Following Celtic Ways. Ramblings and reviews by John of Carrowcrory as he travels the Celtic Ways and explores Celtic Dreamtime 
visiting hidden ancient Celtic temples, sacred wells, and provoking legends, plus music and theatre along the way

Friday, October 27, 2006


Rock Stars Sing Shanties

Rogue's Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Shanteys

Just had to tell you about an interesting double CD I have just come across. I love shanties and sea songs and do not restrict myself to listening to the bearded, nautical hatted, gnarly voiced, hand behind the ear folkies but love to hear new interpretations. The very musical interpretation of "Drunken Sailor" by Switchback is a good example.

This double CD evolved from an idea by Johnny Depp and director Gore Verbinski while working on the two "Pirates Of The Carribean" films. Legendary producer Hal Wilner, known his knack for matching maverick musicians with extraordinary material took this idea on to create an extraordinary interpretation of shanty and sea songs.

Example tracks are ...

Blood Red Roses - Sting
Leave Her Johnny - Lou Reed
Lowlands Low - Bryan Ferry
Dying Sailor - Bono
Fire Down Below - Nick Cave
Boney - Jack Shit

a dose of "hand behind the ear" interpretations by Martin Carthy and Richard Thompson
and many other tracks in many styles making up 43 songs for quite a low price.

Now this is not a collection for sea and waterways faring folkies.
I doubt they will allow this collection near their boats, anyway
and certainly not tucked away in their Arran sweaters.

Its also not a collection for quad and octagonal sound nerds
who want to run this alongside their re-collected heritage rock collection

This album is party and is fun.
Its great for daytime listening while working and singing along to.
Its great for keeping you away and singing along with while driving.

Its incredible variable ranging from tracks that sound as if they are authentically sung by drunk seaman and pirates to ballads that are sung with faultless precision and beauty. However, not everyone is going to like every track but with 43 songs its great value.

This is a very jaunty set, but beware its as hard core as the sailors who composed and sang them and many lyrics do drift back into what today are regarded as severely abusive attitudes against women. Attitudes of young men without women at sea for long spells has always been and will always be the same. Fortunately for women, when they come ashore they get drunk first so the lyrics of songs remain just lyrics. When sober they usually become the gentlemen they really and not the re-enactors of shanties,
...... but they'll still sing 'em in the car, in the bath, and in their skull and crossbone guarded worksheds in the garden.



This is a collection worth buying at its fair price, converting into MP3s then uploading your player or make a CD with your favourites. Most people are going to find between 10 and 30 tracks they like a lot from this, so always still worth buying for those.

You can read more about
Rogues Gallery
here, and order worldwide





If you prefer your Shanties to be of the more "traditional" nautical English flavour by mainly bearded Arran or Fair Isle sweatered men singing with their hand behind the ear, people like Ewan McColl, Cyril Tawney, Bob Davenport, Ian Cambell, Watersons and we cannot forget A.L. Lloyd, the re-issued 60s collection "Blow The Man Down" is for you, and one you'll be proud to have on your boat.

You can read more about
Blow The Man Down
here, and order worldwide





For something easier on the ear that drifts shanty and sea song interpretations into the waters of americana, bluegrass and delta blues then try "Classic Maritime Music from Smithsonian Folkways Recordings"

You can read more about
Classic Maritime Music
here, and order worldwide

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