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For one momentous year, Tom was joined by two excellent musicians and singers: Felicia Dale and William Pint ... who is also an inventive music arranger.
"Thoroughly entertaining ... brimming with robustly
resonant harmonies and songs, by turns traditional and
contemporary, thoughtful and whimsical."
— Mike Joyce, The Washington Post
Making full use of Pint and Dale's talents, this album features a repertoire from sources as diverse as Rudyard Kipling and John Tams: of "Sharpe's Rifles" fame.
Click on to listen to a sample of the song. Click on the song title to see the lyrics.
- Rolling Down to Rio Kipling's poignant observation: so many places ... so little time!
- The Anchor Song ... closely followed by his dramatic observations on the outset of a (18th century? 17th?) merchant ship's voyage from England.
- Sou' Spain ... and this evocative setting of one of Cicely Fox Smith's poems might have been that ship's destination?
- March of the King of Laois Felicia's hurdy-gurdy gives this traditional melody a distinct "Celtic" feel.
- Herzogin Cecile Southampton's Ken Stevens encapsulated the (1936) loss of a record-breaking, 4-masted barque, in this thrilling song.
- Congo River A halyard (halliard)-shanty contemporaneous to the infamous era of the "Slave Trade", which, at that time, was often referred to by the (slightly) less unsavoury appellation of ...
- The African Trade The writing of this cri de coeur was occasioned by a visit to Liverpool Docks, one of the focal points of an odious traffic.
- The Whale Author, composer, performer, researcher: (Dr.) Stuart Frank, erstwhile Director of the Kendall Whaling Museum; later Senior Curator at New Bedford Whaling Museum; has - amongst a host of subjects - an encyclopaedic knowledge of cetations.
- Ex-Sailor's Life Departing a 24-year naval career in 1983, Tom felt qualified to comment upon this subject ... with a rousing, and heartfelt, chorus.
- Catherine Scots expatriate (now Canadian) piper: Neil Dickie wrote this tune; naming it for his daughter.
- La Paimpolaise On singing a rendition of this traditional Breton sea song (actually in Paimpol!), Tom was gently corrected that: "This is not a happy song. When singing it, you should emulate Edith Piaf." He was suitably chastened.
- Swallow the Anchor It's probably common in any 'service' environment, but in the R.N. nicknames are ubiquitous. Ignorance of shipmate's actual, baptismal, name is no indication of unfamiliarity or lack of caring.
- Pull Down Lads A true 'renaissance man of folk music': John Tams deftly conveys the dichotomy inherent in any departure, however heart-rending ... there's a destination upcoming.