A distinctive urban publisher since 1941

Wayne State University Press

0 items
i

Windjammers

Songs of the Great Lakes Sailors

Ivan H. Walton
Joe Grimm

Award Winner

Folklore, Great Lakes, Music

Great Lakes Books Series

Paperback
Published: February 2002
ISBN: 9780814329979
Pages: 272 Size: 7x10
Illustrations: 48
Review

Windjammers brings forgotten sailor songs and melodies, so common a century ago, into perspective and allows the reader to contemplate how national and regional topics affected life on the Great Lakes.

— John F. Polacsek

White-winged schooners once dominated commerce and culture on the Great Lakes, and songs relieved the hours on board, but that way of life and its music ended when steam-driven mechanical boats swept schooners from the inland seas. Recognizing in the late 1930s, almost too late, that this rich oral tradition was going to the grave along with the last generation of schoonermen, Ivan H. Walton undertook a quest to save the songs of the Great Lakes sailors. Racing time and its ravages, he searched out ancient mariners in lakefront hospitals, hangouts, and watering holes. Walton reconstructed songs from one of the most colorful periods in American history, discovering melodies and lyrics to more than a hundred songs. With its stories, lyrics, musical scores by folksinger/historian Lee Murdock, and accompanying CD, Windjammers ensures that sailing chanteys that have not been heard for over one hundred years can be heard again and again far into the future.

Ivan Walton was a professor of American literature at the University of Michigan and the leading authority on Great Lakes folklore. During his lifetime he collected a vast body of information and prepared notes for an anthology of the songs and lore of Great Lakes sailors, a work that was unpublished at the time of his death in 1968.

Joe Grimm is recruiting and development editor for the Detroit Free Press. He is also the author of Michigan Voices: Our State’s History in the Woods of the People Who Lived It (Wayne State University Press, 1987).

Windjammers marries the daunting field-collecting of Ivan Walton, the meticulous research of the 'landlubber' Joe Grimm, and the musical scores of Lee Murdock to produce a new perspective of Great Lakes sailor life. . . . This is a fresh perspective of historical 'ditties' that never made Billboard's Top Ten List, yet were popular among the freshwater sailors for half a century. Windjammers brings forgotten sailor songs and melodies, so common a century ago, into perspective and allows the reader to contemplate how national and regional topics affected life on the Great Lakes.

– John F. Polacsek, Curator of Marine History, Dossin Great Lakes Museum

What a superb collaboration by a dedicated collector [Walton], artist [Wilson], compiler [Grimm], and transcriber [Murdock]. The result is certainly one of the grandest regional and maritime song collections afloat, deserving a berth in every library and home that harbors a love of the water and the men who sailed it.

– Joseph C. Hickerson, Retired Head, Archive of Folk Culture, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress<br /><br />

Windjammers is a fitting tribute to maritime folklorist Ivan Walton, whose contribution to the field of folklore was his devotion to collecting Great Lakes folksongs. Grimm collaborates with Walton himself to bring these well-loved songs out of the archive and into a usable format to Great Lakes enthusiasts and researchers alike."?

– LuAnne Gaykowski Kozma, President, Michigan Folklore Society

  • 2002 Center for Great Lakes Culture Book Awards - Result: Best Non-Fiction Book
  • 2002 Center for Great Lakes Culture Book Awards - Result: Best Non-Fiction Book
  • 2003 Michigan Notable Book Awards - Result: 1 of 20 selected annually
  • 2003 Michigan Notable Book Awards - Result: 1 of 20 selected annually