Haul Away to Hilo
A Rum Song
Heave me Johnny O (Capstan Shanty)
The Bosun’s Call
Blue Eyed Sailor
Ship of the Line
Round the Corner (Capstan Shanty)
Maiden of the Isles
Rock Me Over (Capstan Shanty)
Stamp and Go
The ‘Shiny Sheff.’ (HMS Sheffield)
The Living Tradition Review
JOHN OKE BARTLETT, THE PORTSMOUTH SHANTYMEN & BECKY LUSCOMBE
The Tin Bath Sailor
Private Label JOB001
A big clue to the contents of this disc comes in the explanation on the rear cover as the whole of this collection of Shanties and Forebitter was composed by John Oke Bartlett “in homage to the days of sail and times gone by”. Lovingly crafted pastiche with the occasional touch of irony and that’s a compliment, by the way, for even the dedicated maritime specialist might well be fooled into thinking at least some, if not most, of these pieces were recently-discovered songs of the sea.
John himself you’ll know as founder member of the worthy harmony group Ramskyte. At present he currently sings with Pete Luscombe in the duo, Wholehearted, and the trio, Three Rounds Blank. John’s background in maritime repertoire is extensive and he has a real affinity with the genre, having over the years composed a large number of authentic-sounding songs in the tradition. Sure, there’s a distinct feeling of cut-and-paste about some of the selections – but let’s face it, many ‘true’ shanties are composed of ‘floating verses’, and pick-and-mix interchangeability is common practice within the repertoire. 14 of the disc’s 16 tracks feature the stalwart current five-piece Portsmouth Shanty Men line-up, while on the remaining pair of tracks (Ship Of The Line and Shiny Sheff) the lead is taken by Becky Luscombe, who is a really fine singer in her own right.
Yes, there’s a wealth of material here that’s ripe for adoption by the adventurous shanty singer keen to broaden his/her repertoire.
CD: The Tin Bath Sailor
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