Hugill: “Shanties from the Seven Seas” (1961)

1961-Hugill-ShantiesFromTheSevenSeas-COVER-w=1000Shanties from the Seven Seas: Shipboard Work-Songs and Songs Used as Work-Songs from the Great Days of Sail ~ Stan Hugill (RKP, 1961, abridged in 1984)

After a lifetime of sailing ships, Stan Hugill collected together the work-songs and shanties which were in danger of disappearing along with the sailing ships on which they had been sung…

Contains numerous shanties documenting cross-cultural exchange and transmission among 19th century sailors, workmen, slaves, banjo players, travelers, &c. …

For example: 

  • Hilo, Boys, Hilo 
    “Hilo is a port in the Hawaiian group, and, although occasionally shellbacks may have been referring to this locality, usually it was a port in South America of which they were singing — the Peruvian nitrate port of Ilo.  But in some of these Hilo shanties it was not a port… Sometimes the word was a substitute for a ‘do’, a ‘jamboree’, or even a ‘dance’.  And in some cases the word was used as a verb — to ‘hilo’ somebody or something.” (p.183)
    “Like in most Negro and cotton-hoosier’s songs, after the first few regulation verses the shantyman would have to extemporize…” (p.184-5)
  • Johnny Come Down to Hilo
    “Pieces from Hand Me Down Me Walkin’ Cane, Poor Old Ned, and Camptown Races are included in it, and the bawdy version of Hog-eye Man was also made use of.” (p.195-6)
  • Larry Marr
  • Paddy Works on the Railway 
    “… [A] land version was also sung by the early railroad workers of Young America around the [1840s or 1850s].  It probably became popular in the Western Ocean Packets about the time of the Irish potato famine.” (p.252)
  • Santiana

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