So Early In The Morning – Shanties Family

Here list of this shanties family

  1. So Early In The Morning (A)
  2. So Early In The Morning (B)
  3. So Early In The Morning (C)

Interesting Facts about this shanties family

“So Early In The Morning – Shanties Family” is the set of the three Shanties. Those songs describe the sailor’s life ashore when he is not at sea.

This family of shanties was used at the pumps. These songs were used for use at both types of pumps, breaking back pumps, and newer Downton pumps.

The older type was a pump with two handles where pumping happens by crew placed on opposite sites. Each site worked two to four sailors. When sailors from one site had a handle above the head. Then the other site was on the level of the ankles on the opposite side. In this case, the pumping shanties pace was as follows: the first tact, pulling the handle and pushing it up, the second pushing it down to the ankles, the third pulling the handle and pushing it up, and so on …

pump-shanty braking levers
All Hands to the Pumps 1888-9 Henry Scott Tuke 1858-1929 Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1889

Hugill is making reference to this when he says “old-fashioned levers” (1961, pf. 45).

Newer Downton pumps it operated on the principle of two flywheels, where the sailors on the opposite side rotated their handles on the flywheels to make the work lighter. This pump calls the “Downton” pump:

Sailors work at downton pumps

I will show you a few versions described by Stan Hugill in his “Shanties From the Seven Seas”. All video reconstructions are trying to direct the listener to how they sound in actual ship deck action when sailors using it.

The above image displays sailors working at a Downton type of pump.

Short story of the So Early In The Morning – Shanties Family

The first line is the chorus, sung as many shantymen sang the chorus of other shanties, as an introduction when they were in doubt as to whether a greenhorn crowd knew the refrain or not.

Miss C. F. Smith writes that So Early In The Morning (B), it was a favorite in the old Black-wallers. Its opening solo bears a striking resemblance to the shanty “Miss Lucy Long. Stan Hugill claims that is this version he took from Ezra Cobb, a bluenose (Nova Scotian) seamen of the old school, he says: this version was sung only at pumps, although he did say that “There used sometimes at caps’n.’

My private collection of books

Shantyman library –  you will see descriptions and recommendations of positions worth diving into, true sources of knowledge about sea shanties. To gain knowledge about sea shanties is the main ultimate purpose of this library, every book in this library is somehow related to sea shanties and before mast songs.

More involvement in Traditional Sea Shanties

You can find this record here or directly listen below. If you want to discuss the record or share your opinion you can do it in my Facebook forum here.