Stan Hugill singing shanties in proper style

Stan Hugill, shanty singer

Stan Hugill sings South Australia at the Workum Shanty Festival in 1990

Here’s a treat that I just have to share – a Youtube video of a real old fashioned shanty singer, including the characteristic ‘breaks’ and shouts that are so unfamiliar to us now.

If the style of the singing may seem strange, it’s because we tend not to sing that way now – shanties and folk songs generally have often been very much sanitised and prettified.

But this is the real thing. As a young man, Stan Hugill sang shanties on some of the last commercial sailing ships, and went on to make a serious study of sea songs. He’s been gone from us for quite a few years now, but his books about sea songs are still classics, and his views are highly respected.