Flaskaland
Wednesday, October 09, 2013
  Sea Shanties = San Diego?
Long about 1963, or sometime after the televised "Dinner with the President", I learned "What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor" (a Clancy Brothers tune), and sang that for Frank and my sister one time and they seemed to pay no attention to me whatsoever as I strummed and warbled.  In fact, Frank didn't seem to like that song at all. 

Later that evening, I was playing the record in my bedroom (my act had flopped and I needed to refine my approach).  My sister reclined on the bed as the record spun and I was certain she was asleep.  Until the needle moved into a line of lyrics, and she shot up from the pillow into a seated position and sang along emphatically:

"Shave his belly with a rusty razor, shave his belly with a rusty razor"

(She had been listening!) 

I was getting into sea shanties at that point of my life, and I also learned "The Greenland Whale Fishery" most likely from a tape, as somehow my dad with a friend's diagram and guidance had hooked up a tape recorder to the television so I could tape the music from "Dinner with the President."   The version I learned from had a woman singing the song, in an achingly sweet high voice, so this was likely Judy Collins solo singing the song for President John F. Kennedy (with the entire nation allowed to listen in).

"In eight-teen hu-u-un-dred and fif    ty    three
On June the thir-  ir  teenth   day ....
That our gallant ship her anchor weighed .... "




Strange story telling technique in that song, to first announce what happened in the very first stanza.  To portray the defining moment straightaway at the beginning of the song, almost like in media res in Greek literature.  Smack dab in the middle.  Then to continue on with a chronological history, telling the tale from the moment of departure from the quay.  If a quay it was.

 




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