Record rambling day 313.
Steady As She Goes, (songs and chanties from the day of commercial sail).
Take four traditional singers, Louis Killen (ex Clancy Brothers), Jeff Warner from the USA (currently touring the UK), his brother Gerret and John (Fud) Benson a monumental stone mason (he sculptured the JFK memorial and Tennessee Williams' tombstone amongst many more) and give them the project of recording the songs of the sailors of the 1800's.
This LP came shortly after the Tall Ships visited New York in 1976 to commentate America's 200th Birthday of Independence.
There's shanties (or chanties if you prefer) for every task on board ship from lifting sails to raising the anchor, there's songs about the escapades on shore (which usually mean the seaman comes off the worse from the attractions of the booze and the Ladies).
Four strident voices and the occasional English Concertina accompaniment, songs you will recognise such as "Paddy Lay Back" (a song claimed by Liverpool as their own), "Bold Riley" (which has been recorded by the likes of Kate Rusby and the Oysterband), "Rolling Down To Old Maui" (Bellowhead amongst many others).
If you love sea shanties then you'll know "Blow The Man Down" and "Shallow Brown" and there might be ones you haven't heard before such as the "Topman And The Afterguard" a story about life on board a Royal Navy vessel and the hierarchy.
Songs to lighten the hell on board ships, sailors with no rights, no regulations, no unions, the word of the Master was the law, stronger than a plantation owner's hold over their slaves. At sea they had nowhere to run, no escape from the whim of the captain, to resist was mutiny, to succeed in mutiny was piracy, the only option was to yield in everything.
If you are interested in these sorts of things, I'd recommend Richard Henry Dana Jr, book "Two Years Before The Mast". Dana from a rich family was suspended from Harvard for joining a student protest, he left and chose to work his way as a merchant seaman rather than rely on the family fortunes. His memoir of that time includes graphic descriptions of life on-board including a flogging on the whim of the Captain purely for the sailor asking a question. Dana's writing shows his sympathy with the downtrodden and lower classes, he went on to dedicate his life to these improving the sailor’s life and also became a prominent anti-slavery activist and helped found the Free Soil Party.
As usual I'm rambling again, it's my "injustice" soapbox, but God forbid I ever lose that internal "rage like thunder" (an oblique reference to a song on Merry Hell's cracking Ghost In Our House album).
So if you love sea shanties search it out (deezer is your friend), Bellowhead it ain't but it's good.
Till tomorrow and I'll soon be on the last fifty, a year in my life almost done. Thanks for reading and hopefully listening. Cheers one and all.