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Cotton screwing songs

31 May 18 - 04:59 AM (#3928160)
Subject: Cotton screwing songs
From: Gibb Sahib

I'm working on cotton screwing songs. My contention is that cotton screwing songs formed an _appreciably distinct_ repertoire. Let me say here that I think the broad assertion that any song could be put to a task is nonsense and even the extent of overlap between items of chanty repertoire between different tasks is greatly exaggerated by commentators after a certain point. It IS true that songs were not all rigidly fixed to a particular task, but this does not mean that it was random. I assert that there is a rhyme and reason to what chanties fit what tasks, with the main determining factor being form, rhythm, and meter. In order to see that, one has to consider the songs' musical aspects (and know the work actions, too).

Believing this to be the case, part of what identifies cotton screwing songs, in my opinion, is based on the musical form. Another part is indeed the happenstance of what was current/popular. I think that if we cross reference that songs alleged to be associated with cotton screwing and compare their musical traits we can see patterns emerge... and with it, a body of "cotton screwing songs" (loosely) emerges.

Even if one takes issue with my stated opinions or method, I hope one can still agree it's worthwhile to put all this cotton stuff in one place to focus on it and see what we might see!

I'm going to start by offering some songs that were ascribed to the *shipboard* chanty repertoire (i.e. avoiding, at the moment those specifically ascribed to cotton screwing) which, in documented texts, make such notable (and consistent) reference to cotton screwing that one can conjecture they were shared with or derived from the cotton screwing environment.

//
"My Dollar and a Half a Day (Lowlands)"

A dollar a day is a Hoosier’s pay,
Lowlands, lowlands, a-way, my John,
Yes, a dollar a day is a Hoosier’s pay,
My dollar and a half a day.

O was you ever in Mobile Bay,
A screwing cotton by the day?
(Whall 1913)
//

I’m bound away, I heard him say,
My lowlands away, my John;
A dollar and a half is a oozer’s [hoosier’s] pay,
                A dollar and a half a day.
(Sharp 1914)
//

"Roll the Cotton Down"

Oh, away down South where I was born,
Oh, roll the cotton down,
Away down South where I was born,
Oh, roll the cotton down.

A dollar a day is the white man’s pay,
Oh, a dollar a day is the white man’s pay,

I thought I heard our old man say. [Repeat]

We’re homeward bound to Mobile Bay. [Repeat]
(Leighton Robinson, 1951)
//

O have you been in New Orleans!
Roll the cotton down!
O-O-O, rolling cotton day by day
O roll the cotton down!

It’s there I worked on the old levee,
A-screwing cotton by the day
(Carpenter 1938)
//

"Long Time Ago"

Way down South where I was born,
Way ay ay yah,
I’ve picked the cotton and hoed the corn,
Oh a long time ago.

In the good old State of Alabam’ ,
So I’ve packed my bag, and I’m going away,

When I was young and in my prime,
Oh, I served my time in the Black Ball Line.

I’m going away to Mobile Bay,
Where they screw, the cotton by the day.

Five dollars a day’s a white man’s pay,
And a dollar and a half is a black man’s pay.

When the ship is loaded, I’m going to sea,
For a sailor’s life is the life for me
(Richard Maitland, 1951)
//


"Santiana"

I wish I were in old Mobile Bay,
Hooray, Santa Ana.
A-screwing cotton this blessed day.
All along the plains of Mexico.

Though Santa Ana has gained the day
A dollar a day is a nigger’s pay.

But seven dollars is a white man’s pay
For screwing cotton ten hours a day.
(Buryeson 1909)
//

"Hilo My Ranzo Way"

I'm Ranzo Jim from the Southern cotton growing belt
                    To me way, hay, oh hi o!
De sun am so hot dat you'd think a man would melt
                    And sing, Hilo, my Ranzo way

We picked all de cotton an’ threw it in de basket,
An’ de boss said ‘twas g’wine far up de Naragasket.

So I came right along into old Mobile Bay,
Where de nigga’s all work in de cool ob de day.

A-screwin’ cotton in de big ship’s hol’,
“Dat’s all I’d have to do,” so I was tol’.

De work was so hard dat I near done broke my back;
So dis nigga’ wants a job befo’ he gets de sack.

So I’d like to sail on a little pleasure trip,
Where de work ain’t so hard, on a Yankee sailing ship.
(Harlow 1962 - from the singing of a stevedore in 1878)
//

"Clear the Track" / "Good Morning Ladies All"

Was you ever in Mobile Bay?
                A hay! a hue! Ain’t you most done?
A-screwing cotton by the day?
                A hay! a hue! Ain’t you most done?
Oh, yes, I’ve been in Mobile Bay
A-screwing cotton by the day;
So clear the track, let the bullgine run,
With a rig-a-jig-jig and a ha-ha-ha,
Good morning ladies all!
(Eckstorm and Smythe 1927)


31 May 18 - 05:18 AM (#3928164)
Subject: RE: Cotton screwing songs
From: Jack Campin

I'd never heard of this, you mean they had gangs of men compacting the bales with big screw presses, using the same sort of movements as with a capstan?


31 May 18 - 01:25 PM (#3928264)
Subject: RE: Cotton screwing songs
From: GUEST,Greg F.

Suggestion: "Google" "cotton press"- several have ben preserved in the southern U.S. both animal & human powered.


31 May 18 - 04:58 PM (#3928324)
Subject: RE: Cotton screwing songs
From: Steve Gardham

Gibb
I was in York on Tuesday in a bookshop and they had a couple of shelves on maritime history. I was actually looking for info on local sailing vessels but one of them had some pre-chanty era chants from the Gulf area and West Indies c1810. Next time I go in I'll at least make a note of the book details. Most of the older books were £20-£30 and I just haven't got the shelf space any more. I have a room full of about 2,000 folksong anthologies and if I buy any more the house will collapse.


31 May 18 - 09:37 PM (#3928363)
Subject: RE: Cotton screwing songs
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch

Let's see, there's cotton screwing and then there's screwing cotton and then there's screwing the Cotton Screwmen.

One screw shy here: Norris Cuney - (Colored Screwmen's Benevolent Association – USA.)

Cotton screwing for baling:

“In 1808, the quantity of cotton brought to Bombay for re-exportation was 85,000 bales, of 735 pounds, the half of which is procured from the country on the Nerbudda and the rest from Cutch and Gujerat. The cotton screw is worked by a capstan, to each bar of which there are 30 men, amounting in the whole to about 240 to each screw. Hemp is packed in the same manner, but it requires to be carefully laid in the press, for the fibres are liable to be broken if they are bent.”

[Hamilton, W., A Geographical, Statistical, and Historical Description of Hindostan and the Adjacent Countries, Vol. II, (London: John Murray, 1820, p.156)]


“Not far from this spot (Bombay gun carriage manufactory) is the extensive cotton-screwing establishment of the Colabah Company. It occupies several large buildings, in some of which the cotton just landed from the pattamars, is deposited. The premises contain twenty-four screws on the ground-floor, each screw being worked with a capstan on the floor above it, by forty naked coolies, who run about shouting, and yelling, with excess of mirth.

The cotton is weighed in scales, 350 lbs. at a time. This is then drawn up to the second floor, and emptied into a broad square iron funnel the size of a bale, at the bottom of which is laid a piece of sacking. At a signal given, the capstan is worked, and the screw, acting with immense power, compresses the cotton into about half its original bulk. Ropes are slipped underneath it to bind it at each end, and it is turned out a compact square bale, which, being sewed and marked, is ready for shipment. Each screw turns out thirty-two bales a day; but, by paying the men extra wages, they can be increased to seventy. Steam, on account of the price of fuel being dearer than manual labour, would not answer so well. There is another cotton-screwing company, whose warehouses are situated in the fort, in Marine Lane, but they are not so extensive as those just described.”

[Bercastle, J., A Voyage to China, Vol. I, (London: William Schoberl, 1850, pp.165-66)]


31 May 18 - 09:39 PM (#3928364)
Subject: RE: Cotton screwing songs
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch

The baler that usually pops up web searching for “cotton screw” however is a very early period draw mill and usually not human powered.

One long bar is a “draw.”

An opposing pair of draws is a “sweep.” Mentioned in wind mills, naval science & rowing as well.

Use a horse, ox, donkey, camel, what have you and it's a “draft" mill.

Draft mill works can be seen on plantation sugar mills and are probably on the walls of some Pharoah's tomb.


31 May 18 - 09:41 PM (#3928365)
Subject: RE: Cotton screwing songs
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch

Screwing cotton during lading:

“A method of stowing cotton, at one time more generally in use than at present, is to screw the bales into the hold of a ship. The screwing is done in this way: The bales are stood on end close together in a semicircle, the concave side of which faces an inside wall of the hold. Pressure is then brought to bear upon the convex side of the semicircle until it is forced flat up against the wall. Then a second semicircle is formed of other bales placed close together and these in turn are brought up against the flat surface made by the preceding row of bales; then a third row is put into place, and so on until one layer of cotton is formed in the hold. The next layer may be composed of bales placed on their sides and not packed so tightly as the first one. A third layer is made of upright bales screwed into position in the manner described, and the operation is continued until the cargo is complete. By this means cotton is packed into a space much smaller than would be required for the same number of bales set closely, but without the use of such pressure. The screwing is done by means of power screws operated by hand. The men who do this work and also their overseers require special training. An inexperienced laborer would suffer greatly from exhaustion if he tried to stand with two or three experienced screwmen turning the levers of a cotton screw. This service is expensive and is resorted to only when it is especially desirable to economize cargo space, but it is still common enough to keep the screws from rusting at the Southern ports. At some ports, as Mobile, the practice is still general, but at Savannah as a rule the screws are called into use only when some odd corner of a cargo needs filling out.

One of the chief causes for the decline in this method of stowing cotton is the increase in the size of freight vessels. A large ship will call for a load of cotton, take 20,000 or more bales, which are stowed closely, but without the use of screws, and the vessel puts to sea again in a short time. A smaller ship may spend a week or so having 15,000 bales screwed into its hold, in order to gain the extra freight paid on the additional bales which this method of packing makes possible to cany.

Another advantage of screwing cotton bales into position is a reduction in the danger from fire that might be caused by the iron ties around the bales chafing against steel or iron parts of the hold. This advantage may be offset in some degree by the possible injury to the hull of the vessel due to the outward pressure of the closely packed bales. Another disadvantage in screwing cotton is the difficulty of unloading. Sometimes the spars to which the unloading tackle is attached are broken before a bale can be pulled from one of the closely packed layers, and sometimes it is necessary to tear one bale to pieces before others in a layer can be moved.

[Andrews, F, Ocean Freight Rates, USDA Bulletin 67, (Washington: GPO, 1907, pp.39-40)]

And it's like a lint blizzard down there the whole time.


31 May 18 - 11:44 PM (#3928376)
Subject: RE: Cotton screwing songs
From: Gibb Sahib

Why is it that when one posts a thread on Mudcat there is some assumption they need everything explained, that they'd like every random fun fact you can Google up, and you should go on tangents based on free-association with a word? It's frustrating as hell. It's not for nothing that I wrote a whole preamble; I didn't just slap on a title and say "Go for it!"

So again, here's what this is about: There was a work called cotton screwing. The work was performed along with singing songs. Those songs, so my starting assumption goes, constitute a repertoire that we can recognize as "appreciably distinct." How to distinguish the songs? I suggest, the purpose of this thread, to put all the associated songs in one place and see how they shape up. What forms are predominant, what prosody, what language, and (though it won't appear here) what tune-shapes?

Cotton screwing: The means of hand stowing cotton bales, for export, in ships' holds such that maximum quantity of product could fit. Done by means of four men operating a portable (200 pounds) jackscrew. The labor was performed in the cotton exporting ports of USA, as early as 1810s and becoming rapidly obsolete after the turn of the 20th century. Beginning on the southeastern coast, the cotton export eventually spread along the Gulf coast as far as Galveston (which was the leading city at the time of decline). (Sugar, in hogsheads, was also screwed in the Caribbean and—later—wool was screwed in Australia and South Africa.) At the beginning, all the cotton screwmen were black, with white men entering the profession coming to predominate by the mid 1840s; after the Civil War there was a back and forth between black and white labor unions on the waterfront. Before the Civil War, that is, as early as the 1830s, white laborers had come to learn the cotton screwing songs concurrently with adopting the profession, and there is a strong case to be made that these workers who had crossed the racial divide and adopted an African-American custom went on to champion it aboard ships in the form of sailors' chanty singing. I have a large accumulation of data on the topic and can try to provide answers to specific details. The aspect of this which is not addressed adequately in sources, however, is the musical. Hence.

Onward to more items!

Sugar-screwing:

A-hum-bl-ee! A-hum-bl-o!
   Ah-ha! And a-hum-bl-ey!
A-hum-bl-ee! A-hum-bl-o!
   Ah-ha! And a-hum-bl-ey!
(Carpenter 1931)
//

Before I work for a dollar a day,
   Down below, wey-hey, hey-hey,
Grease my screws and put ‘em away
   Down below, wey-hey, hey-hey.

Down below in the hole below
Screwing sugar all the day
(Heard by William H. Smith in the 1880s, in Fowke 1981)
//


01 Jun 18 - 02:26 AM (#3928384)
Subject: RE: Cotton screwing songs
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch

Gibb: "Even if one takes issue with my stated opinions or method, I hope one can still agree it's worthwhile to put all this cotton stuff in one place to focus on it and see what we might see!"

Jack: "I'd never heard of this, you mean they had gangs of men compacting the bales with big screw presses, using the same sort of movements as with a capstan?"

Greg: "Suggestion: "Google" "cotton press"- several have ben preserved in the southern U.S. both animal & human powered."

Me: "...there's cotton screwing and then there's screwing cotton and then there's screwing the Cotton Screwmen."

Gibb: "Why is it that when one posts a thread on Mudcat there is some assumption they need everything explained...."

Speaking strickly for myself, I'll go with: Not an assumption.


01 Jun 18 - 02:54 PM (#3928520)
Subject: RE: Cotton screwing songs
From: leeneia

You have my sympathy, Gibb Sahib. The number of people on the Mudcat who have any interest in actually playing an instrument or singing a song is getting smaller all the time.


01 Jun 18 - 03:14 PM (#3928526)
Subject: RE: Cotton screwing songs
From: Steve Gardham

Please, never decry someone trying to impart related information. It doesn't take up a lot of room and there are many interested people following these fascinating threads who don't even contribute. I have to say I found Phil's info interesting and informative, and relevant to the general background. I fully understand the purpose of the thread and applaud it.


01 Jun 18 - 04:12 PM (#3928545)
Subject: RE: Cotton screwing songs
From: mg

I think some people might not want to sing or play but are very interested in the history, folklore, cultural implications etc.


01 Jun 18 - 04:38 PM (#3928549)
Subject: RE: Cotton screwing songs
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)

This book by Nordhoff- The merchant vessel : a sailor boy's voyages around the world (1894) - devotes a chapter to cotton screwing and gives words to 4 songs used (p34 onwards).

Lyrics are given to verions of Stormy, Dollar, Fire Maringo and Highland Laddie.

Mick


01 Jun 18 - 06:09 PM (#3928559)
Subject: RE: Cotton screwing songs
From: GUEST

RE: SCREWING :

And then there's screw this shit, don't know why I bothered.

You have my sympathy, Gibb Sahib. The number of people on the Mudcat who have any interest in actually playing an instrument or singing a song is getting smaller all the time.

Thank you, princess, for showing us unworthy mortals the way.


02 Jun 18 - 04:33 PM (#3928785)
Subject: RE: Cotton screwing songs
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch

fyi: Juneteenth is right around the corner. Back where I come from it's when one celebrates Cuney et al. For someone my age that's like before AOL even.

Nothing wrong with singing and playing for enjoyment. It's the unsourced, hard science performance claims that get one in trouble with the laws of Man and Nature (Coasts Guard, inertia, gravity &c.)

Unless I'm wrong about Gibb's working criteria, it's a straight word search. Searching for "capstan" wouldn't yield a list of capstan shanties would it? The cotton screwers themselves being MIA is also a problem imo.

I think a thread title along the lines of "songs that mention..." would be more intellectually honest at this stage. Maybe something develops, maybe not. Say as you do, do as you say and all that.


02 Jun 18 - 04:42 PM (#3928787)
Subject: RE: Cotton screwing songs
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch

If here isn't the best place for this mayhaps a Mudelf can help out. It's cotton compressing (steam baling) but the labour all comes from the same community & culture:

"You press more, you press fifty bales more an hour when you calling the press... " [Clifford Blake, Sr.]

Calling the Cotton Press

(Scroll down for audio.)


16 Oct 22 - 02:38 PM (#4155295)
Subject: RE: Cotton screwing songs
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch

Steve: I posted an earlier link to this thread in Maritime work song in general but didn't post anything here for some reason.

Steve: Also interesting that some of the mentions of worksong use refer to steeving hides, quite similar to screwing cotton. (Two Years Before the Mast) -

"This was the most lively part of our work. A little boating and beach work in the morning; then twenty or thirty men down in a close hold, where we were obliged to sit down and slide about, passing hides, and rowsing about the great steeves, tackles, and dogs, singing out at the falls, and seeing the ship filling up every day.” [p.286]

"The next day, the California commenced unloading her cargo; and her boats' crews, in coming and going, sang their boat-songs, keeping in time with their oars. This they did all day long for several days, until their hides were all discharged, when a gang of them were sent on board the Alert, to help us steeve our hides. This was a windfall for us, for they had a set of new songs for the capstan and fall, and ours had got nearly worn our by six-weeks' constant use. I have no doubt this timely reinforcement of songs hastened our work several days.” [pp.290-91]



More than similar, and hemp is actually a lot harder to do right than cotton or raw hide -
"1819:
“We took in a cargo of hemp at Cronstadt, the stowing of which by means of jackscrews was the work of the Russian serfs, whose brawny limbs were fed on nothing better than black bread of a very sour flavour and garlic. But they were kept in heart by glasses of fiery "bottery," which it was my office to give them at stated hours; and they lightened their heavy labour by improvised chants sung in untiring chorus, under a leader, who gave the improvisations.”
[Autobiography of Archbishop Ullathorne, 1892, p.26]


16 Oct 22 - 04:11 PM (#4155302)
Subject: RE: Cotton screwing songs
From: Gibb Sahib

The steeving of hides (Dana) was a lot different than screwing cotton bales, kinesthetically.

The significance, for me, is that they are both steeving labors and Dana's repertoire of songs the actual man hours spent work-singing while steeving appear to have been qualitatively and quantitatively different than the work-singing under sail at that time/place. Suggesting how the newer brand of songs was coming via stevedores (and boat-rowers) more so than past deepwater tradition.

Dana's crew was still working with the handspike windlass, and the "heave ho's" endemic to it. A year after his voyage, that would start to change ("Sally Brown" at Tyzack and Dobinson's patent windlass). One of the notable things about Dana's experience is how his repertoire appears to have gotten phased out so quickly in the next decade.

I was just in Dana's area last weekend, looking at the cliffs and imagining the hides being tossed down to the beach.
No news on what might replace the sunken _Pilgrim_ replica.
Somewhere, I forget where I saw it -- one of the area's missions, I think -- has a dried hide on display as an aid to tell the story.


16 Oct 22 - 07:44 PM (#4155317)
Subject: RE: Cotton screwing songs
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch

Going meta here: Does Mudcat have an existing "steeving song" thread?

On jackscrews &c: Wool is another cargo that got screwed in but no songs yet. And American east coast Sea Island extra long staple cotton never even got baled... gently bagged, thank you.

In developed ports the task was for a specialized union, or near to it. So-called harbour Staple Rights &c were often a $cam for the locals. Dana's way out in the boondocks. They're on their own for everything.


16 Oct 22 - 10:18 PM (#4155323)
Subject: RE: Cotton screwing songs
From: Gibb Sahib

"Does Mudcat have an existing "steeving song" thread?"

If they are chanties, they are discussed under the subject of chanties. If not, maybe elsewhere. Chanties *were* foremost stevedores' (or longshoremens', depending on the parlance of the time) songs, and *are* foremost sailors' songs—hence the shell game nature of discussions in 2022. A "chantyman" is a stevedore.

I think this thread was my attempt to introduce some finer grain to it, to parse out chanty-type material with some degree of specificity (but not exclusive to) the screwmen, but then something got short circuited. Having better luck doing a similar thing with windlass songs, because at least I can keep that isolated in the conventional frame of "ships" and not create cognitive dissonance about chanties. (Even that flopped when I tried to present it at a Society for American Music conference. The audience was all "Oh, have you heard this delightful folk song? Black people sang it, and you mentioned Black people, so I just felt like mentioning it." And the panel chair, some sociologist from Britain who didn't know how to chair a panel, made some banal comments about how chanties promote camaraderie [in a way as if I was missing that supposedly salient issue, which so profoundly occurred to his deep-thinking intellect]—not considering this wasn't my first chanty rodeo, that I'm not about to rehash the same novice points at a conference that is supposed to be about scholars' *new* research, and completely missing everything that was specific to the songs and windlasses.)

"Wool is another cargo that got screwed in but no songs yet."

Not sure what you mean by "yet". Do you mean there isn't a Mudcat thread *dedicated to* wool screwing (which was done largely in South Africa and Australia, by essentially an identical process as cotton screwing) or to songs of men screwing wool (which were chanties, brought from America)?

I've written an article about cotton screwers, including relevant comparison to wool screwers and sugar screwers (and songs), but it has sat on the shelf and isn't published yet. Having trouble finding a publication that can handle both the discussion of arcane labor technology and musicology. Alas, the first round of reviews made me cut a lot out (fine details about the song repertoire and the work methods) due to word count limits, and I think those things will end up as orphans. Trying to fill in the gaps for readers to either topic that is unfamiliar already takes up too much of the word count. I have more than enough research data for the essay, but peer review does not go well when you 1) introduce topics that no reviewer is familiar with and 2) can't (won't) cite canonical works that they know.

Headed to New Orleans next month for some light archival research. Already having contacted the archivists ahead, they've got the same mix up of thinking cotton presses have something to do with cotton jacks. Got the same blank stares in Mobile and Galveston when I went to archives there. Had to go to Maine to see comparable jacks, but still not the right ones. It's amazing to consider that nearly 100 cotton jackscrews were thrown into the Mississippi at NOLA when the White cotton screwmen went berserk against the Black screwmen in the 1890s... Are the screws still on the muddy bottom? Because they're certainly not in any archives or museums that I've visited.

Best I can realistically hope for is a nice souvenir snapshot of the Screwmen's Benevolent Association tomb!


17 Oct 22 - 02:26 AM (#4155335)
Subject: RE: Cotton screwing songs
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch

Gibb: Last time I was in New Orleans everything I was looking for was under an interstate highway or football stadium... bonne chasse.

No wool screwing song song references a la Archbishop Ullathorne and Russian hemp screwers in the other thread...yet. But it's still 1836 over there. Tomorrow never knows.

"A "chantyman" is a stevedore." --- Cotton screwing and steeving songs are chorus helciariorum. A celeustes is a lead helciarii, supervisor or caller. He gets the extempore verse. Labour gets the chorus, burthen, howling reply.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day...


17 Oct 22 - 03:34 PM (#4155406)
Subject: RE: Cotton screwing songs
From: Steve Gardham

Not sure if you followed there, Phil.

What Gibb was saying is the cotton-screwing foreman's title was 'chantyman' long before the word 'chanty' was applied to ships at sea. Coincidence? Hardly!


17 Oct 22 - 06:38 PM (#4155437)
Subject: RE: Cotton screwing songs
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch

All: Is anybody claiming 1836 or earlier? If so, I've already missed it.

If we're talking Nordhoff it would be capstans and cottons screws; song and song leader; professional labour, middle management and paying passengers in one volume;… so more like coeval or contemporaneous or whatevs.

And nothing new to report in the naval science department. We've got skill positions at drummers, fifers, fiddlers, boatswains, mates, strokesmen, foremen &c &c &c but, at present, "chantyman" has not made the pay grade.


18 Oct 22 - 10:25 AM (#4155500)
Subject: RE: Cotton screwing songs
From: Steve Gardham

From my reading I don't think the word 'chantyman' was ever an official title, just a description. He was just one of the crew and his only perk/pay was escaping the exertion on occasions. It was in the mates' interest to make sure there was at least one chantyman in each watch.


19 Oct 22 - 09:25 AM (#4155593)
Subject: RE: Cotton screwing songs
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch

I'd be surprised if it shows up on anybody's union card, not disappointed, stranger things have happened.

I really just bumped the thread for Ullathorn's singing hemp screwers and your comments from the other thread. Probably could have posted this one here as well. no singing though:

"STEEVING, is alfo a Word ufed by Merchant men, when they flow Cotton, or Wool, which is forc’d in with Screws; this they call Steeving their Cotton, or Wool.”
[The Gentleman's Dictionary, Bonwicke, 1705]


19 Nov 23 - 01:09 AM (#4185985)
Subject: RE: Cotton screwing songs
From: Gibb Sahib

My article on cotton screwing and sailor chantymen has been published and is now available in open access form from the Journal of the Society for American Music.

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-the-society-for-american-musi

It ended up quite different than it started. One of my earlier intentions was to get into the repertoire of songs more--songs that might be considered to share the same genre style as sailors' chanties yet repertoire that, perhaps was more or less favored by cotton screwmen. I also wanted to talk about my ideas of the method of applying the songs to the task: my interpretation that one would exert just after rather than synchronous with the choruses. But those aspects and some of the other "weeds" had to be cut in order to get it published in an argument-focused style. So, it became centrally about showing the significance of cotton screwing to sailor chanty singers.


19 Nov 23 - 01:09 AM (#4191547)
Subject: RE: Cotton screwing songs
From: Gibb Sahib

My article on cotton screwing and sailor chantymen has been published and is now available in open access form from the Journal of the Society for American Music.

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-the-society-for-american-musi

It ended up quite different than it started. One of my earlier intentions was to get into the repertoire of songs more--songs that might be considered to share the same genre style as sailors' chanties yet repertoire that, perhaps was more or less favored by cotton screwmen. I also wanted to talk about my ideas of the method of applying the songs to the task: my interpretation that one would exert just after rather than synchronous with the choruses. But those aspects and some of the other "weeds" had to be cut in order to get it published in an argument-focused style. So, it became centrally about showing the significance of cotton screwing to sailor chanty singers.


18 Dec 23 - 04:40 AM (#4193806)
Subject: RE: Cotton screwing songs
From: Gibb Sahib

The link in the above got cut off. (And for some reason, after a Mudcat crash, the post got posted twice!)

Here's the repaired link:

"Remembering the Cotton Screwmen: Inter-racial Waterfront Labor and the Development of Sailors' Chanties"


21 Dec 23 - 06:41 PM (#4194027)
Subject: RE: Cotton screwing songs
From: Felipa

the Scottish bard Robbie Burns (author of Green Grow the Rushes o, etc) abandoned plans to emigrate to Jamaica to work as a bookkeeper on a sugar plantation. Cotton is grown in Jamaica, as well as a sugarcane.

If Burns had gone to Jamaica he might have written some cotton screwing songs.

Sorry ... ...