Sea Songs


by Robin Garside and Paul Gough

This was our first and only Album as a duo, recorded in 1977 on the now defunct Northern Sound label, number NSR01. It was recorded on a 4 track reel to reel (housed in an old Commer van) by Jeremy Owen, produced by Mick Roberts. Available only on 12" Vinyl by mail order, just contact me.

The Sea Songs Album cover
Sleeve design & photo by Bryan Ledgard
Side 1

1 Young Edwin in the Lowlands Low
A sailor returns from the high seas with a pocket full of loot, from which he is soon parted by his girlfriend's father, who kept a pub. This song is often sung in 4/4 time but we like it better in 6/8.

2 Polly on the Shore
This is a composite of several versions. We learned the tune from our old friend Ray Padgett of Barnsley.

3 The Royal Oak
This song, (from The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs, Williams and Lloyd, collected from Moses Mansfield, Surrey, 1912,) is about English supremacy at sea. We're rather fond of these tales of sea battles.

4 The 3 Sea Captains
A very old Irish set dance tune, the dance to which the tune belongs is an energetic affair, with lots of stepping.

5 The Constant Lovers
We have it on good authority that this is from Bob Copper of the famous singing family. We learned it from Jayne Clarke of Grimsby. It's one of a number of songs in a similar vein where a young woman throws herself from a cliff top, in order to follow her sailor true love to Davy Jones's locker.

6 Yarmouth Town
A sailor comes home from sea and immediately goes to the pub where he sees the Landlord's daughter. The sailor falls head over heels in lust and asks the daughter to marry him, she declines his offer but instead seduces the sailor with a little help from a piece of string.

Side 2

7 The Bold Richard
I said that we were fond of songs about sea battles so here's another one.

8 Botany Bay
A surprisingly cheerful sounding song about the transportation of people who had been convicted of very minor felonies, to Australia's Botany Bay. As it says in the song, 'for stealing his ticker (watch) away.'

9 The Nightingale
A Canadian song, featuring gory death on the high seas, a nocturnal haunting of a young maiden and cruel parents. The melody is one of the best we have ever heard, it changes from major to minor and back again fitting in perfectly with the mood of the lyrics.

10 The Landlubber/Moggy on the Shore
A couple of jolly fiddle tunes, a hornpipe and a reel, from 'Kerr's Merry Melodies, Specially arranged for the Ballroom.'

11 A Sailor Deceived
A self explainatory song from the Hammond and Gardiner collection.

12 The Rounding of the Horn
A tale of the hardship suffered by sailors in the 'Great Days of Sail.' We have actually tried hauling on ropes and shoving capstans round to sea shanties, usually only for a few minutes at a time, and hard graft it is too. The sailors of those times must have been as hard as nails, the ropes are rough and hairy and one has to push or pull hard to accomplish the task. The sailors must have had great tenacity and strength to do it day after day, year after year, until the mythical day that they were paid off with enough money to retire. Most must have died in poverty when they were too aged or infirm to carry on, their often sung about dreams of a happy retirement never realised.
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