin.

The subtitle is "The Glasgow Lasses," so presumably Mrs. Gillespie had heard lines about them as well. Note "early" instead of the now compulsory "ear-lye."


"Good-bye, Farewell" from "Mr. Coolle" is a melody only. It may be an imperfect recollection of the familiar "Goodbye, Fare Ye Well," or it may be different tune altogether.

And from an unrecorded source, Greig and Duncan include

"Good-bye, fare ye well"

Good-bye, fare ye well,
Good-bye, fare-ye-well,
We're outward bound from Peterhead town.
Hurrah, by boys, we're outward bound.

This sounds like an attempt to recollect a fairly standard-form version with the "outward bound" line repeated. The chantey is now almost exclusively sung as "homeward bound," but at least one of Carpenter's singers preferred "outward." One could sing whichever was appropriate.

As is the case with almost all field collected chanteys, the solo line is sung just once per stanza in these examples, even when it rhymes with the solo in the following stanza.

The brevity of these texts again resembles that of many others. Extended versions presumably were made up mostly of improvised or borrowed lines. That's far from a novel observation, but it's worth emphasizing that the standardized versions of most chanteys, as sung today, were not very typical - though of course any chanteyman might customarily sing his own extended versions.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Chanteys in Greig-Duncan
From: Lighter
Date: 01 Jun 15 - 12:54 PM

A few obvious typos. Sorry.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Chanteys in Greig-Duncan
From: Reinhard
Date: 01 Jun 15 - 01:47 PM

And, strange as it is, these five chanteys are the very first five songs in the published Greig-Duncan collection.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Chanteys in Greig-Duncan
From: Lighter
Date: 01 Jun 15 - 02:45 PM

My guess is that they seemed somehow "primitive" and unlike GD's other sea songs, with which the collection begins.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Chanteys in Greig-Duncan
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Jun 15 - 03:04 PM

I'd say it was more likely singers would not offer them if they were asked for songs. I don't think many of the contributors were sea-going people although Aberdeen and Dundee were famous ports, but more for fishing. There is very little evidence that fishermen or British whalermen used shanties. Some no doubt used the skills they had to go further afield like the famous Storm family from Robin Hood's Bay.

It was mainly west/south coast Atlantic seamen who knew the shanties, hence the frequent mention of Liverpool. I've never heard a shanty that mentions Hull or Yarmouth and I'm not aware of shanties being collected in those places. The only shanties I ever recorded there were from an old Cape-Horner who was on the grain and meat ships but he was from London.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Chanteys in Greig-Duncan
From: Lighter
Date: 01 Jun 15 - 03:18 PM

Hi, Steve. I was only speculating about why they might be the first songs to appear in the published collection.

It's true that G&D's informants might not usually have thought of singing shanties, even if they knew them. They were in some ways more like chants than songs. Offhand I can think of only one especially Scottish shanty, namely "Highland Laddie."

> The only shanties I ever recorded there were from an old Cape-Horner who was on the grain and meat ships but he was from London.

Now, of course, you're obligated to post them.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Chanteys in Greig-Duncan
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Jun 15 - 04:07 AM

No problem.
They were pretty standard versions anyway.

From Ted Calcott aged 86 in June 1967. He was in the topsail riggers in the Argentine meat run.

As I was a strolling down Ratcliffe Highway
Hay o blow the man down
A trim little craft I met on my way
Give him some time to blow the man down.
(No more remembered, appears to be the start of a euphemistic version)

Rolling Home.

Pipe all hands to man the capstan
See the cable haul is clear
For tonight we weigh our anchor
And for England we will steer
Now, my men, clip on the braces
See those towlines running clear
For tonight we'll weigh our anchor
and for England we will steer
Rolling home, rolling home,
Rolling home across the sea
For tonight we'll weigh our anchor
Rolling home dear land to thee.

I'll send them separately due to the vagaries here. However you can actually listen to them at the BL Sound Archive, English Traditional Songs. Just put Ted Calcott in the search box.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Chanteys in Greig-Duncan
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Jun 15 - 04:19 AM

Whiskey is the life of man, Oh, whiskey, oh, Johnny
Whiskey is the life of man, Oh whiskey for me Johnny.

If the river was whiskey and I was a duck
I'd never stop swimming till I supped it up

Whiskey made me pawn me clothes
And whiskey got me a broken nose.

__________________---

I thought I heard the old man say
Hurrah fare thee well, hurrah fare thee well
I thought I heard the old man say
Hurrah me boys we're homeward bound
Then away....(forgotten)

______________________________

Blow boys blow for Californio
For there's plenty of gold so I've been told
On the banks of the Sacramento

________________________________

Shenandoah I love your daughter
Oh Shenandoah, I love the place where she makes water.

The other songs he sang were from the Music Hall c1900.

Just a few fragments of mainly standard pieces but it all adds to the knowledge.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Chanteys in Greig-Duncan
From: Lighter
Date: 02 Jun 15 - 07:24 AM

> it all adds to the knowledge.

Thanks, Steve. That's exactly right.

Those well-known "Shenandoah" lines must have gone to "Sally Brown" as well.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Chanteys in Greig-Duncan
From: Snuffy
Date: 05 Jun 15 - 06:56 AM

Note "early" instead of the now compulsory "ear-lye." Indeed: on the Carpenter recordings of Drunken Sailor published by Peter Kennedy, not a single one of them sing "ear-lye" either. Yet Hugill says:
"The word 'early' was always pronounced 'earl-eye'. Sailormen liked this sound, as can be seen from his pronunciation of 'California' in Sacramento -- 'Californi-eye-O'.
Was this a twentieth century innovation, or did the two pronunciations already co-exist in the heyday of sail?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Chanteys in Greig-Duncan
From: Lighter
Date: 05 Jun 15 - 07:37 AM

> did the two pronunciations already co-exist in the heyday of sail.

Hi, Snuffy. Unless we unearth a 19th century reference to the pronunciation, we'll never know.

From a purely practical standpoint, however, as Hugill (or somebody) observes, those "-eye" pronunciations are more forceful and therefore more expressive of effort.

To some people.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Chanteys in Greig-Duncan
From: Lighter
Date: 05 Jun 15 - 08:12 AM

Terry (the most popular source for performers before the '60s) may say something about "earleye," but I have no time to check.

Whall and Colcord simply print "early" without comment.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Chanteys in Greig-Duncan
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 05 Jun 15 - 08:28 AM

I've probably looked at as many period versions of "Drunken Sailor" as anybody, and I don't recall any of them indicating the "eye" thing.

I think Hugill was full of it. His claim that it was "always" pronounced that way is demonstrably wrong. We have access to all the text sources he had, and more. We don't have access to his lived experiences, but there is no compelling reason IMO to think he had any extensive exposure to this song in its original tradition (considering how much he relied on published texts). Even if he had heard some "authentic" singer do that, a single anecdote wouldn't mean much, especially without citation.

On the other hand, "Drunken Sailor" had already been "revived" and sung by "gentlemen" in their clubs before Hugill even went to sea; it was better known in Hugill's time as a popular song than a laborer's custom.

Burl Ives, on the other other hand, published it as "earl-eye" in 1956.

Sounds like folkie folklore to me.

Stuart Frank repeats the "it was always pronounced earl-eye" folklore in a 2000 publication. When I read that I felt like shaving his belly with a rusty razor.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Chanteys in Greig-Duncan
From: Lighter
Date: 05 Jun 15 - 10:44 AM

Some spare time suddenly yawned open and I was able to check my collection of 20+ pre-Hugill chantey books and articles.

Of course, as Gibb has pointed out, many were plagiarized to begin with.

But what I find bears out his post. *Nobody* prints "earleye" or anything like it. (That includes Doerflinger, who seems to have been meticulous.)

AS to the general principle, however: Of chantey collectors, both (but only) C. F. Smith and James Hatfield (who noted his few chanteys in 1886) agree that "Rio" in "Rio Grande" *always* (both emphasize this) pronounced 'Rye-o" rather than "Ree-o."

But that could be a different story. The pronunciation of Spanish and Portuguese words in English in the 19th century was usually completely anglicized (like lawyers' Latin has always been). So "Rye-o" "Grand" (note the anglication here as well) could be quite independent of "earl-eye."

What's also interesting is that "Drunken Sailor" appears in collections rather less frequently than one might expect.

Certainly the word in the 1950s was "earl-eye." Pete Seeger always sang "earl-eye."

As usual, blanket statements about folklore such as "always" should be avoided. But if Hugill had heard *only* "early"at sea, he wouldn't have said "always." Nor if (frightening thought) he'd learned the chantey from a Burl Ives record, would he have been likely to say "always," since *none* of his so-called "desk sources" recommended it.

The preponderance of the evidence (barely) is that Hugill did hear "ear-lye" at sea. But it may have been a late affectation after all, presumably influenced by "Rye-o" Grande.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Chanteys in Greig-Duncan
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Jun 15 - 12:54 PM

Is that (barelee) or (bareleye)?
I seem to remember Whall having something to say on this but I might be wrong. This affectation is not just in sea shanties though. You can see it in 19th century folksong when it occurs at the end of a line as a rhyme. I'm sure I've seen other threads on this.

Wreck of the Industry c1810
'We want no help,' again he cried
I'd thank you to move immediately(e)

Me messmates drowned and so must I
And down he went immediately(e)

Poor doggerel admittedly but it makes the point.
And that's how I sing it.

'So earleye in the morning crops up in lots of 19thc songs. It is so widespread that it is difficult to conceive of it only being a 20thc invention.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Chanteys in Greig-Duncan
From: Lighter
Date: 05 Jun 15 - 01:40 PM

You may be right about that, Steve. May mean nothing, but Lloyd liked to sing "w-eye-nd" for "wind."

I checked Whall's note on "Early in the Morning" as he calls it, but not his introduction. Stay tuned.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Chanteys in Greig-Duncan
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Jun 15 - 06:40 PM

Yorkshire dialect has a reversal of this.
They say blinnd for blind, finnd for find


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Chanteys in Greig-Duncan
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 05 Jun 15 - 07:06 PM

This affectation is not just in sea shanties though.
Steve, has it been established that this is an affectation of chanty singers? I've not seen it. And if I did, I'd suspect, as you say, that we are looking at an affectation of certain people of particular regions/dialects/etc of English, not a trait of the chanty genre.

Hugill seems to have bought into what I call the "sea exceptionalism" narrative. "Sailormen liked this sound, as can be seen from his pronunciation…" (Hugill). It's like talking about some exotic species, where every member of the class is essentially the same. ("The Eskimo has no concept of time.") When operating according to this narrative, instead of actually looking at the thing under study and assessing what you see, one picks out quirky things and amplifies them, to present to the "lay" audience and show how unique "sailors" are.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Chanteys in Greig-Duncan
From: Lighter
Date: 06 Jun 15 - 03:38 AM

It's called a "hasty generalization," and it used to be the norm in the liberal arts - of which compiling chantey books was one small branch.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Chanteys in Greig-Duncan
From: Lighter
Date: 06 Jun 15 - 03:48 AM

Another hasty conclusion is that "sailors" necessarily means "all sailors" or even "most sailors."


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