I'm a Sea Shanty addict

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TheGrimmRetails

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The first sea shanty I ever heard was The Turkish Revelry, which we sang in sixth grade music class. I don't think I knew I had a real addiction until I first started hearing Wellerman on TikTok and then I had to listen to the actual song. Soon I discovered The Last Shanty by the Derina Harvey Band and then I found a family friendly version of Drunken Sailor on an old Seaquest clip, which lead to me listening to the not so family friendly version by the Irish Rovers.

I don't know what it is about a sea shanty that just grabs me but I wanted to know I'm not the only one out there. What's your favorite sea shanty? Any recommendations? Is there another version of a popular sea shanty that you prefer over others?
 

Maryn

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Not me, but my father. He had a dozen or so records of such music and literally wore a few out, he played them so often.

He died before my mother, and when I cleared out the house, those records were not among the others. I'd have taken them.
 
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Check out Gordon Bok; Folk singer and song-writer from Maine. Not all his songs are shanteys (technically, neither is Wellerman) but some are and many are about ships and the sea.
 

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A few years ago, searching for some half-remembered shanties I ran across this compilation of a capella (no musical instruments, just voices) sea shanties from various albums. I listen to it a lot while working. Some of the songs are a bit racy, some sentimental. I'd give a slight warning for language - mild cussin' and one obsolete term for biracial people.

This one isn't real, it's riffing on sea shanties humorously to tell the story of Passover. It's a lot of fun, especially if you know Passover traditions.
 

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I know I could google this but I'm just asking out of curiosity; what makes a shanty a shanty?
They're work songs, usually call-and-response, voice only (no musical instruments) with a steady beat to help in the rope pulling or whatever rhythmic work the sailors are doing. Derives from the French "chanter", to sing.

That's the classic definition as I understand it, anyway.
 
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mrsmig

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My favorite is "The Auld Triangle," especially this version, sung by the late, great Luke Kelly and the Dubliners. Kelly's voice is just so raw and full of pain.

 
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I know I could google this but I'm just asking out of curiosity; what makes a shanty a shanty?
They are work songs, rhythmic repeted chants, often in the form of call-and-reponse for alternating teams as you (mostly) haul and coil and pull the ropes for the sails.
 
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'Bound for South Australia' is one of my favourites. I think everyone has recorded it.

And from the mid-1970s, not a shanty but still hugely fun to sing -- 'Barrett's Privateers'.
They are both in the collection of sea shanties I linked above, "Bound for South Australia" at 28:17 and "Barrett's Privateers" at 18:48.

"Barrett's Privateers" was written in 1976 and has some cussin' in it.
 

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'Bound for South Australia' is one of my favourites. I think everyone has recorded it.

And from the mid-1970s, not a shanty but still hugely fun to sing -- 'Barrett's Privateers'.
Stan Rogers is another favorite, and his brother Garnet tours with the fabulous Archie Fisher, a Scottish traditional singer and song-writer.
 
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Brightdreamer

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Check out Gordon Bok; Folk singer and song-writer from Maine. Not all his songs are shanteys (technically, neither is Wellerman) but some are and many are about ships and the sea.
Grew up listening to his records, thanks to my mother. The Brandy Tree has always been a favorite, and Peter Kagan and the Wind (a story/song hybrid) is a classic selkie tale.
 

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You might also try 'Great Big Sea' a Canadian folk-rock band, from the Maritimes, that bases a lot of it's songs on traditional shanties and the like.
They are retired now, after 20 some years, but still great.
 
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AnnieColleen

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Not a sea shanty, I guess. :) But this was fun.
 

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