Anthologies   •   Sailormen and Servingmaids: The Folk Songs of Britain — Volume 6

image image image image
  • Sailormen and Servingmaids: The Folk Songs of Britain — Volume 6
    • 1961 - Caedmon TC1162 LP (USA)
  • Side One
    1. Paddy West — Timothy Walsh, Devonport, England (BBC Sound Archive, Cyril Tawney)
    2. The Liverpool Packet — Bill Barber (with chorus), Cadgwith, Cornwall, England. (Recorded by Peter Kennedy)
    3. The Green Banks of Yarrow — Mrs. Maguire, 'Belfast, N. Ireland (Recorded by Seán O'Boyle)
    4. Our Gallant Ship — William Howell, Fishguard, Pembrokeshire, Wales (BBC Sound Archive, Seamus Ennis)
    5. The Alehouse — Elizabeth Cronin, Cork, Eire (BBC Sound Archive, Seamus Ennis)
    6. Rosemary Lane — Bruce Laurensen, Lerwick, Shetland Isles (Recorded by Patrick Shuldham-Shaw)
    7. Ratcliffe Highway — Jim Baldry, Woodbridge, Suffolk, England (Recorded by Peter Kennedy)
    8. The Lowlands of Holland Paddy Tunney, Donegal, Eire (Recorded by Peter Kennedy)
    9. The Quaker — Dorchester Mummers, Dorset, England (BBC Sound Archive)
    10. Kishmul's Galley — Flora McNeil, Barra, Hebrides, Scotland (Recorded by Alan Lomax)
    11. The Whale-Fishery — Philip Hamon and Hilary Carre, Sark, Channel Islands (Recorded by Peter Kennedy)
    12. The Grey Silkie — John Sinclair, Flotta, Orkney Isles (Recorded by Seán Davies)
  • Side Two
    1. Warlike Seamen Bob and Ron Copper, Rottingdean, Sussex (Recorded by Peter Kennedy)
    2. The Boat That First Brought Me Over — Thomas Moran, Mohill, Co. Leitrim, Eire (BBC Sound Archive, Seamus Ennis)
    3. The Handsome Cabin Boy Jeannie Robertson, Aberdeen, Scotland (Recorded by Alan Lomax)
    4. The Unst Boat Song — John Stickle, Baltasound, Unst, Shetland Isles (Recorded by Patrick Shuldham-Shaw)
    5. The Smacksman — Sam Larner, Winterton, Norfolk, England (BBC Sound Archive, Philip Donellan)
    6. Sweet Willie — Lal Smith, Waterford, Eire (BBC Sound Archive, Peter Kennedy and Seán O'Boyle)
    7. The Campanero — Bill Cameron, St. Mary's, Scilly Isles (Recorded by Peter Kennedy)
    8. Andrew Ross — John and Ethel Findlater, Dounby, Orkney Isles (Recorded by Peter Kennedy)
    9. The Bold Princess Royal — Ned Adams, Hastings, Sussex, England (BBC Sound Archive, Bob Copper)
    10. The Boatie Rows — Jessie Murray, Buckie, Banffshire, Scotland (Recorded by Alan Lomax)
    11. Our Ship Is Ready — Robert Cinnamond, Belfast, N. Ireland (Recorded by Seán O'Boyle)
    12. Nancy From Yarmouth — Fred Ling, Blaxhall, Suffolk, England (Recorded by Peter Kennedy)

  • Credits
    • Recorded by Peter Kennedy, Seán O'Boyle, Seamus Ennis,Cyril Tawney, Alan Lomax, Seán Davis, Bob Copper, Philip Donellan & Patrick Shuldham-Shaw
    • Edited by Peter Kennedy & Alan Lomax
    • Musical Notation by Michael Bell
    • Cover by Fritz Eichenberg

Sleeve Notes

Jack Tar and the Women he loved are imortalized in this hearty collection. Recorded in England, Ireland, Wales, the Isles and Scotland.

SAILORMEN AND SERVING MAIDS — a packet of songs and ballads from the British Isles.
The present collection of songs and ballads, put together by Peter Kennedy from his years of field work, makes it patent that every cove along the British coast, every craft that has taken Britons on the sea, has produced its own lore which should be found before it has disappeared. This collection is remarkable for its time depth, ranging from songs of Norse and Hebridean oarsmen through ballads of superstitious medieval sailors to forebiters sung on board the clipper ships in the 19th century. The collection is also unusual in the wide range of its song-types and themes. Pirates, trawlermen, fishwives, whalemen, packet rats, mermen, Irish immigrants, shanghaiers maids, royal marines, sea widows, navymen, Captain Blighs, and sealmen make up this pageant of sea song that all together begins to tell the story of Jack Tar, the legend of the British seafaring man.

We will never have good recording of the chanteys roared out by gangs of seamen at work — the recording machine came too late for that. But, even so, we know a good deal about them — those magnificently simple melodies that capture the feeling of the British seaman at work under sail. John Goss, Richard Terry, Joanna Colcord, Richard Doerflinger, and, most recently, Stanley Hughill, have preserved this oak-ribbed music in a series of volumes.

Before the tides of change have washed all the songs and tales away, a commission of scholars should record and study the sea-folklore of the British Isles.

Alan Lomax

With the publication of this series, the full range of British folksongs can be heard for the first time as performed by authentic folk singers. The records were made in pubs and country cottages in isolated sections of the island. Some of the singers are old, others conform to ancient singing styles which will surprise some listeners; yet, in their performances, folk song lives in all of its subtleties. Print and musical notation cannot convey its flavor. Professional singers bury its charm and its nuances under the weight of their training. The only way in which the ballads of the people can be understood and appreciated properly is by listening to traditional country singers, such as these.

This collection was begun in 1950 by Alan Lomax and Peter Kennedy. Alan Lomax came to Great Britain, after years of field work in the United States as head of the Archive of American Folk Song in the Library of Congress, to find out whether there was a tradition of living folk music connected with the material he had been studying in the United States. His recording tour of Great Britain and Ireland turned up such beautiful material that other collectors were encouraged to begin field work. The principal figure in this group was Peter Kennedy, whose father headed up the English Folk Dance Society and who had already done work of the first importance in collecting and teaching English folk dances. Employed by the BBC, along with Seamus Ennis, and working in collaboration with Hamish Henderson of Scotland, Kennedy and Lomax discovered scores of fine ballad singers and taped thousands of songs. These volumes are samplings of their huge collection.