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New Album Of Traditional Sea Songs


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Hello all,

 

I have just recorded and released a new album, "Seas of Doubt and Rocks of Repentance" - which features seven traditional songs of the sea, 6 of which are accompanied by concertina.

 

It can be streamed for free or downloaded for £5 here: https://lachenaliamusic.bandcamp.com/album/seas-of-doubt-rocks-of-repentance-2

 

Here's some more information from the Bandcamp page:

 

1. On Board a '98 (3:43)
2. Canadee-i-o (3:07)
3. Shallow Brown (3:17)
4. Sally Free and Easy (9:41)
5. Polly on the Shore (5:00)
6. Young Sailor Bold (3:01)
7. Sir Patrick Spens (16:07)

An album of traditional songs of the sea, performed by Stuart Estell on
G/D anglo concertina (1, 3)
Jeffries duet concertina (2, 5)
Maccann duet concertina (3, 6)
piano (7)

All songs trad. arr. Estell, except track 4, composed by Cyril Tawney, arr. Estell.
These recordings use very little compression and were recorded live with no overdubs or editing. They may seem quiet compared with other more compressed modern recordings. Please make appropriate use of the volume knob on your amplifier if necessary. If doing a retake risked the overall feel of a performance, minor errors/throat frogs/mic stand wobbles have been left in.

I've long wanted to record "On Board a '98" to mark my indebtedness to the singing of Peter Bellamy - I hope I've done it justice. Canadee-i-o comes from the singing of Harry Upton, with a slight nod to Bob Dylan's version on his album "Good as I Been to You". Shallow Brown comes from a variety of sources and the version here seems to obsess more than it used to on the notion of the narrator being sold for a dollar.

Sally Free and Easy is of course by the amazing Cyril Tawney - here instead of Tawney's chugging guitar imitating a submarine engine I've opted for something altogether more sombre; it is, after all, a suicide song. Polly On the Shore is from the Trees version, and is different from the way Stewart Lee and I have performed it together - again, I've slowed it down here.

Young Sailor Bold is a version collected in the midlands by Roy Palmer and Pam Bishop. The arrangement of Sir Patrick Spens here is completely improvised, while the tune is a slightly mangled reworking of Martin Carthy's.

 

Edited by StuartEstell
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Hi Stuart,

 

Thanks for posting this. I enjoyed it a lot. You've got a good voice for this kind of material, and good delivery, and I also am instructed by your work on arranging for (duet) concertina. I was particularly struck by "Shallow Brown." I looked up the tune, and found this webpage. I breezed through all the versions posted there, and I believe yours is the best, both in terms of the lyrics you chose (of the many extant versions) and also your general understated attitude toward the song.

 

I'm also impressed by that final track. I have a fondness (as both listener and musician) for longform compositions that manage to stay fresh as the minutes tick by. You did it.

 

best,

-steven

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That's really nice, Stuart. I loved the hints of Bellamy in On Board a '98! (As Henry Kipper once observed, the 98 doesn't go to Cromer :) ). Good to hear a rendition of Canadee which gets away from the ubiquitous Nic Jones imitations. Gorgeous atmospheric accompaniment on Sally Free and Easy. (I remember that Tawney submarine-imitation guitar). Sir Patrick is still unfolding as I type. I shall forward the link to acquaintances of the shanty-singing persuasion.

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Thanks Chas - glad you like "98". I find it a challenge, when singing any song I've learned from Bellamy recordings, not to lapse into an impersonation, to be honest! I'm glad you like the arrangement of "Sally" too. For such a simple song it can be done so many different ways...

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