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Gibb Sahib Origins: Where is Vallipo Bay? (Randy Dandy o!) (15) RE: Origins: Where is Vallipo Bay? (Randy Dandy o!) 16 Oct 19


"Vallipo Bay," however, probably has nothing more than incidental to do with the song, I think. Like nearly all chanties, the verses can be open-ended and improvisatory. Maybe it was a verse that Hugill heard someone sing once in the context of the song—once. More likely, I think, it was something he just "improvised" when going through the process of providing multiple verses in his collection.

Hugill says he learned the song from the Barbadian named Harding. I dunno... I have a hard time picturing Harding singing,
"we're outward bound for Vallipo Bay
Get crackin' m'lads 'tis a hell o' a way"
When Hugill says he learned the song from Harding, we can't assume he meant that he memorized a specific set of lyrics from Harding.

Since the other person who published the song (in a sailor related context) was Robinson (1917), and since Robinson ascribed it to the guano/saltpeter ships of the South American coast... and since Hugill read Robinson and was keen to narrate about this era/place of shipping... and since Hugill liked to construct narratives in his versions... I can see Hugill sitting there wanting to fit the song into the "South American guano" picture, and fleshing out a set of lyrics (as good as any other set) on that coherent theme.

The song would have been *laundered through the **Folk Music process.

(*Laundering: When folk music people obscure the known histories of songs, to leave more room to interpret them as "authentic products.")

(**Whereas people around talk about "the folk process" -- changes to songs, through selection and forgetting, in an oral transmission -- I refer to the "Folk Music process": freezing the form of songs, which were potentially fluid in tradition, through new publishing, recording, and performing them as fixed entities. Each new repetition [from The Young Tradition to Assasin's Creed] inscribes a deeper mark and creates the impression that a particular song or a rendition is common.)


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