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Sea Shanties

Sea Shanties

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Ref: CDG1024

26 tracks 65 min
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Rousing songs from the age of sail

A cheerful collection of songs from the sea for the armchair sailor. Sea shanties were often sung to help with the repetitive and back breaking tasks neede to sail a big ship - good rhythms, good tunes and good words.

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Sea Shanties
Rousing songs from the age of sail


1 Haul away the bowline
2 Clear away the track
3 Portsmouth/Bonny Kate
4 Bully in the alley
5 All for me grog
6 Ten thousand miles away
7 The 24th of February
8 The weary whaling ground
9 Ashley's hornpipe & Ashley's Flag
10 Nancy of Yarmouth
11 Paddy Doyle's boots
12 The bonny ship the Diamond
13 The candlelight fisherman
14 The gallant frigate Amphitrite
15 Go to sea no more
16 The Whitby lad
17 A sailor's life
18 Goodbye, fare ye well
19 Ruben Ranzo
20 Whisky is the life of man
21 Roll the wood pile down
22 Fire Maringo
23 Johnny's gone to Hilo
24 Rolling down to old Maui
25 The Alabama
26 John Kanaka

Ian Giles, voice and English concertina
John Spiers voice and accordion
Jon Bowden, voice, guitar and fiddle
Graham Metcalfe voice

CCL CDG1024
P & C 2002 Classical Communications Ltd
Edited and mastered at Classical Communications
Executive Producer Martin Souter
Made in Great Britain

Sea shanties have always had a purpose - to make men work by getting into a rhythm which would help them to carry out the unbelievably physically demanding tasks associated with sailing a large ship. So we have good words, good tunes and good rhythms, the very nature of the repetitions of phrases and melodies building up each shanty into a quite substantial piece of music. The subjects of these songs vary from sad to happy, from funny to tragic, witty to baudy - and often we can hear most of these types in a single song! This is clever stuff; strange stories and concepts are woven into musical patterns, the many verses adding impetus with each repetition.

The shanties have been recorded by some of the leading singers of our generation. Based in Oxford (admittedly far from the sea!) these musicians bring years of experience to bear on wonderfully vivid performances, recorded live in a single day. The atmosphere is electric, the musicianship superb. I hope that you enjoy listening to this album. It was a joy to make.

Martin Souter

The sea holds many terrors and pleasures. Man has always had a love-hate relationship with the briny waters. Here is a selection of poetry and quotations connected with the sea.


They that go down to the sea in ships: and occupy their business in great waters; these men see the works of the Lord: and his wonders in the deep.
Psalm 107 v 23

I shall sleep, and move with the moving ships,
Change as the winds change, veer in the tide.

I will go back to the great sweet mother,
Mother and lover of men, the sea.
I will go down to her, I and no other,
Close with her, kiss her and mix her with me.
AG Swinburne, The Triumph of Time, 1866

To sea, to sea! The calm is o'er;
The wanton water leaps in sport,
And rattles down the pebbly shore;
The dolphin wheels, the sea-cows snort,
And unseen Mermaids' pearly song
Comes bubbling up, the weeds among.
Fling broad the sail, dip deep the oar:
To sea, to sea! The calm is o'er.
To sea, to sea! Our wide-winged bark
Shall billowy cleave its sunny way,
And with its shadow, fleet and dark,
Break the caved Tritons' azure day,
Like mighty eagle soaring light
O'er antelopes on Alpine height.
The anchor heaves, the ship swings free,
The sails swell full. To sea, to sea!
TL Beddoes, The Fool's Tragedy, 1850


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