29 March 2012

#114 The Fire Ship

This bawdy ballad seems to me one of the furthest from a classic chanty form as one can get. Of course, it does have a chorus, which makes it usable as a chanty! Based on form, the work task suggested can only be capstan heaving or pumping; the bawdy theme confirms further that it is most appropriate to pumping. And yet Stan Hugill, in Shanties from the Seven Seas, is the only author to attest its use as a chanty.

I find little of historical interest here, and so this may end up being my briefest post yet. Of most interest was the small puzzle of filling in the expurgated lyrics. That is, Hugill omitted two “unprintable” verses from his text presentation. I used Salty Dick's recording as the source for these verses.
(Note that the singer was present during a session of unexpurgated chanty-singing by Stan Hugill at Mystic Seaport in the late ‘80s.)

Anyways, here’s what I recorded at the time when I last drove across country, California to Connecticut.

I sang an improved rendition recently for a crowd of stiff-faced prudes. It was quite good, if I may say so. A fun song, sung in moderation; but not standing shoulder to shoulder, in my world of chanties, with Sally Brown or ol’ Mister Stormalong.

Roving out each evening for a night’s career,

Ranzo :{

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