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!