Thanks to Cap’n Salwarpe and his crew, yesterday we enjoyed a splendid Shanty Saturday,
A cavalcade of nautical songs from favourite artists, old and new, including the singing postie Nathan Evans, the Longest Johns, the Pogues, the Wellington Sea Shanty Society, Cyril Tawney, the Wilsons, Triakel, Ewan Macoll, Coope, Boyes and Simpson, Seán Dagher,
Alestorm, La Nef, The Sheringham Shantymen, The Watersons and the Storm Weather Shanty Choir.
Such was my nautical enthusiasm that I had to dash down to Systembolaget and buy a large bottle of rum. (I was hoping to get myself a bird to sit on my shoulder too, being a great fan of that shantyastic movie, Parrots of the Caribbean, but even Norwegian Blues were out of stock.)
Leading the singing was the AW’s very own Shantyman, The Cheshire Cat and he offered the following explanation of the genre:
”The purpose of a shanty is to give co-ordination to heavy team work; that can be on dry land, but is most remembered for being at sea. But some wipsy ballad about missing one’s sweetheart back in port, don’t count as a shanty just ’cause it’s being sung at sea.”
Twang posted Nic Jones’s The Humpback Whale, which he described as “clearly a sea song not a shanty” and that got me thinking of the many fine songs of the sea and sailors there are which are not shanties.
Several artists come to mind Tom Waits, Fairport Convention, Ebert Taube, Bellowhead, the Mighty Boosh, David Crosby, Morcheeba, Jimmy Buffet, The Who, Village People…..
Songs of typhoons, tornadoes, forsaken sweethearts, the Sargasso sea, riptides, sandcastles, surf, straits,
Whispy ballads, raunchy rockers, free jazz wigouts…..all genres welcome.
Come on shipmates, please share your nautical treasures!
To get you in a maritime mood, here is Alan Bennett reading one of the great poems in the English language: the Shipping Forecast.