Wednesday 30 November 2011

34: Whip Jamboree

This cotton screwing shanty (sung while packing cotton tight into the hold of a ship), with its account of a ship coming into dock in Liverpool, is included in Hugill's Shanties of the Seven Seas, as well as several other collections of shanties (for example R.R. Terry's 1926 The Shanty Book, Vol. 2). There has long been a debate over the words, which Hugill said were too obscene to print fully, leading to various speculative attempts to re-insert the filth. I have not gone down that highly tempting route, and instead have simply followed the version that passed into popularity in the Liverpool folk revival scene of the 1960s, when The Spinners included it in their repertoire - you can see them singing it in this short film about the Liverpool Folk Music Scene from the 1960s. Most contemporary Liverpool performances, I would say, stem from this Spinners version.

Fort Perch Rock is, of course, the coastal defence battery at New Brighton (the picture I've included above, taken from the excellent history website is of ships passing the Fort Perch Rock). Dan Lowrie's was, apparently, a popular playhouse on Paradise Street; this is what John Short of Watchet told Cecil Sharp, who included the song in his English folk-chanteys (1914).

Whip Jamboree is #488 in the Roud folksong index.

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