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JWB 'Rare' Caribbean shanties of Hugill, etc (247* d) RE: 'Rare' Caribbean shanties of Hugill, etc 05 Nov 10


It is so interesting to sift through the collections and really look at one song in depth. I pulled out my copy of Harlow, and find that on page 85 he describes the group of chanteys which include "Way Sing Sally" thusly: "...purely West Indian negro chanteys sung while hoisting cargo from the hold of ships and seldom if ever sung by sailors at the halliards." That would imply that Whall, Hugill, Lubbock, et al, heard the song in port and not out to sea. But did Harlow have any evidence but his own experience upon which to base such a proclamation?

Speaking of bowdlerization, I imagine that no revival performer would present Harlow's version as is:

Sally am de gal just like a daisy.
Way, sing Sally.
She turns me around till I'm half crazy.
Sally am de gal fo' me.

Sally she's a 'Badian bright mulatto;
She nebba' uses snuff or chews tobacco.

Sally am de gal dat lubs dis nigga';
Now stay away black man, yo' cuts no figga'.

Sally dressed up in her new suit ob clo's;
See all de nigga's look around where ebba she goes.

Nigga' in the corn fiel' actin' up bold,
Oh, Sally hit de nigga' an' knocks him out cold.

It is h'ist an' sing while de mate is naggin;'
He growls all de day wid his dingin' an' a-dangin'.

Nebba min de weather, but keep yo' legs togedda;
De fair land ob Canaan will soon be a-showin'.


And to top all, Harlow describes the song as a "'Badian coon chantey". It would be far more acceptable today to sing bawdy lyrics than these, eh?

Jerry


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