Mudcat Café message #4056125 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #8473   Message #4056125
Posted By: Lighter
30-May-20 - 07:51 PM
Thread Name: Marching song/Cadence Count
Subject: RE: Marching song/Cadence Count
Long, long ago I visited the Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut. A "demonstration of chantey singing" was presented aboard the full-rigged "Joseph Conrad." A bunch of us lubbers manned the capstan and someone called for "Blow the Man Down." Stan Hugill was chanteyman. Just before (or maybe after) he sang, some befuddled know-it-all said to him, "But isn't that a halliard chantey?"

Stan frowned and said, "Usually. But they'd sing whatever they wanted."

Anyway, we ran round the capstan singing the choruses largely off-key. After   a while, the "mate" of the "Conrad" shouted, "'Vast heaving!" Stan shut up in the middle of a stanza, and his crew ambled away to do other things.

I suggest that this was an unusually authentic chanteying event. To judge from the quality of the choruses, some of the "crew" may even have been hung over. It struck me as decidedly "not a musical experience," a far cry from even the most "authentic-sounding" (sic) folkie performance.

It was mainly guys (and a couple of gals) exerting themselves in unison and singing because that's what people did on that kind on that kind of job.

And did I mention that some of us wore big grins because it was a *privilege* and *fun* to heave the capstan round ?