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Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings

Charley Noble 30 Sep 11 - 09:35 PM
Gibb Sahib 30 Sep 11 - 06:58 PM
Gibb Sahib 29 Sep 11 - 06:19 PM
shipcmo 29 Sep 11 - 05:35 PM
Desert Dancer 29 Sep 11 - 02:17 PM
Gibb Sahib 28 Sep 11 - 08:40 PM
Gibb Sahib 23 Sep 11 - 02:47 AM
Gibb Sahib 23 Sep 11 - 02:08 AM
Gibb Sahib 23 Sep 11 - 01:33 AM
Ross Campbell 22 Sep 11 - 08:48 PM
Gibb Sahib 22 Sep 11 - 08:18 PM
Gibb Sahib 22 Sep 11 - 04:43 PM
Gibb Sahib 22 Sep 11 - 04:08 PM
RoyH (Burl) 13 Aug 11 - 05:58 AM
Gibb Sahib 13 Aug 11 - 04:28 AM
Gibb Sahib 12 Aug 11 - 02:54 AM
Charley Noble 11 Aug 11 - 09:37 PM
Gibb Sahib 11 Aug 11 - 07:08 AM
RoyH (Burl) 11 Aug 11 - 06:10 AM
Gibb Sahib 10 Aug 11 - 10:58 PM
Gibb Sahib 10 Aug 11 - 10:37 PM
Bill D 12 May 11 - 11:18 AM
Bill D 12 May 11 - 11:12 AM
Desert Dancer 12 May 11 - 10:23 AM
InOBU 11 Feb 11 - 05:00 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 10 Feb 11 - 12:58 PM
InOBU 10 Feb 11 - 03:34 AM
Desert Dancer 09 Feb 11 - 10:30 PM
Desert Dancer 09 Feb 11 - 08:42 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 09 Feb 11 - 05:25 PM
Desert Dancer 09 Feb 11 - 02:12 PM
Charley Noble 09 Feb 11 - 07:36 AM
Gibb Sahib 09 Feb 11 - 04:14 AM
KathyW 08 Feb 11 - 10:31 PM
KathyW 08 Feb 11 - 09:39 PM
KathyW 08 Feb 11 - 09:38 PM
Desert Dancer 08 Feb 11 - 09:25 PM
Charley Noble 08 Feb 11 - 09:04 PM
Desert Dancer 08 Feb 11 - 07:16 PM
Lighter 08 Feb 11 - 06:58 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 08 Feb 11 - 06:47 PM
Gibb Sahib 08 Feb 11 - 06:10 PM
Charley Noble 08 Feb 11 - 06:01 PM
Gibb Sahib 08 Feb 11 - 05:17 PM
Lighter 08 Feb 11 - 04:24 PM
Desert Dancer 08 Feb 11 - 01:55 PM
Desert Dancer 08 Feb 11 - 01:54 PM
Bob_Walser 08 Feb 11 - 01:46 PM
brezhnev 08 Feb 11 - 01:00 PM
Sailor Ron 08 Feb 11 - 11:25 AM
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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Charley Noble
Date: 30 Sep 11 - 09:35 PM

Nice to see King recognized. I've only seen reviews of his work, which I think I've mentioned.

Cicely Fox Smith was quite aware of the shanty/chantey/chanty revival, warts and all, in the 1920s, and composed a scathing rant about the worst of it.

Smith also contributed to one of the early radio shows in the 1930s, Uncle Mac's Children's Hour, narrated by Derek McCulloch (1897-1967), which featured some of her nautical short stories.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 30 Sep 11 - 06:58 PM

This event described by the source (below) is interesting because it marks perhaps the first (or first I've seen!) instances of chanties being performed by "laymen". Although we don't know if, perhaps, some or all of the performers were ex-seamen, it seems to me that most or all were simply interested amateurs. They speak of preserving the songs – the first rumblings of a revival? As I said, Davis/Tozer's volume, which doesn't seem to have gotten much notice until its third edition, looks to have been the only publication in the 19th century that was created to facilitate performance of chanties by laypersons.

Audio recording was not yet envisioned. However, the interest in preserving and preservation by laypersons --grounds for a revival-- seems to have started not much more than a decade after people (e.g. Alden, 1882) were declaring chanties to be "dead."

1895        Manchester Literary Club. Papers of the Manchester Literary Club. Vol. 21. Manchester: John Heywood.

(Cross-posted in another thread)

4 Feb., 1895, at one of the weekly meetings of the Manchester Literary Club, J.B. Shaw presented a paper on chanties. It was accompanied by performances, with piano accompaniment.

Two sentences are verbatim copy of Alden's 1882 article, so that was used as a source on background. If they had piano accompaniment, there is a good chance they were using Davis & Tozer's Third Edition, published in the early 1890s, as it was the only source then with accompaniment. However, they *might* have made their own accompaniment.

The brief reads as follows.
//
Sailors' Chanties.

Mr. J. B. Shaw contributed the principal paper. It dealt with Sailors' Chanties and other Sea Songs, and was illustrated by the singing of a number of these "chanties" and songs by Messrs. Derby, Butterworth, Dinsmore, Edmeston, Mercer, and Wilcock, who were accompanied on the piano by Mr. W. Noel Johnson. The reader said that "Sailors' Chanties" belonged to a time now no more. The typical "Jack " of the pre-propeller age has utterly vanished, has passed into the dusty domain of the archaeologist, and his real habits and customs will soon be forgotten. We should therefore make an effort to preserve the memory of his songs before the last man who heard them and can give testimony in regard to them is gone. The "Chanty-man," the chorister of the old packet ship, has left no successors. In the place of rousing "pulling songs" we now hear the rattle of the steam-winch, and the steamwinch or pump give us the rattle of cog-wheels or the hiss of steam instead of the wild choruses of other days. Sailors' songs might be divided into two classes, pulling songs and windlass songs. The former were used merely to aid the men when pulling on a rope, to pull at the same precise instant. The latter were intended to beguile the men while getting up the anchor or working the pumps into temporary forgetfulness of their prosaic labour. These songs are worth studying from various points of view. Musically they are most valuable, as showing how much they are characteristic of their subject, vocationally as proving the amount of impetus or encouragement needed by the singer in his work, and poetically by making known the feelings which animate a sailor's breast with regard to his home, his wife, his captain, and all that concerns him.
In the conversation which followed the reading of the paper, Messrs. Milner, Kay, Crosland, Chrystal, and Newton took part.
//


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 29 Sep 11 - 06:19 PM

Hurroh for Geo!

***
As a point of interest, I've marked with "**" the songs that JM Carpenter collected (?) from SH King in 1928. As far as I can tell, there are no recordings, just music notations and texts. Did Carpenter take them down from King's lips? Seems kind of funny if he did, because the set corresponds almost exactly to the set of songs in King's book! I would imagine that King standardized his versions pretty much. (Being a man of the church, he may have ensured "clean and wholesome" versions, too.)

**A Long Time Ago
**Blow, Boys, Blow
**Blow the Man Down
**Boney Was A Warrior
**Dead Horse, The
**Hanging Johnnie
**Leave Her, Johnny, Leave Her
**Reuben Ranzo
**Roll The Cotton Down
**Tom's Gone To Ilo
**Whisky For My Johnnie

Short Drag Chanties
**Haul Away, Joe
**Haul the Bowline
**Johnny Boker
**Paddy Doyle

Capstan Chanties
Homeward Bound
Hoodah-Say
**Plains of Mexico, The
**Rio Grande
**Sally Brown
**We're All Bound To Go
**Wide Missouri, The

Pumping Chanties
**One More Day
**Storm-Along

Old Sea Songs
**A-Roving
**Farewell, And Adieu To You
High Barbaree
Rolling Home

In addition to those marked, King also contributed to Carpenter a "haul together" chanty, which might have been "The Fishes." Hard to tell.


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: shipcmo
Date: 29 Sep 11 - 05:35 PM

King's Book Of Chanties
          by
Stanton H. King
Official Government Chanty-Man
Boston 1918

Contents
Long Drag Chanries
A Long Time Ago
Blow, Boys, Blow
Blow the Man Down
Boney Was A Warrior
Dead Horse, The
Hanging Johnnie
Leave Her, Johnny, Leave Her
Reuben Ranzo
Roll The Cotton Down
Tom's Gone To Ilo
Whisky For My Johnnie

Short Drag Chanties
Haul Away, Joe
Haul the Bowline
Johnny Boker
Paddy Doyle

Capatan Chanties
Homeward Bound
Hoodah-Say
Plains of Mexico, The
Rio Grande
Sally Brown
We're All Bound To Go
Wide Missouri, The

Pumping Chanties
One More Day
Storm-Along

Old Sea Songs
A-Roving
Farewell, And Adieu To You
High Barbaree
Rolling Home

This is a booklet, 5 1/8" x 7 3/4"
For the purists, I can scan & post.
Cheers,
Geo


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 29 Sep 11 - 02:17 PM

Wow. That's a good one, Gibb Sahib.


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 28 Sep 11 - 08:40 PM

This reference nicely fits the sort of thing I was looking for: the sense of a foundation for interest in performing or hearing, chanties, in the 1910s, that could support the developing recording industry and eventually lead to commercial recordings of shanties...and ultimately, revival.

Making reference to the activities of SH King promoting chanties in the American Merchant Marine, the writer supposes that soon they will be recorded and enjoyed by landlubbing audiences. (Cross-posted in another thread.)

1918        Unknown. "Carrying the Sea Atmosphere Inland." _Shipping_ 5(7) (16 November 1918): 13-5.

Folks back home at Bangor, Maine, or Mesa, Arizona, who have boys in the Merchant Marine, may soon hear real sea songs, as they now look on scenes aboard ship, without leaving their own neighborhood —sailors' "chanteys" are being preserved on phonograph records for home use—life on square-riggers, cargo steamers and merchant marine training ships, has become material for the "Movies"—altogether an interesting phase of a "back to the sea" movement of national proportions.

…In this educational effort for it is such, purely, undertaken from various angles by various people, but under authority of the United States Shipping Board, official sponsor for the merchant marine --some novel effects are being worked out. For example, in due time it may be expected that sailors' songs and sailors' "chanteys"--as sung in forecastles and at tasks on deck when Jack the merchant mariner was a personage afloat and ashore, as he is getting to be again --will be reproduced in the records of the family phonograph.

"Chanteys" for the Music Machine.

Chantey singing is being revived in the merchant marine, at least on the training ships which are preparing Young America, at the rate of 4,000 lads a month, for service on our vast new commerce fleets, and under the new order of things it will be possible for Bangor, Maine, and Mesa, Arizona to hear in the same hour the actual notes and phrases of such famous chanteys as "Shenandoah," "Bound for the Rio Grande" and "Blow the Man Down," for the record may have them hard and fast before spring flowers bloom again. …


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 23 Sep 11 - 02:47 AM

If there were very few or "none" commercial chanty recordings in the 1910, and if the few earlier recordings are islands that didn't really impact much that followed, how did a revival of interest in performing chanties (i.e. for fun) grow by the 1920s? What sort of support was there by way of publications (discussed elsewhere), commercial recordings (theme of this thread), and live performances (in a revival-istic vein--and angle I am humbly suggesting is of some relevance to the main theme of this thread)?

***
In America there was Stanton H. King. I don't have his book at my disposal:

King, Stanton H. King's Book of Chanties. Boston and New York: Oliver Ditson Co.

One of the main things to note is that it came out of his duties as "official chantyman" for the American Merchant Marine, which evidently started during the last year of WWI.

Here are some newspaper excerpts about King that have been gathered by Pam Beveridge on her Heirlooms Reunited Blog.

The Fort Wayne News And Sentinel
14 Feb 1918 - Fort Wayne, Indiana

Official chantie man for the American Merchant Marine is a brand new war job now being held down by Stanton H. King, of Boston. King is to revive chantie singing among the young sailors of Uncle Sam's new cargo ships. An old salt, who first went to sea from the Barbadoes thirty-eight years ago, and who for years sailed on deep-water Yankee ships, King shows that a good chantie is worth an extra hand. He is the best known singer of sailor songs in the country. "Many a time when things were going wrong, a fellow yo-h-ing a lively song has put strength into all our arms", said King. "You know the sailor has a sweetheart in every port. But the sailor's heart is not easily broken, for when one nymph leaves him, he speedily turns to another. Here's a harrowing pang: 'How I missed her, how I missed her, How I missed my Clementine! But I kissed her little sister and forgot my Clementine." We can bring many a fine old chantie up to date for use on army transports. This would go fine in the war zone: ' Masy a gallant ton of coal our bunkers they are full, Poke away my stokers, poke away!'" ...

From the Nashua Reporter, Nashua, Iowa, 7 Mar 1918

Stanton H. King of Boston has the only war job of its kind. He is official chantie man of the American Merchant Marine. His work will be to revive chantie singing among merchant sailors who will join the country's new cargo ships through the United States shipping board recruiting service, national headquarters of which are at Boston. While chantie singing has declined on all seas, owing to the change in recent years from sailing vessels to steamers, there not being much opportunity to "heave and haul" on board a steamer - its revival is considered important for two reasons. Mr. King is an old salt and learned chantie singing in its home, on deepwater vessels. He began going to sea 38 years ago from the Barbados, in the merchant service. For six years he served chiefly on deep-water Yankee ships...


Note the use of the word "revival." Who was it that had the idea to deliberately revive chanty singing? And just what were the the "two reasons" why it was important? What did they actually hope to accomplish? If it was mainly to build morale, I wonder how well it succeeded...and if there is a legacy of King's chanties that we can trace down to today among servicemen.


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 23 Sep 11 - 02:08 AM

Percy Grainger's arrangements fit into this somehow, though I don't know if one would really call them "significant."

This would fit, initially, into the English folklorists phase of the 1900s. The songs he collected appeared in this article:

1908        Broadwood, Lucy E., Percy Grainger, Cecil J. Sharp, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Frank Kidson, J.A. Fuller-Maitland, and A.G. Gilchrist. "[Songs Collected by Percy Grainger]." _Journal of the Folk-Song Society_ 3(12) (May 1908): 170-242.

The chanty items are:

SUNG BY MR. JOHN PERRING, AT DARTMOUTH, JAN. 18TH AND 25TH, 1908.
Collected and noted by H. E. Piggott and Percy Grainger:

STORM ALONG.
DOLLAR AND A 'ALF A DAY.
TOM'S GONE TO ILO.
SHALLOW BROWN.


Collected and sung by Mr. Charles Rosher
Noted by Percy Grainger, July 24th, 1906, and April 3rd, 1907.

STORMY.
LOWLANDS.
SANTA ANNA.
TOM'S GONE TO ILO.

Between 1907 and 1910+, Grainger composed art music arrangements based on what he'd collected/noted.
These were:
Dollar and a Half a Day (a composite of the two variants above) [ca.1922/23], Shallow Brown [1927], Stormy [unpublished], Shenandoah [unpublished].
I've put the dates of publication in brackets. I don't know if there would have been, possibly, many performances of these works before they were officially published.

Anyway, though Grainger created the arrangements in the 1900s, they may not have had any influence until the chanty revival was getting under way, 1920s.


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 23 Sep 11 - 01:33 AM

For the 1910s I forgot to mention the recording (posted by Q. above) by Henry Burr and Albert Campbell of "Shenandoah." According to THIS PAGE , it was recorded on June 19, 1917. According to other info I found on the web, it reached #9 on the Billboard chart in October 1917. "Halsey K. Mohr" has been credited as composer and lyricist, though I imagine that might just mean he was "arranger". It would be interesting to know what he used as his source.

I wouldn't say this item shows any sort interest in shanties. However, I don't whether "Shenandoah," by this time, had yet become dislodged from it's strong shanties associations. Would this first "charting" recording become the basis of later popular interpretations of the song?


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 22 Sep 11 - 08:48 PM

Q above listed various sources for Capt. W. B. Whall's book "Sea Songs and Shanties". It's still available (£9.95 + p&p) direct from the original publishers, and as far as I can see has never been out of print:-

Sea Songs and Shanties at Brown, Son & Ferguson

For anybody interested in ships and shipping, from the days of sail right up to modern times, their catalogue is a treasurehouse:-

Brown, Son & Ferguson Catalogue

Happy browsing!


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 22 Sep 11 - 08:18 PM

Jumping off the track her, but an interesting "early" recording of the French chanty, "Et Nous Irons à Valparaiso" (cross between Goodbye, Fare Ye Well and Blow the Man Down).

From 1932, it's Lys Gauty singing "Valparaiso"

Capt. Hayet had this in his 1927 collection of French chanties, which I understand popularized the song.


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 22 Sep 11 - 04:43 PM

Before Bradford & Fagge's collection, I think Davis & Tozer's was the only chanty designed to facilitate performance (Luce's collection, 1882/1902 also had a few songs buried in its pages). Davis's 3rd edition (?), 1891 (?), is the one most people would have had access to early on -- until it was revived in revised edition in 1927. But although the lyrics of Davis's book were widely quoted/copied by authors in the 1890s-1910s, I don't know anything about whether many people were actually performing Tozer's arrangements. There is this note from RR Terry, in his 1921 _Shanty Book_:

Davis and Tozer's book has had a great vogue, as it was for many years the only one on the market.

Terry does not mention Bradford/Fagge.

Folklorists' presentations of chanties began in the 1900s decade and into the 1910s.

The 1910s saw the publication of substantial collections in which the songs were presented as if they should be performed -- examples being Whall (1910), Bullen (1914), and Sharp (1914). However, as we've discussed elsewhere, their usability seems to have been retarded by their very brief texts.

So, indeed...I'm yet unsure whether, in the 1910s, the "general public" yet had easy access to chanties to consume.


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 22 Sep 11 - 04:08 PM

Does anyone know of any commercial recordings of chanties in the 1910s decade?

I think the history of these recordings is a good way to follow the development of the chanty revival(s).

So far, I'm seeing the Minster Singers recordings of the 1900s decade as an isolated incident. I'm suggesting that they were done mainly as a novelty, and they filled a "slot" in the growing record market that sought to offer diverse selections for collectors. (I am not saying that was the inspiration for recording, however.) There doesn't seem to have been any strong, broad interest in listening to/performing chanties as entertainment at that time.

Shanties *were* being written about, in nostalgic terms or framed as folklore, at that time.

I'd be interested to fill in some gaps to better pinpoint when, by the 1920s, chanteys began to have wide appeal.


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: RoyH (Burl)
Date: 13 Aug 11 - 05:58 AM

Gibb Sahib, Sorry mate, I have no real evidence at all. I sang it at a club one night, years ago, and a bloke approached me in the interval and told me his dad had an old record of the song sung by John Goss, 'perhaps the first recording.' Until then I'd never heard of John Goss but I did find out that he was very popular in his day and just assumed that my informant was correct. No Google in those days of course. Cheers, Burl.


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 13 Aug 11 - 04:28 AM

So, for the 1900s decade, I've not been able to spot any other recordings.

This ad in a 1905 magazine lists the Minster Singers' recordings of 7 chanties.

http://books.google.com/books?id=wH4cAAAAIAAJ&pg=RA2-PA184&dq=%22minster+singers

On article from 24 Aug, 1907 (Tin he Living Age, vol. 36, no. 3294) on "THE TALKING-MACHINE", mentions "sea-chanties" on cylinder. I believe the genre is merely being used rhetorically to show variety and novelty, and, though speaking generically, the Minster Singers recordings were likely what was in mind.

The record connoisseur has a wide choice in which to specialize. He may go in for specimens of famous bands, such as the Scots Guards, the irish Guards, the Garde Republicaine, &c., or he may prefer English, Scotch, or irish ballads; if instrumental solos, then he has violin, pianoforte, cornet, piccolo, xylophone, banjo, concertina, &c., many of them made by worldfamous artists. Of vocal records there are many fine soprano, contralto, tenor, baritone, and bass records on the market, without counting duets, quartettes, choruses, &c. Then there are national airs or specimens of music peculiar to the different countries; Turkish, Russian, Japanese, Chinese records, and many others, are all obtainable. Descriptive records alone offer a tempting field. If the quaint and exceptional specially appeal, then the collector may go in for pygmy records, sea-chanties, &c., ...

The Minster Singers' recordings were evidently renditions of Bradford & Fagge's collection. I don't recall seeing the influence of those versions on later recordings I've heard. Where these recordings listened to by later performers? I would guess the answer is, pretty much, no. Besides, the next set of performers would be following the scores of someone else's presentations. I wonder if (and I guess there isn't) much or any connection between these recordings of the 1900s and those in the first revival of the 1920s.


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 12 Aug 11 - 02:54 AM

Hi Charley,

I've not much time, either -- too many pots boiling right now! What I meant was just to allow the thread to continue, and anyone can add info into it at leisure. The main idea, however, would be that the info added would be accompanied by some sense (even if conjecture) of where the recordings "fit in" and/or where they were coming from.

Minimally I thought it could be refreshed!

Gibb


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Charley Noble
Date: 11 Aug 11 - 09:37 PM

Gibb-

This is a great concept but I've just not the time to sort through the recordings I have. Maybe I'll be feeling less stressed come September.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 11 Aug 11 - 07:08 AM

Hi burl,

Do you have any more info on the "Hullabaloo" recording?


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: RoyH (Burl)
Date: 11 Aug 11 - 06:10 AM

This is a wonderful thread, packed with information. I started reeading from the first posting and was soon thinking 'I must tell them about John Goss.' But then up came Desert Dancer and his great post of 7 Feb, 04.48pm All I was going to say was that John Goss was a very popular singer and probably the first man to record 'Hullabaloo Belay'.


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 10 Aug 11 - 10:58 PM

We could study it decade by decade, for example,

1900s decade

1905, The Minster Singers:

(Victor 61145) "The Capstan Bar"
(61146) "Blow, My Bully Boys" and "Sally Brown"
(61147) "Whisky Johnny," and "Shenandoah"
(61148) "Rio Grande" and "Blow the Man Down"

From (in conjunction with) John Bradford and Arthur Fagge's booklet, _Old Sea Chanties_ (1904).


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 10 Aug 11 - 10:37 PM

I'd be interested in continuing this discussion to include the development/history of commercial chanty recordings. We've talked about some of the "earliest", but could continue onward.

Of particular note would be the sources of information of the performers.

How did style develop? What "versions" gained hold through recordings? These and other questions might be interesting.


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Bill D
Date: 12 May 11 - 11:18 AM

It seems about all those were recorded in 1938-1939


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Bill D
Date: 12 May 11 - 11:12 AM

The Library of Congress has some recordings

This collection has some

Or, simply go to http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/browse/ListSome.php?format=Sound+Recording and search for 'sea songs'.


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 12 May 11 - 10:23 AM

I have checked the new National Jukebox site for those 1905 Minster Singers Victor recordings, but can't find 'em. They were recorded in London, I wonder if that means they won't show up at all. Will make inquiry.

:-(

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: InOBU
Date: 11 Feb 11 - 05:00 AM

Oxford is not very high in the estimation of we Irish, and well, being Anglo Irish, my grand da was a Cambridge man... the only thing which might support the French origions is that the adjective comes second in Irish, generally, but than there is sean-nos, old style. So, I will let the OED slobs (also from the Irish) believe what they will, seantigh is as Irish, as well, the glens of Antrim - ( excuse that I tread close to sliping in a slogan - also, and Irish word ) The OED would contest the example of the Glens to be a good analogy. But than again, I am sure they are a pack or Tories, Torai or Tory being a bandit.

As to OED's handle on Gaelige, to put the cap of death on someone, to deliver the caidhp báis is an old phrase in Irish, used long before the middle ages and the introduction of Yiddish to Ireland - which has happened, for example in Kerry we would say of the OED... och, what a pack of smuckeens. Ach, anish, ta me "Conca" from this cold, so I am off to bed. (conca = conked)

Well... there is much about us the OED has not glomed (Irish for grab)on to... or as the OED would say, much on to which they have not glommed...

Well, for now, I close with a tip of the whiskey glass (happy for that one at least, I suppose you should be...)

Is mise, le meas, ar chor ar bith
Lorcan


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Feb 11 - 12:58 PM

Shanty (the shack, hovel) is considered to have its origin in French chantier, building site, job site, depot; but in informal French, a mess, shambles.
Quel chantier ! - What a mess!
See Oxford English Dictionary. Not Irish according to the linguists.

Kibosh (kybosh)- origin obscure according to OED; some have proposed Yiddish or anglo-hebraic.

Galore- Irish.


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: InOBU
Date: 10 Feb 11 - 03:34 AM

Interesting note above on Shanty as a hovel in a slum... it comes from the Irish, sean teach, old house, sean being old and used in Ireland to describe traditional older singing styles, - sean nos...
There were certainly a large number of sailors from Irish speaking communities in most merchant marines, and Gaelic has crept into a lot of English slang - kabosh (cape of death) - galore ( enough ) - but, it seems to me, that sea shanty might also come from the French word for song...

Chears'm'dears agus, slan (so - long)
Lorcan


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 09 Feb 11 - 10:30 PM

I can't find any shanties in the Edison Amberol 1920 (American) catalog.

http://sounds.bl.uk/View.aspx?item=029M-EDIGX1920XXX-0000V0.xml

~ B in LB


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 09 Feb 11 - 08:42 PM

A small update: I contacted the UC Santa Barbara Library (source of the online Victor catalog) to question the "Georgia Sea Singers" cross-reference for the Minster Singers. They confirm this is a mistranscription and should be "Georgia Glee Singers". Looks like they've made the correction online.

I was wondering if even that was a mixup, but it looks as if the same personnel recorded under different names for different repertoires. (The Georgia Glee singers doing minstrel show songs.) They show up adjacent to one another on a 1901 Gramophone catalog available as a pdf from the British Library, from this page: http://sounds.bl.uk/View.aspx?item=029M-GRAGX1901XXX-0000V0.xml
(You can PM me for a copy of the pdf if you can't get access. I work at a university, so I can get through. There are some lovely and somewhat random photos included.)

More to the point of this thread is that in this full (101 pages, quite diverse) 1901 catalog I can't find any listing of sea shanties titles. There are a few items of a nautical flavor, but not shanties.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Feb 11 - 05:25 PM

Whall, Sea Songs and Shanties, was reprinted in 2010, with the title:

Ships, Sea Songs and Shanties, Whall, W. B., and Whall, R. H., 2010, 154 pp., Nabu Press, paperback.
List $21.75, sale price by Amazon.com, $16.97.

(The first edition, 1910, Brown, Son & Ferguson: reprinted, 6th ed. 1927; 1948, 1963, 1974. Hardback except flexible cover in 1926-7.)

Abebooks has the Nabu reprint as low as c. $13, Ferguson hardbacks as low as c. $20.

Bullen, not reprinted, is expensive.

Masefield's Garland is easily obtainable.


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 09 Feb 11 - 02:12 PM

I should amend my 08 Feb 11 - 01:54 PM post to say it's not clear whether any of the performances were unaccompanied. The omission of info on accompaniment doesn't mean there wasn't any... Llewelyn Lloyd says in his review about the Kenneth Ellis recordings on Parlorphone that "the accompaniment is provided by a string quartet and flute, which proves a pleasant change from the usual pianoforte".

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Charley Noble
Date: 09 Feb 11 - 07:36 AM

In the 1940's Leadbelly also recorded a few robust shanties on Folkways, including "Haul Away Joe." I'll have to recheck his discography for the other ones.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 09 Feb 11 - 04:14 AM

Here's an attempt at summarizing the recordings chronologically so far. Sorry for any mistakes.

1905

--Minster Singers:

(Victor 61145) "The Capstan Bar"
(61146) "Blow, My Bully Boys" and "Sally Brown"
(61147) "Whisky Johnny," and "Shenandoah"
(61148) "Rio Grande" and "Blow the Man Down"

From John Bradford and Arthur Fagge _Old Sea Chanties_ (1904)

1917

--Henry Burr and Albert Campbell:

(Victor 18327) "Shenandoah"

From ??

pre 1925[July]

--John Goss and the Cathedral Singers

(His Master's Voice, B.1999) "Rio Grande", "Billy Boy," "Shenandoah"

From Terry, _The Shanty Book_ (1921).

(HMV B.2018) "Can't you dance the polka?" Arranged E. J. Moeran & "A-Roving," Arranged by Cecil J. Sharp, from _English Folk-Chanteys_ (1914)?

pre 1926[Aug]

--Kenneth Ellis and chorus

(Parlophone E.5583) "Amsterdam (also known as A-roving)", Shenandoah"
(Parlophone E.5584) "The Drunken Sailor," "Santy Anna," "Lowlands Away"
(E.5585) "Rio Grande," "Reuben Ranzo," "Blow the man down," "Johnny come down to Hilo."

*Probably* from Terry and/or Sharp

pre 1927[March]        

--John Buckley and chorus

(Vocalion X. 9786) "Tom's gone to Hilo," "Billy Boy," "Rio Grande," "Blow the man down"
(Vocalion X.9787) "Shenandoah," "Johnny come down to Hilo," "A long time ago," "Fire down below"

--Robert Carr and the Seafarers

(V.F.1159) "Billy Boy," "Blow the man down," and "Shenandoah"
(V.F.1163) "Rio Grande," and "Johnny come down to Hilo"
(Edison Bell V.F.1164) "The Drunken Sailor", "Whisky Johnny"

--John Thorne and male trio

(Aco G.15870) "The Shantyman's Song," "Can't you dance the polka?", "The Drunken Sailor," "Johnny come down to Hilo"
(G.15824) "Haul away Joe," "Rio Grande," "Shenandoah," and "Billy Boy"

1928[Jan]

--Raymond Newell and Chorus

(Columbia 4689) "Johnny Come Down to Hilo", "The Hog's Eye Man", "We're All Bound to Go"

From Terry's The Shanty Book.
***

From this batch, the following items of repertoire appeared (w/ number of frequency):

A-Roving (2)
Billy Boy (4)
Blow the Man Down (4)
Blow, Boys, Blow
Can't you dance the polka? (2)
Capstan Bar
Drunken Sailor (3)
Fire down below
Haul away Joe
Hog's Eye Man
Johnny come down to Hilo (5)
Long time ago
Lowlands Away
Reuben Ranzo
Rio Grande (6)
Sally Brown
Santy Anna
Shantyman's Song (Huckleberry Hunting)
Shenandoah (7)
Tom's gone to Hilo
We're All Bound to Go (Heave Away My Johnnies)
Whiskey Johnny (2)


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: KathyW
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 10:31 PM

Not sure if this counts as the sort of thing you are looking for, but I found an archive of scanned and midi-ed piano rolls.
http://www.iammp.org/rolldatabase.php?showpage=65&sortby=composer

There's a roll from 1917 of "I'll Come Sailing Home To You"-- it starts off with the Sailor's Hornpipe.


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: KathyW
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 09:39 PM

Becky, glad you found it!


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: KathyW
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 09:38 PM

Charley, that reminds me, I really need to get around to OCR-ing at least the text portions of Bullen's book and post it as well as the scan. But Becky, here you go, "Songs of Sea Labour" by Frank Bullen: http://www.yellowzeppelin.com/frank%20bullen.html (pops new window).


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 09:25 PM

Plenty going on, then!

It's fun (and darn handy) to find some online. Bullen is available as a pdf download here.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Charley Noble
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 09:04 PM

Becky-

There are a few more early sea music books that we could add to those you mention. My personal favorite among the sailor editors has to be Frank T. Bullen, Songs of Sea Labour, © 1914. But there are several others that Lighter and Gibb and Q have drawn our attention to.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 07:16 PM

O.k., I'm about to tread further into ground that others here are more knowledgeable about...

Joanna C. Colcord, Roll and Go: Songs of American Sailormen, was 1924.

Richard Runciman Terry, The Sea Shanty Book, was 1921. In the introduction, Sir Walter Runciman says:

I know, of course, that several shanty collections are in the market, but as a sailor I am bound to say that only one—Capt. W.B. Whall's 'Sea Songs, Ships, and Shanties'—can be regarded as authoritative. Only a portion of Capt. Whall's delightful book is devoted to shanties, of which he prints the melodies only (without accompaniment); and of these he does not profess to give more than those he himself learnt at sea. I am glad, therefore, to welcome Messrs. Curwen's [the publishers] project of a wide and representative collection. Dr. Terry's qualifications as editor are exceptional, since he was reared in an environment of nineteenth-century seamen, and is the only landsman I have met who is able to render shanties as the old seamen did. I am not musician enough to criticize his pianoforte accompaniments, but I can vouch for the authenticity of the melodies as he presents them, untampered with in any way.

Capt. W.B. Whall, Sea Songs and Shanties, 1910, is unfortunately not digitized on the web.

John Masefield, A Sailor's Garland, 1905 (at Google Books: http://books.google.com/books?id=-vYjAAAAMAAJ) has a chapter after the poems with the texts of "chanties".

Masefield says,

"Those who wish to obtain the music of the commoner chanties will find Miss Laura Smith's Music of the Waters and the anthology of Dr. Ferris Tozer of use to them. Several may be found in the songbook of the Guild of Handicraft. I have also seen a collection of them published (I believe) by Messrs. Metzler. The files of the Boy's Own Paper, The Cadet and the publications of the Folk-Song Society may also be consulted with advantage."

Laura Alexandrine Smith, "The music of the waters: A collection of the sailors' chanties, or working songs of the sea, of all maritime nations. Boatmen's, fishermen's, and rowing songs, and water legends", 1888, is also at Google Books: http://books.google.com/books?id=Xzk9AAAAYAAJ. She provides melodies (without suggesting accompaniment) as well as the texts.

She acknowledges "the editor of The Shipping World (Major E. R. Jones, United States' Consul, Cardiff), who originated the idea of a collection of the sailors' songs of all nations, by commissioning me to write for his paper a series of articles containing specimens of each country's 'chanties;', and last, but not least, to the sailors themselves, without whose unwearying patience in singing for me their favorite 'chanties,' and in supplying me with all necessary information as to their use, &c., I should not have the honor of inscribing to His Royal Highness Prince George of Wales, and to all who are interested in the sea and its toiler, 'The Music of the Waters.' "

The material and the interest in it was out there. It seems natural that it would appear in the commercial recordings, and the '20s are when publication of commercial recordings took off.

--

A side note on the term shanty/chanty (etymologyonline.com puts "shanty" back to 1867):

I take C Fox Smith's "tchahntey" to be a critique of those who don't get the pronunciation detailed by Masefield at the start of his chapter:

"The worked chanty is not pronounced as spelt, like the word chant with an added y final. It is pronounced shanty, to rhyme with scanty, the ch soft and the a narrow."

Masefield further notes: "The verb to chanty is frequently used, as in the order 'Chanty it up, now,' or the injunction 'Heave and chanty.'

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Lighter
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 06:58 PM

Charley, a quick re-read shows that that stage performance must have been pretty embarrassing. Who among us wouldn't have bridled at "Sing us a tschahntey!" particularly in a leisure-time setting?

I can imagine the stage grimaces and hornpiping too!


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Chantey Recording
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 06:47 PM

SHANTY needs the modification because its primary meaning is a small, crude dwelling place. In print, 1820. See Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.
(Also see shanty town, a slum settlement (Wikipedia)).

Webster's dictionary has the separate entry, "var of CHANTEY". Also CHANTY.
I could add that the 'shanty' variant developed largely out of ignorance of the root of the word.


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 06:10 PM

Charlie, I wasn't talking about spelling -- i was talking about the arguably redundant phrase "*SEA* shanty."


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Charley Noble
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 06:01 PM

Gibb-

C. Fox Smith used all the different ways of spelling "shanty" including her parody spelling "tchahntey." She used "shanty" for her traditional collection of such sea songs but earlier for her sea poetry books had used the full range of spellings.

The rant from her above was focused on live performances rather than recordings.

Here's one more semi-early recording from my archives:

Bill Bonyun, Who Built America, Folkways Records, FW07542, 1950:

Santy Anno

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 05:17 PM

My guess is that Fox Smith was annoyed by the social and psychological misrepresentation of the material as the commercial discs presented it.

Very well put, Lighter. And thanks for the quote, Charlie.

We could probably pin-point a couple-year span when shanties got really popular. C Fox Smith's note was published 1927. What I believe to be a 1927-published revised edition of Davis Tozer contained advertisements for lots of chanty sheet music for sale. Colcord's first came in 1924 -- I don't remember if she makes any comments along these lines. The recordings discovered, above, are largely 1925-1928. Was Terry's book (Part One) the/a main impetus for all this?

I wonder when the phrase "sea shanty" first started getting used? (I know C.F. Smith also had a pithy comment on that, Charlie!) One could argue that, on some level, the use of the phrase correlates with the sort of misrepresentation that may have disturbed better-informed observers. Pin-point the phrase, and see how (if at all) it fits with this early "revival".


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Lighter
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 04:24 PM

My guess is that Fox Smith was annoyed by the social and psychological misrepresentation of the material as the commercial discs presented it.

She knew something about the realities of seafaring. These had nothing to do with the extremely mannered, "jolly-tar" stereotype that's existed since the 18th Century. (Check your nearest Ren Faire for Pyrate bands and you'll see things haven't changed much.)

She may have wanted greater public recognition of what kind of work sailors really did, and an end to the idea, as Stan Hugill memorably put it, that sea labor was like being on stage in some kind of floating music hall. (Forgive the paraphrase from memory!)


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 01:55 PM

Cross-posted with you, Bob!

~ Becky


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 01:54 PM

Way back at the top, Bob Walser said:

I'm wondering what the earliest commercial shanty recordings were. My guess would be soloist (probably tenor or bass) with orchestra, chorus or piano.

My interpretation is that he wants to know what was manufactured for sale under the banner of "sea shanties" in the earliest years of recorded music sales, and what style of performance it was.

I'd be very surprised if there were any "recordings of traditional singers untrained in art music made for commercial purposes", but I'm sure he (and the rest of us) would love to know if there were.

Barring that, the comments from contemporaries (Cecily Fox Smith's is revealing!) and notes on performers (barring actual audio to hear with our modern ears) tell what the style of "commercial" performance was.

It does look like they all are done by groups, rather than soloists, so that's a start. The Raymond Newell recording that started the list off has piano accompaniment, but most of the others don't make note of accompaniment. So, that's a small step closer to what you'd "want" than Bob assumed at the start. The "bel canto" voices are probably still a safe assumption, though.

What we want is audio...

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Bob_Walser
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 01:46 PM

Many thanks to all for their contributions. What great sleuths!

To clarify: I was curious about recordings of performances made specifically for sale to the general public rather than issues of 'field recordings' such as the early Library of Congress sets.

For the period in question I don't think there existed a functional technology to mass-produce, say, selections from Percy Grainger's 1906 field recordings - so the early mass-produced cylinders and discs had to be made from performances made with reproduction in mind.

The picture I'm getting is much as I'd imagined: male voices with chorus and piano and/or orchestral accompaniment. I'd love to listen to some of these (well, once at least). The impressions from the _Gramophone_ reviews are great. And I enjoyed the comments on the folk-ness of performance.

What is the appropriate aesthetic? C. Fox Smith wouldn't have presented us with that delightful rant unless the performance she so derides represented a challenge or threat or . . .


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: brezhnev
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 01:00 PM

So sometimes "commercial" points to production and marketing, sometimes instead to the style of the performance

Cheers, Lighter. So what you're talking about here are discs made in 'art music style' for commercial purposes, but not recordings of traditional singers untrained in art music made for commercial purposes. I get it.


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Subject: RE: Earliest Commercial Shanty Recordings
From: Sailor Ron
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 11:25 AM

Max,
in the late 60s/early 70s whilst serving in the MN I called in to St. Helena on several occasions. I too heard singing sea songs, not as far as I can remember shanties. Like the young fool that I was I never recorded them nor even noted what they were. Now of caurse I could kick myself. If you could get a copy I would be most obliged.


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