Tag Archives: shanties

Sea shanties recorded in the 70s – John Roberts & Tony Barrand


The Black Ball Line Packet Ship ‘New York’ off Ailsa Craig by the Scottish artist William Clark (1803-1883)

Across the western ocean, part 1

Across the western ocean, part 2

I’m always interested in older recordings of sea shanties, not least because I tend to feel those sung by singers who have actually heard old time shanty singers have just a touch of authenticity.

These nice, clear radio station recordings of two Englishmen John Roberts & Tony Barrand and friends Jeff Warner, Susan Warner and Davey Jones show the fruits of some serious research, and I think are worth listening to – notwithstanding that the performances are neatly polished for public consumption… The lyrics are interestingly different from the standard ones we tend to hear, and the introductions are interesting and informative about the later sailing ship era.

‘The seamen would sing the most vulgar songs directly over my skylight… ‘ complained a lady diarist. I can’t say I’m surprised.

My thanks to Chris Brady for the tip-off!


A weekend of shanties and sea songs aboard Morning Star

Fancy a weekend of sailing, shanties and sea songs aboard the fabulous Medway-based sail training ship Morning Star in a few weeks time?

Boarding is at 6pm on Friday 29th May 2015 at Chatham Maritime Marina and disembarking is at the same place at 3pm on Sunday.

You’ll learn to sing and sail you go, using old hauling and heaving shanties, as well as raucous songs of ‘Jack Ashore’ and haunting homeward bound melodies sung by sailors past and present.

The costs are £144 under 26 years and £180 over 26 years; all meals from supper on day 1 to lunch on day 3 re included, along with use of life jacket, waterproofs and boots, and all sailing and singing tuition.

For more information contact the Morning Star folks at support@morningstar.org.uk .

Singing in the rigging

It’s something Norwegians do, apparently! And it has a wild quality that seems more plausible than some of the restrained stuff we hear from time to time.