Mudcat Café message #3714130 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #157373   Message #3714130
Posted By: Gibb Sahib
02-Jun-15 - 11:31 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: Chanteys in the R.W. Gordon papers
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Chanteys in the R.W. Gordon papers
Indeed, Lighter, but my expectations are not so high as to think Gordon would, say, ask singers what they thought of the songs. I just meant that we're missing even the basic information of who sang theseóbasic information that other folklorists did provide. "Some (presumably) sailor in Frisco Bay" doesn't help much with interpreting where this was coming from. I know that Gordon does make these notes, elsewhere, but it's frustrating in the case of the Oakland sailors batch.

What was their race, nationality, level of education, highest rank achieved, etc? How did Gordon prompt them, and what his manner of selection of material? (I am just asking these things rhetorically.) What what *I* have casually observed, Gordon may have *liked* to find renditions of chanties that contained narratives from English ballads. I don't think the wider corpus of documented chanties, especially when one throws out the fancy of certain editors, suggests that English ballad narratives were particularly common. I suspect this phenomenon has been given undue weight. But I wish I could mark it some how -- for example, if we knew such texts tended to be from high falutin' White officers (I'm not saying that they were), then we could say "English ballad narratives adapted to chanties was something that high falutin' White officers sometimes sang" rather than tossing it into the common pot and coming to a conclusion that "chantey-singers" (at large) were preoccupied with "The Farmer's Cursed Wife". I'm exaggerating, of course, for effect :-)