Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Printer Friendly - Home
Page: [1] [2] [3]


The origin of Sea Chanteys

Related threads:
L.A. Times article on S.F. chantey sing (34)
Stories/Shanties of Hjalmar Rutzebeck (20)
Shanty or Chantey? (142)
Lyr Add: Chanties of Capt. Tho. Forrest (13)
The Advent and Development of Chanties (833)
Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey) (51)
Deficit of Doerflinger on Wikipedia (15)
Annotated Bibliography on Sea Shanties (9)
sea shanties (110)
A Little-Known Shanty Collection (42)
Spanish sea shanties (25)
French Shanty Site (8)
'Obscenity' in Chanties/Shanties (29)
What your favorite sea shanty? (83)
Lyr Req: One More Pull (41)
Chanties Helped Win World War I (25)
(origins) Origins: Yangtse River Shanty (32)
What exactly is a sea shanty? (26)
Sea Chantey Lyrics, MIDI tunes, & MP3's (54)
Songs of the Sailor and Lumberman (169)
Cowell Collection Shanties (4)
Info: The Shanty Book (Richard Runciman Terry) (18)
Tempo for Chanties (12)
Lyr Add: Windlass Shanty-Lincoln Colcord Rework (12)
Lyr Req: French sea shanties (40)
What is a Shanty (79)
Help: What is a 'forebitter'? (54)
Lyr Req/Add: Alabama John Cherokee (12)
Happy! - July 30 (Doerflinger) (4)
Lyr Add: Larry Marr (shanty) (1)
Lyr Add: Windlass Chantey (8)
Lyr Add: Hi Rio, Randy-o! Shanty? (4)
Watered Down Shanties (33)
Who Said - Shanty worth 5 men? (30)
Sea Chanteys (shanteys) part two (3)
Lyr Req: Shantyman (Bob Watson) (14)
shanty sessions in U.K. (12)
New England Shanty Sessions (31)
Lyr Req: Whalen's Fate (Doerflinger version) (6)
Shanty Gathering Ideas for New England (26)
Lyr Add: Seafood Shop Chantyman's Song (5)
Chanties in Southern Maine (5)
Musical question (chantey types) (30)
Lyr Req: Strike Up the Band, Here Comes a Sailor (7)
Baggyrinkle - To Hull & Back (Shanty Festival) (58)
Lyr Req: Sea chantey:'...wouldn't do me any harm' (34)
help: Moby Dick shanty thread? (19)
Shantyfest at Mystic Seaport (3)
help a struggling student! - triple meter chant? (10)
Lyr Req: Seeking: 2 Shanties & 1 Traditional Folk (9)
Shanty background: Portland's Tunnels (32)
Rum, Sea Shanties and Women (27)
William Main Doerflinger 1909-2000 (15)


GUEST,Phil d'Conch 13 Sep 17 - 08:49 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Sep 17 - 09:51 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 12 Sep 17 - 07:37 AM
shipcmo 27 Mar 10 - 07:35 AM
Charley Noble 23 Nov 09 - 12:58 PM
Joe Offer 11 Mar 03 - 07:18 PM
Dead Horse 01 Dec 01 - 06:17 AM
Charley Noble 16 Jul 01 - 05:52 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 16 Jul 01 - 01:52 PM
GUEST,Marc Bridgham 16 Jul 01 - 07:08 AM
SeanM 27 May 01 - 06:32 PM
Charley Noble 27 May 01 - 04:42 PM
CRANKY YANKEE 27 May 01 - 03:44 PM
CRANKY YANKEE 27 May 01 - 02:47 PM
GUEST,chanteyranger 27 May 01 - 01:21 PM
CRANKY YANKEE 27 May 01 - 01:10 PM
Charley Noble 27 May 01 - 12:03 PM
GUEST,Gareth Williams 26 May 01 - 04:22 PM
toadfrog 26 May 01 - 03:48 PM
Mark Cohen 25 May 01 - 08:12 PM
Wendy_ 25 May 01 - 05:13 PM
Wendy_ 25 May 01 - 05:00 PM
Barry Finn 25 May 01 - 04:03 PM
Charley Noble 19 May 01 - 06:51 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 19 May 01 - 06:07 PM
GUEST,chanteyranger 19 May 01 - 05:20 PM
SeanM 19 May 01 - 05:03 PM
lady penelope 19 May 01 - 04:10 PM
GUEST,folklorist 19 May 01 - 04:02 PM
Metchosin 19 May 01 - 01:55 PM
Charley Noble 19 May 01 - 01:07 PM
GUEST,chanteyranger 19 May 01 - 12:04 PM
Charley Noble 19 May 01 - 10:44 AM
Dave (the ancient mariner) 19 May 01 - 07:48 AM
GUEST,Les Jones 19 May 01 - 03:48 AM
Chanteyranger 19 May 01 - 12:08 AM
SeanM 18 May 01 - 11:30 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 18 May 01 - 11:23 PM
GUEST,folklorist 18 May 01 - 11:21 PM
Mark Cohen 18 May 01 - 07:07 PM
SeanM 18 May 01 - 06:28 PM
Metchosin 18 May 01 - 05:32 PM
Metchosin 18 May 01 - 05:21 PM
Shields Folk 18 May 01 - 05:13 PM
GUEST,folklorist 18 May 01 - 04:59 PM
lady penelope 18 May 01 - 02:12 PM
Charley Noble 18 May 01 - 01:34 PM
GUEST,Melani 18 May 01 - 01:32 PM
Metchosin 18 May 01 - 01:20 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 18 May 01 - 11:12 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:



Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 13 Sep 17 - 08:49 PM

Steve: ...we're only interested in how it might have started using the English language and how it might have evolved.

By studying African-American slave culture and West African religion? Why? Neither you nor English are West African.

Assume Melville read the Prophet Jeremiah and the works of Jean Calvin. Capt. Forrest certainly knew his Martial.

Your religious, maritime and classical arts literature all use one and the same word to describe it for the last 2500 years. Phoenician-Greco-Roman-Judeo-Christian nautical work songs were being chanted in African ears, and by African voices, two millennia before the Middle Passage.


And Shanties?

You know what the most popular Protestant music form was for most of the 19th century.

You know the day, month and year the so-called "bulgines" were patented and the years the songbooks were published. In some cases you know individual artist and performance dates. Documented with a high degree of assurance, validated.

Those English lyrics were written by White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant, male "Ethiopians" not "African-Americans" or "Caribbeans."

An exceptional or unique way to address static and dynamic friction on a hoist? Need your data not Yoruba.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Sep 17 - 09:51 AM

>>>>Any claims to naval science or architecture are false<<<<

Okay, matey, we're only interested in how it might have started using the English language and how it might have evolved. Nobody's claiming to have all the answers. We're looking for contemporary references to enhance our knowledge and we're grateful for your contribution, but no need to be so disparaging.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 12 Sep 17 - 07:37 AM

Okay. I've read all the shanty threads and it is my considered opinion you lot have no more clue about the history of nautical work songs than the history of the modern calypso.

Your first hint should have been the first and last lines in Moby Dick.

Had you been born Catholic sailors you would still be singing the κελεύειυ, celeusma, celeuma, saloma ad nauseum just like you had been doing for the previous twenty five (25) centuries or one hundred (100) generations... give or take.

But you are not Catholic sailors. You sing White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant (WASP) nautical work songs, whether indigenous, adopted or appropriated; and you started labeling your music "shanties" c.1850AD.

But that's all it is, your popular culture's name, your tag, your label to match your consumer & supplier. Any claims to naval science or architecture are false and should be rebuked as same. Art is not science.

And while we're about it, sea shanties are no more informed by chattel slave culture than any other Euro-American popular form; nor any less for that matter. Twenty five (25) centuries is also one hundred (100) generations of slavery? give or take.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: shipcmo
Date: 27 Mar 10 - 07:35 AM

refresh


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: Charley Noble
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 12:58 PM

refresh!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 07:18 PM

Here's something Cranky Yankee asked me to post. It comes to you straight from Rhode Island (by way of California).
-Joe Offer-
I hereby, and without reservation, renounce any claim to the title, "chanteyman", nor will I, in future, put forth any definition of the word, "chantey", nor will I attempt to spell it correctly.
It seems that people who love music, as I do, and derive great pleasure from its performance have an entirely different concept of what these two terms mean. Some of these fine people have taken umbrage, and rightly so, at the way I've been using these two words.

"ARS GRATIA ARTIS" art for arts sake has nothing to do with what I am about to propose, until later when I again use this phrase.

               THE FOLLOWING
IS AN ETIRELY FICTITIOUS HYPOTHESIS

In the last three centuries, there has been a great demand for "Boxes" throughout the world. The companies that made boxes were known as "Boxing companies" and the people hired to make the boxes were known as "BOXERS".
The way boxes were made (hypothetically) absolutely required a good deal of cooperation between boxers when they assembled boxes. There was a standard operation procedure or "SOP" for these assembly methods. Anyone who's ever been in the military knows what "SOP" means.
The price that a boxing company demanded for its boxes depended entirely upon the number of boxers a company employed.
For one reason or another, American and British boxing companies began hiring boxers from a different part of the world. Let's call this different part of the world, "Gussie" and its people were known as "Gusses"
The gussers had a method doing SOP that was known as co-ordination. Coordination required fewer boxers than the old SOP methods and produced the same quality of boxes. Coordination was immediately accepted by the boxers and boxing companies, who could then employ fewer boxers to do the same job, thereby lowering the price of their boxes. Boxers who were good at coordination were paid extra money to use their expertise when doing SOP. THEY WERE KNOWN AS COORDINATORS.
Did the boxers spend their leisure hours, at the local pubs, coordinating? Don't hold your breath.
However, there is a great deal of good art inherent in coordination, and, the general public got a good deal of pleasure in coordinating and watching the process, aside from it's use in the manufacture of boxes.
The artists who performed coordination were, of course, known as coordinators.
ARS GRATIA ARTIS? You bet your life.
Now, substitute terms as follows:

Shipping companies for boxing companies

Shipping for boxing.

Sailors for boxers.

Singing for coordinating

and above all CHANTEYMAN (shantyman) for coordinator.

There is far greater musical expression and enjoyable singing in the performances of artistic Chanteymen than ever was heard on board a ship. Shipboard chantey singing is dull and boring, seldom involving more than one verse and chorus per job and sometimes involving the same line over and over again.   Except for scholarly endeavor I don't recommend it as a "spectator sport". It's only by coincidence that I am a boxer-coordinator as well as a sailor-chanteyman. My shipboard chanteying is as dull and boring as it could possibly be. But aside from that, my singing in public is as good as anyone else's. Louis Killen is not the world's greatest sailor but he is a tremendous performer of sea chanteys putting a lot of nautical flair into his performance. It was Louis' singing that inspired me to take up sailing to find out what sea chanteys are all about. My conclusion is: on board ship in actual use Pfooey (and that includes me). At a chantey sing or gathering I heartily recommend it.

African sailors deserve the credit for starting this and introducing the tradition on board ships though they are, in no way, solely responsible for its evolution into what we now call "Sea Chanteys".
The Great Huddie Ledbetter's (Leadbelly) recording of "Haul away Joe", though he did it properly for shipboard use, is a good example of how bad a chantey can sound when in actual use.

Nobody seems to want to hear about the multitude of free Africans, mostly sailors, who settled in the Seaport towns of North America by choice. The civil rights activists (of which I am one) with few exceptions, only want to hear about the horrors of slavery. I'm going to try to correct this situation. Don't yell at me, should I succeed, for emphasizing the African contribution for the development of the sea chantey.

Sincerely

Jody Gibson


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: Dead Horse
Date: 01 Dec 01 - 06:17 AM

O.K. So what's the origin of Sally Racket? I heard it was something to do with the Salvation Army? Apparently known as the "Sally Army" they would play their brass band and sing hynmns at some godforsaken hour on a sunday morning, just as my dad was having a lie-in, and he would complain of the *sally racket*. The difference between Shanty & Chanty is the same as that between World Trade Centre & World Trade Center. Depends on your own native language. We brits don't complain at frenchmen spelling chantey, cos it's their lingo. But I'm afraid we object to you colonials misusing OUR language:-) BUT the way a word is pronounced can be important. It denotes age, geography, local dialect, and also helps the rhyme, dammit. (smiley again) I'm sure Ogg, in his corracle, gave rhythmic grunts as he pulled on his paddle, but no call & response cos his boat wasn't big enough for two. So there.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: Charley Noble
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 05:52 PM

Well, that's all cleared up. Anyone want to start a new thread Origin of Sea Chanteys II? This one is taking too long to haul up to the main top.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 01:52 PM

Where did Bernie Krause publish? I would like to read it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: GUEST,Marc Bridgham
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 07:08 AM

Actually the origin of shantey singing is much deeper than previously thought. It seems that the term is derived from ANT(so ch/sh, who cares?) and hints at connections to our animal brethren hitherto undreamt.

I offer the following true quote as evidence for my thesis. Bernie Krause is a world-renowned nature audio-recorder. He describes an encounter in the rainforest this way:

"We set up camp for the night, commenting on how amazed we were by life we have found and recorded here. Then just before sundown we recorded ants singing...I dropped a little lapel mike into the hole leading to their nest...At that point I switched on my recorder and discovered, much to my surprise, that they were emitting a plaintive, high pitched sound, a kind of CALL & RESPONSE. They were COORDINATING THEIR MOVEMENT THROUGH SOME KIND OF DIALOGUE, we realized..."

Pretty amazing, eh?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: SeanM
Date: 27 May 01 - 06:32 PM

CY;

Clarification on the 'rope/line' US Navy issue.

In my experience, 'rope' was specifically used to denote wire-strand cables, and 'line', 'halyard' and the rest were used to denote anything with either natural or synthetic fiber strands.

I rather like GUEST Gareth's point on the mnemonics. Still doesn't explain one of my favorite distance problems... one 'sea song' that refers to someone taking twenty YEARS to figure out how to cross from Dublin to Devon. That's what - 100 miles? If that much? One would think that the sailor in question had other reasons than stated in the song for not going home...

M


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: Charley Noble
Date: 27 May 01 - 04:42 PM

CY, where did you run across this verse, is it Jon's or someone else's?

The old man stirs with an iron fist
The first mate pours from a gimballed wrist
The whole crew has a 30 degree list.
TANQUERAY MARTINI-OH

Here's one of my new ones:

"All hands on deck!" comes the cry,
As gale force winds shred the sky,
But we stay dry 'cause we're so high
Tanqueray Martini-o!

We missed you at the Portland Chianti Sing.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: CRANKY YANKEE
Date: 27 May 01 - 03:44 PM

There's a world of difference between "Singing in time with the work" and "Working in time with the singing"

A chanteyman directs the tempo and timing of the work and the crew follows his rhythm. That's what his job is, COORDINATING THE EFFORTS OF MORE THAN ONE PERSON. Singing is just his tool.

"He bang she bang"

The "we're all from the railroad" line is because the "Rocking arm" Windlass uses the same mechanism (without the stepped up gear ratio) as a railroad hand car. In other words , 'THEY ARE MAKING FUN OF THEMSELVES"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: CRANKY YANKEE
Date: 27 May 01 - 02:47 PM

charley Noble:

Wordsw and music by Jon Campbell. "Tanqueray Martini Oh is a SPOOF of sea chanteys, and was never intended to be one. Believe me, Jon Campbell knows what a chantey is furthermore, he's a genuine Mariner. Makes his living on the sea. Or, at least he did until he started teaching school a couple of years back. He was a Copmmercial Fisherman most of his adult life.

STANQUERAY MARTINI OH
words and music by jon campbell

I
We were sailing out of stanford town
With a fleet of "Criss-Craft" all around
When from up on deck the call came down
TANQUERAY MARTINI-OH

II
And all the Captains and the crew
Must have the drink you can see right through
There's nothing else will really do
TANQUERAY MARTINI-OH

(Chorus)
So haul the sheets back with one hand
Set your drink down if you canbrAnd never sail out of sight of land
TANQUERAY MARTINI-OH

III
To Greenwich town we did put in
We being nearly out of gin
To travel on would be a sin
TANQUERAY MARTINI-OH
?
IV <>br>The Captain's laid out on the floor
H*e being elected to get some more
He broke his leg tryin' to get ashore
TANQUERAY MARTINI OH
(repeat chorus)

V
The old man stirs with an iron fist
The first mate pours from a gimballed wrist
The whole crew has a 30 degree list.
TANQUERAY MARTINI-OH

VI
It's 9 parts gin and one vermouth
It's the yachstman's friend and that's the truth
From Jamaica Bay to the Bay of Booth
TANQUERAY MARTINI-OH
(repeat chorus)

VII
Oh the Montauk girls they look so fine
Rigged loose up front and snug behind
With a quarter board reading"Calvin Kline"
Tanqueray Martini-Oh.

VIII
All the Captains and the crew
Must have the drink you can see clear through

(Spoken)"Muffie," would you freshen up this drink? this ice is sooooo bad.
TANQUERAY MARTINI-OH



CHANTEYRANGER:

I knew I was going to like you.....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: GUEST,chanteyranger
Date: 27 May 01 - 01:21 PM

I saw something about that on the TV game shows, "What's My Line" and "The Splice Is Right."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: CRANKY YANKEE
Date: 27 May 01 - 01:10 PM

MARK COHEN: About Rope, IT IS ROPE./ if you want to go back inb history, In all the old "rigging MaNUALS" sTEEL'S,. LEVERS, ETC. It is referred to as rope. I know that the US Navy calls the stuff "Line" the reason they i8nsist on this term is to impress young enlistees in boot camp that they must do things "THE NAVY WAY" unless you know of a better way, but you still do it the navy way until your suggestion goes through poroper channels. From their poiont of view, Line is just as good a name for the stuff as rope. But on a sailing vessel, If you referred to every bit or fiber cordage as "Line" yo0u are asking for misunderstanding that co

uld be disastrous. BECAUSE , MARK, NOT EVERY PIECE OF CORDAGE ON A SAILING SHIP IS A LINE. Halyards are not lines, braces are not lines, lifts are not lines, etc etc./. foot ropes and bolt ropes are not lines either. A line is the shortest distance between two points, and a line on a sailing ship moves something between these two points./ And, in the old rigging manuals, and the Merchant Marine manual (current addition) refer to these lines as ropes, as in, "Bunt line rope", "Sheet line rope", "Clew line rope, leech line rope, etc.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: Charley Noble
Date: 27 May 01 - 12:03 PM

About time for a new thread Oregin of Sea Chanteys/Shanties II if anyone can create a link back to this one; I understand Italian mariners prefer "sea Chianti."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: GUEST,Gareth Williams
Date: 26 May 01 - 04:22 PM

Rutters ! - The old menmonic sailing directions may have been mutated into shanties. Try pricking the geographical locations, depths, and sea bottom mentioned in "Spanish Ladies" on a chart of the English Channel and see what you get - a pilots memonic from the Dodman to the North Foreland. Just a thought.

Gareth


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: toadfrog
Date: 26 May 01 - 03:48 PM

Someone pointed out, these verses will work with almost any sea chanty:

I do not like green eggs and ham
I cannot stand them, Sam I Am!

I would not eat them in a boat!
I would not eat them on a goat!

(I can't remember the rest.)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 25 May 01 - 08:12 PM

Wendy, I think Les had his tongue well into his cheek...as did I, when I came up with the following ditty that I thought was in the DT but isn't. (The tune, if it isn't obvious, is "Roll the Woodpile Down")

The Bowling Shanty
(words by Mark Cohen, with no shame at all)

I've got a cure for grief and pain
Way down the alleyway
I'll go right down to the bowling lane
And we'll roll the old ball down

Bowling, bowling
Bowling the whole year round
That brown gal o' mine rolled a 209
And we'll roll the old ball down


My Aunt Dinah had quite an arm
She'd bowl every day, it'd do her no harm

Each Monday night I'll put on my shoes
I'll grab my ball and my Daily News

I bowl with a man named Curly Brown
He bowls with a ball weighs twenty-five pounds

When Curly lets fly with that ball
He'll knock a hole in the backstop wall

Old Curly'll smash them pins to bits
But he's still left with a 7-10 split

I'm rolling strikes and I'm feeling fine
One more frame and it's Miller Time


(So yes, shanties are still being written!)

Aloha,
Mark


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: Wendy_
Date: 25 May 01 - 05:13 PM

Lomax's Deep River of Song: Bahamas 1935 -- Chanteys and Anthems from Andros and Cat Island has chanteys sung by sea spongers. (See also amazon.com's listing - they let you listen to more samples from the cd.)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: Wendy_
Date: 25 May 01 - 05:00 PM

It doesn't have any chardonay in it, but could the song Les Jones was thinking of be: South Australia ? I've always found that "heave away, haul away" pretty catchy.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: Barry Finn
Date: 25 May 01 - 04:03 PM

The West Coast of Africa has been trading with Europeans since at least as 1455 when Portuguese mariner, Alvise daMosto noted down the size & capacity of their huge canoes & Fernandez reports in 1506 canoes that carried 120 men. In the late 17th century the Dutch factor William Bosman writing from Elmina Fortress on the Gold Coast notes how he'd watch 5 to 600 of these canoes set out fishing every morning & how dependent European traders were on Africans & their boats. So we do have it that Africans & Europeans were at least paddling in the canoe since very early on, maybe before the noted Venetian galleys of 1493 as reported by Felix Fabri. The Virginia Gazette in 1774 notes an impertinent runaway Negro woman who was fond of liquor & singing indecent sailor songs. In 1785 a New England merchant notes the cheerful & pleasant sounds of Negro labor while working the falls. The 1st impressment & imprisonment of American sailors was in 1807 2 of the 4 were sailors of color & of the eventual 5000 impressed prisoners in Dartmoor Prison 220 to 25% were Afro Americans & their musical bands were aalways in the forefront. The Black/Indian captain Paul Cuffe writes of the whaling brig, the Traveler with all it's black crew visiting Port-Au-Prince 8 yr after Haitian independence, I believe this to be the same Traveler mentioned in a song written by one of the all black crew members of the whaling schooner, the Industry, with whom they were rendezvousing with in 1822. Robert Hay (Landsman Hay) describes longshoremen using negro worksongs in 1809 & again aboard the Edward in 1811 of blacks working the capstan for loading cargo, giving the words to 2 of the songs. The Quid, in 1832 shows a black fiddler on top of a capstan singing. Olmstead describes in 1841 on a whaling voyage. of a black sea cook leading the rest in worksong.
The 1st third of the 19th century was increasingly good sailors, while the 2nd third saw their prospects receding & by the last 3rd they were becoming a relic. Even though blacks in general stayed at sea far longer than their white counteparts, becoming the Old Salts to the younger 1 or 2 passage making green hands, they were still to almost completely disaappear from the sea (except as cooks & stewards) by the time Captain Whall states no real shanties were made after 1875, leaving only their mark on the songs. Is it all that strange that the music of the Manhaden fisheries died when the black fishermen ceased to fish or the last of the slave labor songs end with the Georgia Sea Island Singers or the last of the shanties could be heard among the West Indian sailors or the prison worksongs died when the blacks stopped needing them & is it any wonder that onf all these trades examples can be found were some of the versions of the cross over into the different trades while in the the white culture group labor singing died out when? Barry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: Charley Noble
Date: 19 May 01 - 06:51 PM

It may have been noted already but Richard Dana in his Two Years Before The Mast describes his fellow sailors singing sea shanties, some of which survive to this day, in 1836 but only refers to them as sailors' work songs. Apparently, the sailors knew what they were doing but were ignorant of the proper term for their songs. They were flogged but not for that.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 May 01 - 06:07 PM

Words interest me, so I looked up chantey in an older Oxford English Dictionary and only found shanty, with a date of 1869 and a reference to Chambers Journal. A OED supplement does have chantey, and attributes the first printed usage to Nordhoff, Nine Years a Sailor, 1856. It would be interesting to know when these words were first used in those forms, and why the English dictionaries prefer shanty and the American Webster prefers chantey. It seems to me that 1856-1869 is late for the words to have come into English (all sources attrib. to the French). No importance but good trivia.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: GUEST,chanteyranger
Date: 19 May 01 - 05:20 PM

Thanks, Charley and Metchosin. I'll make a point to get to the Cecil Sharp house when I'm in London.

Folklorist, let's draft Lawrence Levine into the chantey/shanty scholarship service. We'll promise him unlimited rum and a rat-free, leak-proof ship. :-)

-chanteyranger


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: SeanM
Date: 19 May 01 - 05:03 PM

Charley;

Given the prevailing attitudes that I found amongst sailors, I think songs like "Maid o' Amsterdam" would be a marked improvement. At least THOSE sailors actually felt sorry for and/or tried to provide for the future of the women they left pregnant behind them...

M


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: lady penelope
Date: 19 May 01 - 04:10 PM

South Australian Chardonay? I LIKE it! Please finish it ( bounce up and down squealing Please pleaseplease etc. ) I have a glass of chardonnay in my hand as I type.

TTFN M'Lady P.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: GUEST,folklorist
Date: 19 May 01 - 04:02 PM

chanteyranger,

yes, Levine's book is a mighty work! And I agree with you and him that both black contributions and oral cultures in general have been neglected by historians. The people who have specifically addressed sea shanties have traditionally been pretty sensitive to oral culture, as they would have to be. But you're right that, as a rule, oral culture has been ignored by those who write the books.

keep singing!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: Metchosin
Date: 19 May 01 - 01:55 PM

Another place of inquiry might be through Australian archives. The Australians were still doing grain runs and nitrate hauls from Chile around the Horn on square riggers right up into the 1930's.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: Charley Noble
Date: 19 May 01 - 01:07 PM

Chantyranger, you might inquire at Cecil Sharp House in London; they have a website. I'm just rescimming the relevant book above and could find no further reference, but there seemed to be hope for real recorded shanties. The only field recorded traditional sea songs I've been able to purchase are ones done by Lomax in the Bahamas, recently released as a CD by Smithsonian; these were recorded at various house parties with lots of noise and an occasional clarifying question by an incredibly young and naive sounding Lomax.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: GUEST,chanteyranger
Date: 19 May 01 - 12:04 PM

Charley Noble, to your knowledge are the Grainger recordings available either commercially or in a library? I'll be going to England in October - would love to find those.

-chanteyranger


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: Charley Noble
Date: 19 May 01 - 10:44 AM

Apparently there are some "cylinder recordings" by folk song collector Percy Grainger of shantysingers in varous sailors' rest homes, according to A.L.Lloyd in his FOLK SONG IN ENGLAND; he really has a fascinating analysis of various types of shanties, their functions, and origin.

Sean, I also would be cautious of expecting traditional shanties to install "moral values" in a new crop of amoral apprentice sailors; traditional shanties were seldom "sensitive" about male/female relationships, or other interesting combinations of gender and species. Well, yes, what you are suggesting about reinforcing pride in one's work does ring true, in spite of the "hard case" skipper and the "bruising bucko" mate.

Mark, ropes? Aren't they the things that hold up all those poles? You know, the ones with all those billowing sheets.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 19 May 01 - 07:48 AM

The Oxford English dictionary states that Shanty probably derives from the French Chantez. The English word To CHANT (measured monotonous song)is of French origin. Since the only written language used in England was Latin, and the only spoken language was bastardised by the introduction of Norman French in 1066; it is entirely likely that the spelling of Shanty/Chanty is French in origin. Having said that Shanty ,is still the official spelling in the English dictionary. In Elizabethan times trumpets, drums and "Chanters" were frequently used aboard ships to entertain, and pass orders. The Bosuns call (pipe) was not only a mark of rank aboard ship, but also used to pass orders to the crew ; the reason that whistling is strictly forbidden aboard ship (Royal Navy); and considered bad luck on Merchant ships. The debate about the origins of Sea Shanties on this thread, has been interesting and informative. The origin of Shanties is clouded in folklore and the oral tradition. No nation or race can be said to be the originator of this type of song. Clearly the Vikings used chants and songs to row their vessels and I'm sure the Portugese, Spanish and Dutch nations had their songs too. Any attempt to attribute the source or main influence to any particular race is futile. I think that the tradition leads one to assume that all music, song, is a uniquely human condition; and the attempt to coordinate hard work by chant and song is one of the common links that we all share alike. Yours, Aye. Dave


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: GUEST,Les Jones
Date: 19 May 01 - 03:48 AM

C/shanties are great examples of the oral tradition through which 'folk music'has been transmitted. These songs have clearly travelled and changed much more than most other types of 'folk musisc and are the best evidence for the oral tradition. I wrote, sang and had a lot of fun with a shanty, in the Merseyside area in the 1960's.

It was called 'The Early Morning Shanty' with a chorus line Pull back the sheets - ugh! To my knowledge nobody else ever sang it, or asked for the words. I guess it died a natural death ........ or maybe not?

Which reminds me I find this line running through my head: South Australian Chardonay, Heave away, Haul away

or should it be Shardonay??

Cheers Les Jones Now of Manchester


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: Chanteyranger
Date: 19 May 01 - 12:08 AM

Folklorist, have you read Black Culture And Black Consciousness: Afro-American Folk Thought From Slavery To Freedom, by Prof. Lawrence W. Levine? Though it doesn't cover chanteys (ah, well), this 1977 groundbreaking book's thesis is that historians, by and large, principally academic historians, have for too long ignored oral folk culture as serious history, and calls for historians to raise their own consciousness through studying the oral traditions of cultures that have been rendered inarticulate by historians in general (and this from a man who was himself a U.C. Berkeley history prof). My point is about the historian's craft. I should have defined "recent times" - which I mean to be the last 30 years or so. Levine's book is quite an eye-opener. Folklorist Richard Dorson said "It is the first historical work written by a professional historian to make exhaustive and sophisticated use of folklore sources..." I don't think the impact of black influences is yet fully realized - and I pose the question whether it's too late for a major historical work on that aspect of it, or will a major historical work emerge and help answer some tricky questions? If only historians of long ago had...ah, but that's hindsight :-).

-chanteyranger


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: SeanM
Date: 18 May 01 - 11:30 PM

Amen...

So, now that we know for certain that we can't know for certain... Back to the fun.

This actually is a bit of a dense question - but do the Library of Congress or Lomax series of recordings have any 'shanty' based collections? I have one that's the 'Anthracite Coal Miners', and I've seen collections of flatboat river songs and the like, but I don't recall seeing one of the truly 'scholarly' series having a shanty disc...

Something like that, while solving nothing, would be a wonderful historic aid for this kind of discussion. One element that is somewhat lacking in all of the above is that while most of us have access to the same 'paper' data, we're all (OK, several of us are) listening to different 'aural' data sources. The singer influences the music in ways well beyond the origin of the song - Paul Clayton, for example, while producing a GREAT recording, makes the shanties all sound about as 'White European' as anything possibly ever could...

It'd be interesting to know if any original recordings from the very tail end of the 'golden age' are around on CD...

M


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 18 May 01 - 11:23 PM

Charlie, No problem. Enjoy!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: GUEST,folklorist
Date: 18 May 01 - 11:21 PM

Hey, just to show you there are no new arguments under the sun, here is the very first paragraph of Roger Abrahams's 1974 book Deep the Water, Shallow the Shore:

"There are certain musical types that seem to arise only in areas in which Afro-Americans and Euro-Americans perform together or at least witness each other's performance forms--Jazz, jody calls, cheerleading, to use some American examples. The sea shanty is one of these. In Chanter-response performance type, with a high degree of voice overlap and interlock, these work songs are more in African singing style than European (with the possible exception of Celtic singing in groups). Yet they arose and thrived at a time when Afro- and euro-Americans and Europeans worked together under sail, and it seems clear that it was this combination of ethnic groups pursuing a common purpose that provided the situation under which these songs thrived."

Roger then provides an excellent five-page survey of the scholarship on black contributions to shantying; from Sharp, who was skeptical but admitted that some shanties had black influences, to W.F. Arnold who, in a 1914 book called Songs of Sea Labour proclaimed that the majority of shanties are "Negroid" in origin. The origin issue has long been a vexed question, because the hard data are simply not there to be found.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 18 May 01 - 07:07 PM

Charley Noble, did you say ROPES??? Ain't no ropes on a ship! (Well, maybe one...)

Aloha,
Mark


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: SeanM
Date: 18 May 01 - 06:28 PM

Naemanson...

What I was speaking of about the state of folk in the US Navy was personal experience from the early '90s, along with friends who were either still active until recently or are still reservists.

While I won't debate that there are exceptional individuals enlisting in the military, I will stand by the assertion that the majority average is pretty far down on the overall scale of life. Quite simply, the enlisted forces don't recruit from those that would be considered 'exceptional'. Those 'exceptional' individuals who are considering military service usually end up in the ROTC programs, and normally end up in either Officer Candidate programs or in the higher 'tech skill' jobs.

I can attest personally to the lack of folk music amongst the 'rank and file' on board my ship at the time that I was there. I can attest to specific events - the 'working party' loading supplies on board prior to departing from port in Dubai, who when the Filipino CPO running suggested that we might like singing to make the work go faster was met with repeated yells that 'Hey - we aren't fags!' and similar enlightened suggestions.

Maybe I just was unlucky and got in with a truly sadsack vessel, but I fear that it's a service wide malady. I've often pondered if some of the various excesses that I read of (the manifold rape charges, near international incidents caused by drunken sailors, etc.) might be at least partially curbed if some of the old shanties and other traditions were seriously taught to the new sailors. Give them pride in what they do, and they may think twice about doing something to tarnish the service's reputation...

But this is rather drifty. My apologies... back to the Shanty talk.

M


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: Metchosin
Date: 18 May 01 - 05:32 PM

I would have thought so Sheils Folk, but Paul Clayton who is American spells it "Shanty".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: Metchosin
Date: 18 May 01 - 05:21 PM

A further documentation of the African influence regarding Shanties is noted in the liner notes of an old record I have entitled Whaling and Sailing Songs from the Days of Moby Dick by Paul Clayton (1956). The performance of the songs is a bit weird, but he does seem to have done some research.

Regarding the Shanty Blood Red Roses he notes:

"It is thought that this fine old halyard Shanty is of Scottish origin. It is mentioned by Captain R.C. Adams in his book On Board the Rocket (1879) as being sung by the Negro crew of an American ship in mastheading the maintopsail, but is unquestionably of earlier origin than this mention." Unfortunately he doesn't say where he got the information regarding the Scottish conection.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: Shields Folk
Date: 18 May 01 - 05:13 PM

Is the chanty/shanty spelling question an Atlantic thing, chanty-west(america), shanty-east(British Isles).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: GUEST,folklorist
Date: 18 May 01 - 04:59 PM

It seems CY's main point was that the call-and-response work song was originally African and came into shantying by way of African sailors. Others point out that there were shanties going back to the 1500s and that waulking songs are call-and-response work songs in the Celtic world, presumably unrelated to African models. I'd add to this that songs associated with threshing sometimes used call-and-response form. In Brittany, the came kind of Kan-Ha-Diskan that is used for plain dancing was also used to tamp down the threshing floor so that it would be hard enough to thresh on. Throughout France, and especially the northwest coastal areas, call-and-response is one of the most common types of singing, both for shanties and for other purposes. From all this, I just don't see any evidence that shanties ORIGINATED with Africans; there seem to have been call-and-response work songs elsewhere, and the shanty seems to have originated before Africans were a major part of the workforce.

CY's use of movies like Mogambo and Zulu as evidence is also a bit dodgy. Calling their tradition "centuries-old" and the song used to haul a rhinoceros out of a pit a "long drag chantey" makes it SEEM like africans invented the long-drag chantey centuries ago. But what we really have is a twentieth century movie of modern Africans using a song structurally similar to a long-drag chantey. It's not a centuries-old document, nor is it clear whether this tradition is connected to the shanty. It could even have been staged by the director.

BUT, I think it's fairly obvious that Africans, West Indians and African-Americans have had a huge impact on shanties, especially the English-language tradition.

Now for my main point: to say that historians and folklorists have ignored this is untrue. Every folklorist I've ever heard talking about shanties presents the evidence that Africans had a major influence, and talks about the theory that the name originated due to moving homes in the West Indies. Roger Abrahams has done some very important work on West Indian shanties (see his book Deep the Water, Shallow the Shore); I was just looking at his fieldtapes the other day, wishing I had a reel-to-reel deck! It's well and good to say that historians have neglected this and de-emphasized that for political reasons, but I don't think that applies to the African influence on shanties. The main problem, I think, is that most of what has been written on Shanties is quite old and the past few generations of scholars haven't written much on the topic. The standard books are still the ones by Hugill, who was neither a folklorist nor a historian, and wrote thirty years ago.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: lady penelope
Date: 18 May 01 - 02:12 PM

Thanks Mark I couldn't think of the proper word for me "tweeding" songs at the time.

Although there is still a lot of repetative work about, it is very rarely ( outside of places like the navy ) done in UNISON! People who work in factories are quite often doing different tasks in the same place and the rhythmn of the work won't allow that kind of call response song. Also sometimes people are told to be quiet! I work in a clinical laboratory and sometimes an odd phenomena occurrs. Spontanious Whistling! Usually of slow / laid back tunes such as the gallery theme from Vision on ( somebody from Britain help me out here I can't remember what it's called ) the whistling will go on for about ten minutes and then just die out.

And why is singing along to the radio a reduction? If there is no one alse to lead the singing why not the radio? Isn't it better that people sing along to radio than not sing at all?

TTFN M'Lady P.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: Charley Noble
Date: 18 May 01 - 01:34 PM

Thanks for the link to David Stone.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: GUEST,Melani
Date: 18 May 01 - 01:32 PM

I did a research chantey for my husband the developmental biologist:

Oh, kill the rats and cut'em up,
Away, boys, away!
And then we'll all go out for lunch,
And we'll all go together!

They stopped me at that point.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: Metchosin
Date: 18 May 01 - 01:20 PM

Hmmmm...Cheese is good....Ben Gunn would have approved.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 18 May 01 - 11:12 AM

About Shanties/Chanties still being written, check out Dave Stone's "Anti-Chantey". It's on his recording "The Journey.

The Jouney


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Next Page

  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 24 November 8:00 AM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.