The Plains of Mexico – Shanties Family

Here list of this shanties family

  1. The Plains of Mexico (B)
  2. The Plains of Mexico (C)

Interesting Facts about this shanties family

The Plains of Mexico – Shanties Family or Santianna was very popular with whalers.

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 side 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 …

All hands to the pump

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 Plains of Mexico – Shanties Family

Version ()B of this beautiful tune was sung to Stan Hugill by an old Norwegian whaler Captain Larsen of Magallanes (Punta Arenas). These two versions (“The Plains of Mexico (A)” and “The Plains of Mexico (B)”), were not necessarily sung with exactly the same text. It was common that shantyman sings a mixture of verses, or sings versions in tune with another one.