The Last Shanty
Update for Go to Sea No More (than seven times) and the current Lieblink:
With this capstan chantey and the appropriate theme of “Go to sea no more,” Stan Hugill ends his collection of the work-songs from the great Age of Sail.
[W]e hope that our effort to give these shanties in as truthful a manner as possible will help those who are interested to savour, for perhaps the last time, the genuine saltiness, rhythm, and vigour of the inimitable true song of the sea…THE SHANTY.
I echo those words as I submit this last video to complete the project of recording all* the chanties that Hugill set down in print in his text, SHANTIES FROM THE SEVEN SEAS (1961; *abridged edition, Mystic Seaport, 1994).
For the uninitiated, Stan Hugill was an ex-merchant seaman that was among the very last generation to actually use these work-songs over deep water. This brought his collection of songs, the very largest and, in a way, also the *last* of its kind, a special resonance. Hugill was influential as a performer, and his text has been singularly influential on the latter-day singing of chanties (i.e. as a revived practice). However, very many of the chanties he collected have remained unknown, little-known, or known in very different forms. One goal of this project has been to translate his printed page into an audio form, whilst also re-examining assumptions about each one. Another goal (the list is endless!) has been to introduce these forms to people other than the usual audience and to suggest through example that chantey-singing is an adaptable form that can be fresh and relevant to current generations.
I am grateful to my kind “virtual collaborators” who lent their voices to this video milestone:
- Sara (Auckland, New Zealand), flash mob queen of the Southern Hemisphere
- Don Ramon (Chicago, IL, U.S.A.), guitar choking boss
- Kathy W (Chicago, IL, U.S.A.), the Midwest’s chantey trail-blazer
- Dave Dupplaw & family (Dorset, UK), multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire of the Channel
- Walter “Salty Walt” Askew (San Francisco, CA, U.S.A.), the Bay Area’s favourite chanteyman
- Travis Hatcher (Amherst, NS, Canada), troubadour of the Maritimes
- Calle Crespis Crew [yiz know who yiz are] (Santa Barbara, CA, U.S.A.), doctors of musicologies and sunshine
I also want to thank all of my subscribers, in-person collaborators, and those who have supported and commented on the project over 2 years (so far — the project continues with the unabridged edition!).
With a salt tear dimming the eye,
Other virtual chantey collaborations:
Of course, all the in-person collaborations…and all the other chanties!…can be found in the following two playlists, containing over 300 work-songs of the sea:
- Here is the very first video I recorded in this project, 27 April, 2008; things have come a ways!
- I often compose or ad-lib verses to chanties. Here is an example of one where all the verses are new — a birthday chantey to myself!
- Here are my 3 *current* “favourite” chanties (not the recordings, but the chanties themselves). Incidentally, I think they give a feel for the deep “origins” of the chantey genre.
Hulton “Ranzo” Clint on The Anglesey (a YouTube collaboration), March 10, 2010.
Great bleeding awesone work, mate. This is one the best actions all of us ever met on this beloved kindergarten we call the internet… aw pish tosh, it is the best. Congratulations for this documentary achievement and all the joy you brought in. Hope to hear from you really soon again.