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Fo'c'sle Songs

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Wikimedia Commons George Cruikshank

The Glendy Burke

Work shanties were not the only songs sung aboard whaling vessels. During their leisure time, whalemen sang fo'c'sle songs. These were ballads and minstrel songs brought from home created and passed on from other sailors and whalemen. Sometime they would take the work shanties and vary them to be sung in the fo'c'sle. They might accompany the songs with instruments such as fiddles and concertinas. The Glendy Burke was composed in the late 1850s by the popular American songwriter, Stephen Foster. It is an example of a minstrel show song sailors may have heard on shore and brought with them for leisure sing-a-longs. It is performed by the group, Forebitter, on the Mystic Seaport recording, "American Sea Chanteys."

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