Harpers Monthly Magazine (1882)

Sailor Songs – William L. Alden

In the Harper’s Monthly Magazine from June to November 1882, we can find a really spectacular collection of the shanties. Interesting enough is the fact that an author talking about the sailors is that: The typical “Jack” of the pre-propeller age – the “packeterian”; and the able saman of the clipper-ship fleet – has, however, utterly varnished”, in an article from 1882! Whatever we can think; we have to understand how misunderstood and underestimated is the importance of the original sources; and how priceless is to read shanty collections like this one.

This is absolutely essential to preserve the authentic character of those songs. This is one of the earliest collections which contains musical notations of the shanties covering around twenty shanties. “Bowline”; “Haul away Joe”; “Good-by My love goodbye”; and much more, we can find in this article; very close to original, printed, about 80 years before Stan Hugill’s “Shanties From The Seven Seas”. For all maritime and merchant fleet culture lovers; and most important for shanty enthusiasts; this is a wonder that screams to be readded. If anyone wants to read this article and does not have access; please contact me through Messanger, I will be happy to share images of the whole article.

Do you want to be more involved?

You can find excellent records of sea shanties here. If you want to discuss this book or share your opinion you can do it in my Facebook forum here, or below post in the comment section.

Related to Harpers Monthly Magazine (1882) – Sailor Songs

Richard Terry – Shanties With Descants (1921)

Jerzy Wadowski – Piesni Spod żagli (1989)

Robert C. Leslie – A Waterbiography (1894)

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