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Review: New Sea Chanteys on CD

Q (Frank Staplin) 18 Jun 09 - 02:57 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 18 Jun 09 - 03:00 PM
dick greenhaus 18 Jun 09 - 07:46 PM
Gibb Sahib 18 Jul 09 - 10:50 PM
Joe Offer 19 Jul 09 - 01:42 AM
MoorleyMan 19 Jul 09 - 08:47 AM
Reinhard 19 Jul 09 - 09:04 AM
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Subject: Review: New Sea Chanteys on CD
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Jun 09 - 02:57 PM

Jour. American Folklore, 2009, vol. 122 no. 484, pp. 197-217.
New Sea Chantey Compilations on Compact Disc, James Revell Carr, UNC Greensboro.

A few extracts, but here is the introductory paragraph to this overly long review:
"Recently a pirate-oriented fan subculture fueled by Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean movie series has been growing across the United States. With it, a great many musical groups have begun performing sea chanteys and sailor songs in both traditional and innovative arrangements, inventing new genres like "pirate rock."
The heavily synergistic Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has lent its imagery to everything from breakfast cereal to pinball machines, so it was not surprising when a collection of sea songs was recently issued under the Pirates brand name." .....
Rogue's Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs and Chanteys 2006.
..."uneven and anachronistic"...fascinating example of semi-obscure folk material interpreted by contemporary singers for the mass market." ....liner notes- "a totally unexplored kind of folk music."

Carr rebuts this with examples, American Sea Songs and Shanties 2004 Archive Folk Culture, and Classic Maritime Music (2004) Smithsonian Folkways. Recordings- "provide evidence that sea music was, in fact, well-explored in the late twentieth century."
Skipping over discussion of Hugill, the chanteyman's craft, types of chanteys, and detailed discussion and listing of material on the two collections cited above-
Rogue's Gallery: ..."interesting, if puzzling group of singers"... who came to the project not because they were known for their sea chantey singing but because they knew producer Hal Wilner or Johnny Depp."
Two CDs and 42 tracks to the set- "seems a bit bloated." "These recordings use acoustic instruments, stick closely to original melodies but incorporate a funky rhythmic feel and a folk-rock vocal style...Phillip Morgan helped organize the Seattle sessions, contributes banjo and tin whistle ...wrote the annotations for the collection."
Featured are Sting and Bono. The Carthy Family is well-represented: "The Mermaid" and "The Hog-Eye Man." Loudon Wainwright III sings "Turkish Revelry" and "Good Ship Venus." Nick Cave sings "Fire Down Below;" he "emphasizes one twelve-letter obscenity...that is not only anachronistic...but not found in even the unexpurgated versions of the text- gives the listener the sense that he is trying too hard to shock."
Some of the chanteys are orchestrated in new ways.
Notes [from the article]
Spelling of chantey- "marginally more common in American sailors' journals and other writings."
Carr recommends Stuart M. Frank, 1998, Book of Pirate Songs, Kendall Whaling Museum, and says his major monograph on sea music has yet to be published.
Women are not ignored, Cindy Kallet, Celeste Bernardo and the Johnson Girls.
Books by Laura Alexandrine Smith and Joanna Colcord are mentioned, but Cicely Fox Smith is ignored.

Carr prints an "Audiography," which includes Almanac Singers (1941, Lomax), Mystic Seaport Chanteymen (1997) and other Mystic offerings, Folkways records and Topic Records Compilations.

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Subject: RE: Review: New Sea Chanteys on CD
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Jun 09 - 03:00 PM

Sorry, didn't close off italics, but still readable, I hope.

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Subject: RE: Review: New Sea Chanteys on CD
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 18 Jun 09 - 07:46 PM

My prime example of a godawful mess.

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Subject: RE: Review: New Sea Chanteys on CD
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 10:50 PM


It's an awesome article. Basically he gives a whole run-down on every performer. For anyone who has American Sea Songs and Shanties and Classic Maritime Music, it's the perfect background.

Highly recommended to read this article if one wants a sense of the how? and who? of the development of chantey-singing scene in 20th century.

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Subject: Review: Uit Alle Windstreken 2 (Rumor di Mare)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 01:42 AM

I've been meaning to post a review of a sea chantey CD somebody gave me last week. It's called Uit Alle Windstreken 2 by the Netherlands "Zeemanschor" "Rumor di Mare."

I'm not sure sure about the authenticity of a chorus singing sea chanteys, but I sure enjoy the work of the Shellback Chorus of the UK. Same goes for this group - they don't sound like they're able-bodied seamen, but they have a lot of fun with the music and sing the songs very well. About half the songs are English and the other half Dutch, but there's a smattering of other languages in the selection.

Authentic? Probably not, but they do sing almost exclusively traditional songs, and the arrangements at least sound more authentic than the Disneyfied Johnny Dep set.

I think most sea song afficionados would enjoy "Rumor di Mare" as much as the Shellbacks.


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Subject: RE: Review: New Sea Chanteys on CD
From: MoorleyMan
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 08:47 AM

The Carr article sounds fascinating and mandatory reading.
Is the complete text available on the Net d' you know? (The usual search engines just bring up loads of spurious junk as usual...)

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Subject: RE: Review: New Sea Chanteys on CD
From: Reinhard
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 09:04 AM

You can find the article at Access My Library. I found this at Google right at the top of a search for the article's title. But you have to register for getting the whole article.

It's really good reading. And now I know why I like the two CDs of them that I own ;-)

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Mudcat time: 19 June 3:47 PM EDT

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