Grog Time of Day (Fine Time of Day)

DESCRIPTION: Chorus: "Hurrah! my jolly boys, grog time o' day." "The captain's gone ashore, but the mate is aboard." "Captain locked the door and took away the key." I assume they get grog anyway.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1814 (_Landsman Hay_ per Wikipedia; see NOTES)
LONG DESCRIPTION: Chorus: "Fine time o' day." We're rowing To St Thomas. There are fine girls -- Nancy Gibbs and Betsy Braid -- there. "Massa" [our passenger] is a rich, handsome man from London and he loves pretty girls: "him lub 'em much, him lub 'em true." He chases them around the guava bush and catches them in the sugar cane....
KEYWORDS: drink shanty seduction sex
FOUND IN: West Indies
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Abrahams-DeepTheWaterShallowTheShore, pp. 11,16, "Grog Time a Day"; Abrahams-DeepTheWaterShallowTheShore, pp. 18-19, "Fine Time 'o Day" (1 text plus 3 fragments, 1 tune))

NOTES [336 words]: Wikipedia, at accessed Dec 12, 2015, cites four references for this song: "The song, the tune of which is now lost, was sung by:
Jamaican stevedores at a capstan in 1811 [Robert Hay, Landsman Hay: The Memoirs of Robert Hay 1789-1847, Ed. By M.D. Hay (1953)]]; Afro-Caribbeans rowing a boat in Antigua ca. 1814 [British Naval Officer, Service Afloat, Edward C. Miele (1833) p. 259]; Black stevedores loading a steamboat in New Orleans in 1841 [Negro Singer's Own Book (ca. 1843-45) p. 337]; and a Euro-American crew hauling halyards on a clipper-brig out of New York ca. 1840s ['An Old Salt,' 'Quarter-deck yarns; or, Memorandums from My Log Book,' in The Evergreen; or Gems of Literature for MDCCL[sic., should be MDCCCL], Ed. By Rev. Edward A. Rice, J.C. Burdock (1850) p. 11]." The Service Afloat reference is also cited and quoted by Abrahams. The Evergreen reference is available and "Digitized by Google."
The "Fine Time o' Day" text is quoted by Abrahams from Trelawney Wentworth, The West India Sketch Book (London: Whitaker & Co, 1834 ("Digitized by Google")), vol. 1 pp. 239-242 [Abrahams mis-cites this as vol. 2]. The Digital Tradition citing follows Wentworth but "cleans up" the grammar. That text was apparently put to a commonly-sung shanty to meet particular occasions. Wentworth writes that the singers are rowing from Tortola to St Thomas in a boat "pulling six oars, furnished with two lugger sails.... The subject matter of the song was as discursive and lengthy as Chevy Chase; and it showed an aptitude at invention on the part of the leader, as well as a tolerable acquaintance with the weak side of human nature, on the score of flattery: a small portion of it will suffice." Abrahams comments that "The song is obviously directed as a song of derision at the white man transcribing the song."
The long description follows Wentworth and Digital Tradition. Abrahams writes that "the refrain is still sung [1974] throughout the West Indies."- BS
Last updated in version 4.0
File: WIS011A

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2022 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.