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Gibb Sahib Origins: Blood-Red Roses, WW2 version (19) RE: Origins: Blood-Red Roses, WW2 version 22 Aug 17

I'm good Richard, thanks.
I paid a visit to Carriacou earlier this month, in a way following up on chanties that Alan Lomax recorded there in 1962. Although some of those chanties found release on a commercial disc, my impression is that they are barely known by the community of people who tends to take an interest in chanties. One reason for this (I think) is that they have never been "filed" (so to speak) as chanties. Indeed, Lomax and similar folklorists were coming into the situation with a pre-formed idea of what chanties are which, to an extant, prevented them from seeing the full import of these songs to the topic. Further, their work has caused the local people to downplay the significance of their chanties to the extent that they think of them as a British import (and thus less notable than their other traditions, which the folklorists marked as "African").

Sorry for the thread drift! -- but it came to mind because, as I see it, there is little in actual evidence to point to the "Bunch of Roses" chanty belonging to a "White" / English (I do realize these labels are problematic!) cultural thread *aside* from the fact that Hugill included in his book and the fact that, being thus placed in a particular mid-century Anglo framework of "sea shanties" (e.g. by the folk performers like Bert Lloyd), many people working in this Anglo Folk framework have tended to extrapolate various meanings related to what they associate with "the sea", eg. deep sea whalermen, Royal Naval forces, and the like. The evidence -- of a game song in Trinidad, of a stick fighting song in Trinidad, of an Afro-Bahamian launching song, of Hugill getting the song from Harding the Barbadian, of Adams (1879) having it from an all Black crew -- tends to be ignored in favor of (what I think many performers imagine as) a picture that Jolly Jack Euro/American seaman were singing this all over the seas while dwelling on nautical imagery of Nelson's battles!

Again, sorry for the thread drift, but I see the potential for another coat of paint being slapped on the Jolly Jack Tar narrative of these songs here, and I wanted to step in in my role as paint-remover! :-) In short, we can go round and round speculating on if the red roses were British sailors' jackets or pools of whale blood, based on free-association based in what Anglo sailors may have done according to some [New] England folklorist or we could get to seeing what people in the Caribbean and the Bahamas and the Southern Black American community were actually doing and what they still actually remember -- which lies outside the common frame of reference of Folkies. (*getting off my donkey now!*)

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