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Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts

DigiTrad:
SEA CHILL
SEA FEVER
SEA GRIEVER


Related thread:
Tune Req: Sea Fever (Masefield/Andrews) (51)


DonMeixner 06 Jul 07 - 01:14 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 06 Jul 07 - 02:07 PM
GUEST,Don Meixner 07 Jul 07 - 01:37 PM
SINSULL 07 Jul 07 - 11:51 PM
Bob Bolton 08 Jul 07 - 03:38 AM
GUEST,DonMeixner 08 Jul 07 - 08:32 AM
Bat Goddess 08 Jul 07 - 01:12 PM
dick greenhaus 08 Jul 07 - 01:15 PM
Charley Noble 08 Jul 07 - 01:17 PM
dick greenhaus 08 Jul 07 - 04:28 PM
Bob Bolton 09 Jul 07 - 04:50 AM
Anglo 09 Jul 07 - 11:54 AM
DonMeixner 09 Jul 07 - 01:11 PM
adventure 14 Jul 07 - 07:09 AM
karen k 14 Jul 07 - 10:07 AM
Greg B 14 Jul 07 - 06:30 PM
TRUBRIT 15 Jul 07 - 01:08 AM
GUEST,Mike O'leary-Johns 15 Jul 07 - 08:35 AM
TRUBRIT 15 Jul 07 - 09:56 AM
Linda Mattson 16 Jul 07 - 03:34 AM
GUEST,Pamela in Ithaca 16 Jul 07 - 04:31 PM
Rabbi-Sol 16 Jul 07 - 05:42 PM
Charley Noble 16 Jul 07 - 07:52 PM
Charley Noble 17 Jul 07 - 08:19 PM
GUEST,Al no cookie 19 Jul 07 - 12:55 AM
kendall 19 Jul 07 - 07:11 AM
adventure 19 Jul 07 - 05:56 PM
Charley Noble 19 Jul 07 - 08:37 PM
GUEST,ardent 21 Jul 07 - 06:38 PM
Barry Finn 22 Jul 07 - 01:52 AM
SINSULL 26 Jul 07 - 11:36 PM
radriano 27 Jul 07 - 02:48 PM
ranger1 28 Jul 07 - 09:51 PM
TRUBRIT 01 Aug 07 - 11:18 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 02 Aug 07 - 07:19 PM
Rabbi-Sol 02 Aug 07 - 10:08 PM
GUEST,guest 06 Aug 07 - 07:39 AM
Rabbi-Sol 06 Aug 07 - 03:51 PM
Chanteyranger 06 Aug 07 - 06:10 PM
Greg B 06 Aug 07 - 07:10 PM
Rabbi-Sol 06 Aug 07 - 10:59 PM
GUEST,guest 06 Aug 07 - 11:37 PM
Anglo 07 Aug 07 - 12:08 AM
Rabbi-Sol 07 Aug 07 - 06:31 PM
GUEST,guest 08 Aug 07 - 07:36 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 16 Aug 07 - 11:35 PM
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Subject: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: DonMeixner
Date: 06 Jul 07 - 01:14 PM

Sea Fever: Songs of Ships and the Sea
By John Roberts

I have long been enamored (enamoured for the Brits) of songs about ships and sailing. Boats being one of those subsets of A Guy Thing I imagine.   I have like wise been a long time fan of John Roberts singing going back to the days of Spencer the Rover in Ithaca, NY.

As I type this I am listening to the CD on my computer I notice a few things right off. The mix is such that it feel and sounds like John is in the room not in the box. There is an over all alive feeling with this CD that I don't hear in many others. The second thing I have noticed is the instrumentation is just right.
Not minimalist but containing just the right amount of instrumentation for each song.

That John is a fine pair of hands on the English method concertina is a well known fact. That John is an engaging singer is as well known. But people often don't realize or remember that he is a dab hand at frailing the five string banjo. He has a crystal clear technique is at once clean and precise but still lively and not sounding mechanical. This is heard clearly in The Bonnie Ship The Diamond and Let The Bulgine Run/Sally in the Gardens. I wish there were more.

Some of these songs sound like Morris Dance tunes married to a foc'sle shanty. The Candlelight Fisherman has a very dance like quality to it.

George Ward's song, The Boatman's Cure is a surprise to me on this recording and I don't know why. May be it's the presentation and maybe it is the fine pedigree and maybe it is just such a great song done so well. The same is true I feel of The Weeping Willow Tree. From the Golden Vanity family but the Willow Tree is more fleshed out and less repetitious. (Art Thieme has a version of TGV that is much better than any other of that song I have ever heard.)

The Black Cook was done by John and Tony on an earlier recording I think. A comic entertainment from a grand tradition of it's own. Think of Peter Street, The Sick Note, and O'Connell's Engine and you have the idea. The melody has been used elsewhere a number of times. It has similarities to O'Connell's Steam Engine and Lilli Bullero(I think?) But this is the song I think of when ever I hear this melody.

John's unaccompanied singing should be mentioned. He has spent a lifetime honing the craft and there is no one better at it.

I bought my copy from John at Old Songs but it is available from other sources. Try www.goldenhindmusic.com

Don Meixner


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 06 Jul 07 - 02:07 PM

Don,

Thanks so much for that! I knew nothing about it; didn't even know John was working on it. (Another down side to being off the folk road these days.) But I will look at the site you mention and order it post haste.

Art


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: GUEST,Don Meixner
Date: 07 Jul 07 - 01:37 PM

You are welcome Art.


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: SINSULL
Date: 07 Jul 07 - 11:51 PM

John talked about this CD at his last house concert. And sang The Weeping Willow Tree with a disgusted aside about another version in which the drowning cabin boy claims were it not for the love of the crew he would sink their ship too. He should have drowned them all!

I am looking forward to adding this to my Barrand-Roberts collection.


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 08 Jul 07 - 03:38 AM

G'day Don,

I am interested to know just what you mean by "... John is a fine pair of hands on the English method concertina ...". I'm aware that he is a fine player of the "Anglo(-chromatic") concertina and he has a nice set of them (D/G, G/C & Bb/F ... I think). I'm just curious about the way different parts of the world term 'styles' and approaches to this ubiquitous and versatile instrument - and I know that a lot of confusion, around here in the early Australian "Folk Revival" arose from collectors not understanding what players meant by their peculiar terminology.

Anyway, your review is a fine introduction to what sounds (by the MP3 samples) to be another fine CD from John Roberts. His site doesn't help much for me buying this one (and maybe Naulakha Redux) from the far antipodes ... so I might see if Dick Greenhaus carries these (and might tip a few bob back into the Mudcat!).

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 08 Jul 07 - 08:32 AM

Hi Bob,

That could just be my ignorance talking. What I hear on the CD doesn't sound like an Anglo box. And what I have seen him play and the picture on the CD looks like an English concertina looking at the layout of the buttons. And he has always played them well enough. I was more in the way of getting people to be aware of his fine banjo playing with that comment.

Thanks for reading the review.

Don


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 08 Jul 07 - 01:12 PM

John is one of the few concertina players around who plays both English and Anglo.

I've been in love with George Ward's song "Boatman's Cure" since I first heard John sing it about a year ago.

Will get my hands on this CD at my first opportunity!

Linn


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 08 Jul 07 - 01:15 PM

CAMSCO certainly carries all of John Robert's recordings (the ones with Tony Barrand, Ye Mariners All and his new solo album.)And John (whose Mudcat handle is ANGLO) certainly plays Anglo concertina. As well as an understated, and quite impressive 5-string banjo.


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: Charley Noble
Date: 08 Jul 07 - 01:17 PM

I too lust for this CD!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 08 Jul 07 - 04:28 PM

Charley-
Where else can you slake your lust nowadays for $13.98 (+ shipping?)


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 04:50 AM

G'day again Don,

My copy of Twiddlum, Twaddlum shows John Roberts holding a quite nice Anglo (30 + keys) and, when we had some email correspondence he remarked on the concertinas I mentioned in my first post. I wouldn't be surprised if he also played Wheatstone's "English System" - several capable players of my acquaintance happily swap systems ... heck i can pickout a tune on an English - or a Maccann duet (my first concertina!) - but it's the robust and proletarian Anglo that is my love!

BTW: Have you heard Brian Peters' 2005 CD Anglophilia? Brian certainly aims to overturn some of the preconceptions about different systems - and, in his hands, everything comes off the Anglo very well!

Anyway, that's all beside the point, which is that I need to tally up all the other bits and bobs I've been needing from t'other side of the world ... add in the John Roberts CDs ... and go speak (metaphorically) with Dick Greehaus.

Regards,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: Anglo
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 11:54 AM

Thanks all, for the nice words. To clarify, I do play both English and Anglo system concertinas, but on this recording I only use Anglo. Bob is correct about my collection of Anglos. The one pictured on the tray card is my C/G Jeffries.

JR


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: DonMeixner
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 01:11 PM

Thanks for the correction John, Isuppose I could edit my comments but what the hell. It is a great collection of music on what ever button box you play.

Don


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: adventure
Date: 14 Jul 07 - 07:09 AM

Ya' gotta check this CD out.
Don.....nice review and writeup.
Marvelous.


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: karen k
Date: 14 Jul 07 - 10:07 AM

John,it's great and on my iPod already. This one is a keeper everyone will want. Folk-Legacy will also be carrying it.

karen kobela


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: Greg B
Date: 14 Jul 07 - 06:30 PM

John could be three sheets to, with a case of laryngitis, accompanying
himself on a Bastari with half the reeds gone and a leaky bellows
while singing 'I Left My Heart in San Francisco' and still sound
better than 95% of the musicians in this world.


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: TRUBRIT
Date: 15 Jul 07 - 01:08 AM

Listening to the new cd as we speak (thank you Peter.....) will report in later.....


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: GUEST,Mike O'leary-Johns
Date: 15 Jul 07 - 08:35 AM

I agree with Greg.............As I read through the comments ;It was running through my mind.......That John , singing through the contents of a Telephone Directory, would be a Joy to to listen to.
                                                             Mike.


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: TRUBRIT
Date: 15 Jul 07 - 09:56 AM

Agreed - I thought it was wonderful.


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: Linda Mattson
Date: 16 Jul 07 - 03:34 AM

Looking forward to getting this CD soon - sending an order for two tomorrow. At last! We've been waiting for a recording of that great Bateau song for years.

-Linda


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: GUEST,Pamela in Ithaca
Date: 16 Jul 07 - 04:31 PM

Hummm.... I tried to post something here several days ago
and it disappeared. Here I go again...

I completely agree with all said - a wonderful CD and a long
time coming. John has been telling me for years that he wanted
to do a solo CD. We're all so glad that it finally happened.
I particularly love his version of Patrick Spense and the
Figurehead Carver/Marco Polo.

But here's the thing no one has yet mentioned.
John's illusive partner, Lisa, plays some lovely harp
accompaniment on the CD - a nice addition and one so
rare on this type of recording. Lisa's a fine musician
and it's really good that a broader audience gets a chance to hear her.


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: Rabbi-Sol
Date: 16 Jul 07 - 05:42 PM

For those of you who want to hear John Roberts live in concert he will be performing on Sunday July 29th at 1:30 PM in Sparrowbush, NY at the home of John Ziv. This is a FREE concert and all are welcome to attend. Sparrowbush is 3 miles north of Port Jervis on Route 97.
The address is 594 - Route 97, Sparrowbush, NY. To reserve space call John Ziv at 845-858-7890 or e-mail him at rte97music@earthlink.net   By public transportation take the Coach USA-Shortline Bus from Port Authority Bus Terminal, NYC or the NJ Transit Railroad from Hoboken. Volunteers will meet train & bus in Port Jervis if they know you are coming. This event is being sponsored by the Pinewoods Folk Music Society of New York.

                                                 SOL ZELLER


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: Charley Noble
Date: 16 Jul 07 - 07:52 PM

Thanks to the Adventure crew, I now have my own personal copy of John's CD. In trade I gave Peter and Joanne an obscure book of nautical poetry, 1902, from a Gloucester poet. I couldn't understand a word of the dialect but it looked interesting and maybe we'll get a song out of it.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: Charley Noble
Date: 17 Jul 07 - 08:19 PM

Sea Fever is now in the van CD player and I've enjoyed the first 4 tracks, concertina to banjo!

Don't be the last one on your block to buy a copy of this CD!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: GUEST,Al no cookie
Date: 19 Jul 07 - 12:55 AM

I remember John and Tony from back in the Ithaca days in the early 70s. Some of the finest. I think I need John's new CD.
Al


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: kendall
Date: 19 Jul 07 - 07:11 AM

I know what you mean Don, he sounds like he's sitting beside me in the car.
It's an outstanding CD.


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: adventure
Date: 19 Jul 07 - 05:56 PM

Kendall,

Can you imagine the two of you in the front of your car listening to each other's CD's....damned well better have two CD players in that car with a full tank of gas or more.

Yes it is superb...just superb!!!

Doryman


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: Charley Noble
Date: 19 Jul 07 - 08:37 PM

The amazing thing is that listening to John sing John Masefield's "Sea Fever" one actually can listen again to the verses. Usually my mind shuts down after the first verse.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: GUEST,ardent
Date: 21 Jul 07 - 06:38 PM

Stunning CD.
Superior sound mix and quality selection.


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: Barry Finn
Date: 22 Jul 07 - 01:52 AM

Thought I lost this CD, whew! We were talking with Gina Dunlap at the Press Room sea shanty session tonight which got me to thinking where the hell did I put that CD & as luck would have it my wife had hidden the CD in the car's CD player. She scoft it was trying to learn George Ward's "Boatman's Cure". I don't question her taste. The CD is now back in the house & I'm listening to it now, it's not the 1st time either. Very nice job. It's nice that you started off with the title song, bringing the listener into the culture of the world of water & to end off with Gina's "What Fortune Guides A Sailor" so's to ease us back out of the water & once more land us ahore delighted with all that was inbetween. All the back up is just the right bite to salt the taste that your voice gives to the ear. What a great CD, well done John. I'm not gonna comment on the quality only because once I started listening to it I found I was already past all that was techie & completely absorbed in what I felt was a musical journey without a need to do anything but enjoy, totally. Now if I can only keep it out of my wife's hands.

Thanks for the gift Peter

Barry

Really smooth move entrying into "The Hog Eye Man", my ears transformed into points & backed up like a flop eared mule. Had to repeat it twice before I could go on.


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: SINSULL
Date: 26 Jul 07 - 11:36 PM

This CD is a treasure. It is like having John sitting in your living room singing special requests. I agree with Charley. Sea Fever usually turns my brain to jelly. John's version is riveting. Sir Patrick Spence, The Old Figurehead Carver and What Fortunes Guide A Sailor are my favorites.

John is one of a few singers who have the talent and the voice to let a song be itself. The results are startlingly simple and compelling.

Many thanks to the Peter and Joann for my copy. I will be playing it for the Portland Harbor Museum lady. Maybe we can get some on their shelves.
Mary


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: radriano
Date: 27 Jul 07 - 02:48 PM

This is a great recording from John Roberts. Half the time I sit there mesmerized by his voice. The rest of the time I spend wishing I could sing like John.


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: ranger1
Date: 28 Jul 07 - 09:51 PM

Fantastic CD. I keep finding myself singing verses of Boatman's Cure while I go about the park cleaning up after the hordes.


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: TRUBRIT
Date: 01 Aug 07 - 11:18 PM

Hope it makes the cleaning easier, ranger 1.


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 02 Aug 07 - 07:19 PM

My check just went into the mail, along with another to Barry Finn.

Art


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: Rabbi-Sol
Date: 02 Aug 07 - 10:08 PM

I had the good fortune to hear John Roberts live this past Sunday at a house concert and I purchased the CD directly from him. I had a busy schedule this week so I did not have a chance to listen to it yet. I will do so tomorrow.


                                                   SOL


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 06 Aug 07 - 07:39 AM

So Rabbi Sol .....any thoughts about the CD?


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: Rabbi-Sol
Date: 06 Aug 07 - 03:51 PM

I am sorry. I did not get the chance to listen to it. I was away at the Appalachian Bluegrass Festival in Wind Gap, PA. and returned late last night. I promise I will get to it tonight and post my comments immediately thereafter.
                                                       SOL


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: Chanteyranger
Date: 06 Aug 07 - 06:10 PM

This is a really oustanding CD. John Roberts is such a master of his craft. Beautiful stuff!

Chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: Greg B
Date: 06 Aug 07 - 07:10 PM

"John Roberts is such a master of his craft."

And if you like his rowing, you should hear him sing!


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: Rabbi-Sol
Date: 06 Aug 07 - 10:59 PM

I just finished listening to the CD and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was originally introduced to Sea Music by the late Bernie Klay & The X Seaman's Institute. I am also a regular at Mystic every year and am very familiar with most of the songs. However, this CD by John Roberts gives me a fresh perspective on Sea Music and reminds me that there can be so many versions of the same song that one has to be a scholar to know them all. John certainly is a scholar in this field and his renditions are very true to the original way these songs were sung at sea. My favorite song on the CD is "The Old Figurehead Carver" about the Marco Polo. I would very much appreciate if John could post the lyrics to this song on this thread, since they do not appear on the CD insert.
                                                   SOL


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 06 Aug 07 - 11:37 PM

Sol....

Lyrics are posted under this web site:

http://www.goldenhindmusic.com/

along with .wav recording snips


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: Anglo
Date: 07 Aug 07 - 12:08 AM

Just saw this - thank you, GUEST,guest for pointing this out and guiding people to the lyrics and sound samples. My webguy, bless his heart, just started doing this, and has 3 CDs worth of sound samples up already. Hopefully more quite soon.

Try this: THIS and clic the pic or go to "Products."

(I've no idea who GUEST,guest is - but thanks for providing information I might have done already if I were more alert).

John


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: Rabbi-Sol
Date: 07 Aug 07 - 06:31 PM

Thank you for the lyrics, John. Now I can follow along as I listen to the CD. I am sorry that I forgot to ask you to autograph it for me.
                                                         SOL


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 08 Aug 07 - 07:36 PM

indeed....a nice job being done on the above web site


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Subject: RE: Review: Sea Fever: John Roberts
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 16 Aug 07 - 11:35 PM

John Roberts has made a CD that I seriously feel is absolutely the best folk recording I've heard in at least the last ten years---maybe 15!! John, congratulations.

Folks, by Jove, this is just an amazingly well put together album. The vocals, the instrumentation--all of it---it's the way folk music ought to be presented. Wonderful versions of wondrous songs. Thanks, John, for doing it!! This sin't an album you'll soon be tired of.

Art


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