Mudcat Café message #4094171 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #169408   Message #4094171
Posted By: Steve Gardham
21-Feb-21 - 02:07 PM
Thread Name: Review: Davis & Tozer 50 Sailors Songs or Chanties
Subject: Review: Davis & Tozer 50 Sailors Songs or Chanti
Recently acquired a copy of the 3rd edition. 1891 (first ed 1887)

Not impressed! I know chanties generally only have a couple of stanzas and the rest is improvised and can go off in all sorts of directions, but this set is definitely of its time and class. Davis was a captain and I'm sure he must have heard chanties many a time, but the texts here have obviously been seriously bowdlerised. The bulk of what is here was never ever sung by ordinary seamen. I'm sure Gibb has made this point before, and Davis wasn't the only culprit. Like with the other folk songs being published at the end of the 19th century for a middle-class audience most texts were heavily bowdlerised. To be honest Sharp was one of the least guilty when compared with some of the others.

I'm sure the tunes, choruses and first verses are genuine enough but it's so easy to spot the non-folk stuff. Still that will give me a couple of hours pleasure identifying all the stuff written by
Dibdin, oops, sorry, slip of the finger, Davis. No wonder his versions were not endlessly anthologised like some of the others.