Songs of Sea Labour (Chanties)
Last updated: 22.11.19
42 chanties (sic) and sea songs.
This is a splendidly produced, very expensive (both when initially published in 1914 at two shillings and sixpence net cash
and bought by me second-hand in the early 1990's for a handsome £25!), song book which would have brought out thundering scorn from that redoubtable Master Mariner W.H. Whall of Sea Songs Ships and Shanties
fame. Interestingly, this book is ignored by Roy Palmer and Cyril Tawney in their The Oxford Book of Sea Songs
and Grey Funnel Lines
Reasons for the forgoing are abound. Firstly is the irritating use of that awful word, for the aforementioned gentlemen that is, Chanty
and secondly the shanties are provided with but one sanitised verse only. For all of that, it is for me a very interesting book because of its articles by Frank T. Bullen, F.R.G.S., author of books about seagoing and erstwhile shantyman between 1869 and 1880, and W.F. Arnold who set down the music. There is also an appreciation by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The whole tone of this work is revealed by one of Bullen's statements when describing Sally Brown
and I quote:
But my most pleasant memory of it is not when weighing anchor or working the flywheel pumps, but on sundry Saturday nights at the Savage Club, when the delighted Savages did their best to lift the roof off the great Clubroom at Adelphi Terrace, and the mighty volume of sound must have been heard on the farther bank of the Thames.