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JWB Origin: John Cherokee (59* d) RE: John Cherokee 10 Jun 09

I just came across a mention of John Cherokee in one of Stan's 'Bosun's Locker' articles (collected in "The Bosun's Locker", published in 2006 -- these were written originally for Spin magazine). Stan is reviewing the paperback edition of Colcord's "Songs of American Sailormen." Here's the paragraph.

"On page 98 Miss Colcord gives Captain Robinson's John Cherokee, and states that 'Eckstrom and Smyth give a fragment of this song, with the refrain Jan Kanaganaga, too-li-aye.' This is of extreme interest to the reviewer, first because I have a rather different version, in tune, of John Cherokee, and, secondly because this is the only reference I have ever seen in print to my collected John Kanaka-maka[sic] tulai-e. As to one being the refrain of the other, this, of course, is just plain rubbish; the two shanties are entirely unrelated, and I learnt both, many years ago, from a wonderful coloured shantyman called Harding the Barbadian, a man steeped in shanty tradition, and a real seaman who would never have been guilty of making two shanties out of one."

An interesting tidbit, given this thread and the one Gibb started on Caribbean chanteys, with its discussion of John Kanaka. Stan claims in "SFSS" that it was John Kanaka's first time in print, and his "my collected…" from above reiterates that.


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