Mudcat Café message #3714625 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #157369   Message #3714625
Posted By: Lighter
05-Jun-15 - 10:44 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: Chanteys in Greig-Duncan
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Chanteys in Greig-Duncan
Some spare time suddenly yawned open and I was able to check my collection of 20+ pre-Hugill chantey books and articles.

Of course, as Gibb has pointed out, many were plagiarized to begin with.

But what I find bears out his post. *Nobody* prints "earleye" or anything like it. (That includes Doerflinger, who seems to have been meticulous.)

AS to the general principle, however: Of chantey collectors, both (but only) C. F. Smith and James Hatfield (who noted his few chanteys in 1886) agree that "Rio" in "Rio Grande" *always* (both emphasize this) pronounced 'Rye-o" rather than "Ree-o."

But that could be a different story. The pronunciation of Spanish and Portuguese words in English in the 19th century was usually completely anglicized (like lawyers' Latin has always been). So "Rye-o" "Grand" (note the anglication here as well) could be quite independent of "earl-eye."

What's also interesting is that "Drunken Sailor" appears in collections rather less frequently than one might expect.

Certainly the word in the 1950s was "earl-eye." Pete Seeger always sang "earl-eye."

As usual, blanket statements about folklore such as "always" should be avoided. But if Hugill had heard *only* "early"at sea, he wouldn't have said "always." Nor if (frightening thought) he'd learned the chantey from a Burl Ives record, would he have been likely to say "always," since *none* of his so-called "desk sources" recommended it.

The preponderance of the evidence (barely) is that Hugill did hear "ear-lye" at sea. But it may have been a late affectation after all, presumably influenced by "Rye-o" Grande.