Neptune's Daughter – Here's a different take on women and the call of the sea, composed by Bob Watson (UK), © 2003 ROM Watson, used with permission. We especially like the Appalachian style tune. As with all good ballads, one is left to wonder about the details of the story. Led by Carol with full chorus; Charlie on banjo, Jeff on guitar, Norris on whistle.
Bound Away – Based on a poem composed by old sailor-poet Bill Adams (UK & US), adapted for singing by Charlie using the traditional Liverpool Packet capstan shanty tune and incorporating its chorus. This is a joyful song that could have been belted out by the young apprentice lads on their first voyage. Adams was just such an apprentice lad in the 1890's before he was forced ashore in 'Frisco for chronic health reasons. Led by Charlie with full chorus; Charlie on banjo, Jeff and Eli on guitars, Norris on whistle.
A Ballad of John Silver – A somewhat nostalgic pirate poem composed by John Masefield and adapted for singing by Charlie using the traditional tune The Range of the Buffalo. It's a curious mixture of grim reality and wistful thinking. Led by Jeff with backing vocals by Eli; Jeff on guitar, Charlie on concertina, Norris on whistle.
Mary L. MacKay – Based on a poem by Frederick W. Wallace which later became a folk song collected by Helen Creighton. The story describes a record-breaking sail between Portland, Maine, and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, fueled by Portland rum. Sung by Eli and Norris together.
Lumber – Cicely Fox Smith (UK) was resident in the Pacific Northwest from 1905 to 1913, primarily in Victoria, British Columbia. Charlie adapted this poem for singing by using the traditional Irish tune The Boys Won't Leave the Girls Alone. Here we have someone waxing nostalgic about the hard work of loading the lumber ships when he was young, and the comradeship with his fellow workers. Steveston was a major shipping port for lumber near Vancouver, BC. Led by Charlie with the full chorus; Charlie on banjo, Jeff on guitar, Norris on whistle.
Haul Away Joe – This traditional halyard shanty tells a story of a sailor's many loves, real or imagined. Led by Eli with full chorus.
Leona – Nelson Dale (Norris's brother) composed this ghostly ballad, © 2009, used with permission, using the name of a family-owned sailing ship from the 19th century. Norris's great-great-grandfather Joseph Norris was skipper and part-owner of Leona when she sailed from Thomaston in 1854. The rest of the story is pure fiction but makes a fine nautical tale. Led by Norris with full chorus; Jeff on guitar.
The Salvage Men – Composed by ex-Coastguardsman Joe McGrath, © 1986, used with permission, whom we met in the Portland Folk Club back in the 1980's. Charlie revised the tune and did some minor rewording. It's a chilling song about the predatory wreckers who used to frequent some coasts. Led by Jeff with backing vocals by Charlie and full chorus; Jeff on guitar, Charlie on banjo, Norris on whistle.
The Wreck of the Lady Washington – Based on a true incident involving a tall-ship replica's unfortunate encounter with a railroad bridge on the upper Columbia River. Micki Perry knew members of the crew and composed this memorable ballad, © 1991, used with permission. The tune is based on the traditional whaling ballad Greenland Fisheries. Led by Charlie with full chorus; Charlie on banjo, Jeff and Eli on guitars, Norris on washtub bass and whistle.
Marco Polo – Composed by Jim Stewart (Canada) as part of The Marco Polo Suite, © 1988 Jim Stewart, SOCAN, used with permission. The song describes the history of this unconventional, record-breaking clipper ship. Led by Norris with full chorus.
Fisherman's Song – Words and music by Andy M. Stewart, © 1981 Strathmore Music and Film Services, used with permission. This is an all too realistic ballad of the risks of falling in love with a fisherman, and the hard choices such men have in earning a livelihood. Led by Eli with backing vocals by Carol; Eli and Jeff on guitars.
Mobile Bay – Based on a poem by C. Fox Smith and adapted for singing by Charlie. Here we have an old sailor reminiscing about his experience in the cotton port of Mobile, Alabama, where something bad evidently went down. This poem contains phrases from the traditional stevedore/halyard shanty Roll the Cotton Down, a version of which Smith collected and published in A Book of Shanties. Led by Dick with full chorus, with Charlie on banjo.
Rio Grande – a traditional capstan shanty which C. Fox Smith traces to the Rio Grande River in Southern Brazil. Led by Eli with full chorus.
Sugar in the Hold – A traditional loading shanty sung using William Pint and Felicia Dale's re-arrangement, © 1987, used with permission. Led by Jeff with full chorus; Jeff on guitar, Charlie on concertina, Norris on washtub bass.
Roll the Woodpile Down – a traditional stevedore shanty which Stan Hugill traces from the Gulf ports to the high sea where it functioned as a halyard shanty. Led by Eli with full chorus.
Saturday Night at Sea – Based on an old sea poem composed in 1838 by Judge Joseph Howe, as adapted for singing by Norris. It's a classic rendering of the kind of sentimental song the ship's officers might sing to one another in their leisure time. Led by Norris with full chorus; Norris on whistle, Eli and Jeff on guitars.
The Long Road Home – C. Fox Smith most likely composed this poem as she reflected back on her imminent departure from Victoria, British Columbia. Peter Massey (UK) did a fine job of setting this poem to music, producing a hard-driving song, © 2005, used with permission. Charlie did some further revision of Smith's words. Led by Jeff with backing vocals by Charlie on the verse and full chorus; Jeff and Eli on guitars, Charlie on banjo, Norris on whistle.
Back to the Lyrics and Samples Page
Back to the Roll & Go Home Page
Jeff, Nor, Dick, Carol, Eli, Charlie