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Gibb Sahib Origins: What Shall We Do With a Drunken Sailor (48) RE: Origins: Drunken Sailor-Dickens question for Gibb 09 Mar 16


All non-chorus chanty lyrics are potential "floaters." Does that mean the (non-chorus) lyrics of every chanty were completely unexpected before every performance, that there was never any consistency? No.

(I speak the language of "floater" only to communicate here in brief. [One can't go explaining the entire aesthetic system (or at least one's theory thereof!) every time a reductive question comes up about a specific line in a song.] It's not a floater in the sense discussed more typically in Anglo-English traditional songs. It's more like "improvisation," though the connotations of that word in this community, I fear, would make it less understood than "floater." Suffice it to say, the non-chorus lines of most chanties are not fixed, especially not after an opening line or two.)

The chanty text to which a line about a "Booble Alley" (sic) is ascribed comes in Marryat, as I have been saying, and you can find the reference to that and some discussion in my paper linked above. I don't know how many times I have to type "Marryat" and "read my paper if you want to understand where I'm coming from." Sheesh! hehe...

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