1 - (The Bonny Ship) The Diamond
After a devastating effect on whale stocks in the Greenland sea in the 19th Century, a new hunting ground was descovered around the Davis Straits. In 1830 The Diamond, Eliza Swan and The Resolution along with seventeen other whaling ships were caught in the ice of Melville Bay. The ships were lost and many sailors lost their lives.
2 - General Taylor
General Taylor is a capstan Shanty sung whilst heaving up the anchor and other heavy labour activities. Though the shanty Santianna would have you believe Antonio Lopez de Santy Anna gained the day, in historical truth it was General Zachary Taylor at the battle of Buena Vista who gained the day. He later became the 12th American President.
3 - Tilbury Town (Rolling Down the River) - (3.01)
Although it might sound like a traditional shanty, Rolling Down the River was written and recorded by Jack Forbes in 1982 for a radio programme about Tilbury Docks. Often sung in sessions Kate first heard it in the Endeavour during Whitby Folk Week.
4 - Spanish Ladies - (3.36)
This song describes a journey back up the English Channel by sailors returning from the Peninsular War in the early 19th century. Jo learnt this song from a CD bought in Oxfam and sang it ad nauseam for years, which has still not been enough to stop her semi-spoonerising the line "tacks and sheets" to comic effect.
5 - Roll Alabama - (2.41)
CSS Alabama was a southern confederacy ship during the American Civil War. Her job was to sink Yankee merchant ships and cut off their supply lines. She came a cropper at the hands of the Kearsage in 1864.
6 - Rio Grande - (3.45)
Bound for the Rio Grande was one of the favourite shanties among outward-bound British vessels. There are many different versions, but there seems to be a consensus that the Rio Grande referred to in the song is not the one in Mexico (Rio Grande del Norte), but the one in the Southernmost part of Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul).
7 - Roll Down - (4.21)
This shanty is from Peter Bellamy's monumental ballad opera 'The Transports'. It tells the story from the sailors' point of view as they transport the convicts to Australia. "As the ship pulls away from the harbour in Plymouth, we follow the shantyman's mind's eye to the open sea, past Spain and the West Coast of Africa, round the Horn, into the Southern Ocean to land in South Australia. The last two verses bring the crew home to the ladies of Plymouth".
Recorded by Mike Green at Gosforth Parish Church of St Nicholas, 29th November 2014.
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