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JWB 'Rare' Caribbean shanties of Hugill, etc (247* d) RE: 'Rare' Caribbean shanties of Hugill, etc 30 Apr 09


Like my uncle Clem used to say, "If you can't dazzle 'em with brilliance, confuse 'em with quantity." Never really knew what he meant...

I can't speak for others of my generation, but my personal journey through chanteydom started with the "classics" -- NY Gals, Blow the Man Down, Hieland Laddie -- the ones that had been recorded in the 60s and 70s and 80s. Discovering that there were actual written collections of chanteys was a tremendous thing, and I've still not recovered from acquisition fever: I've got a shelf full of chantey and sea song collections.

But even starting just with Hugill's book there was such a trove of great songs. Many of us regulars at the Mystic Festival would make it a point to "premier" a previously unheard/unsung chantey each year. For me, it was to build up the repertoire of chanteys in circulation. I figured, since they weren't writing any more of them, let's get all the mileage we can out of the ones we have.

The ones I believe I brought back to life (not having heard anyone else sing them, and not having found any recordings of them) are Huckleberry Hunting (Colcord), Priest and Nuns (Harlow), The Shaver (Hugill), and Gimme de Banjo (Hugill). There's no aural link to the past for these songs, so it's a wonderful sense of discovery to learn the tune and words and present the song to an audience.

I'm hoping that at Mystic in June there will be some "new" chanteys heard, ressurected from the old books.


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