Demand Performance (a double album - 118 minutes of story & song)    

Self-Propelled Music ASM107D (2020)

Physical CD price: €12 plus shipping from Ireland. Please contact Tom for full cost.

Purchase this as a digital download from Bandcamp.

Over the years, I have had many requests for ‘the stories’ with which I introduce/accompany/interrupt much of my stage repertoire. I have tended to resist these blandishments; on the grounds that stories do not bear the same repeated listening, more easily borne by songs. This album is a capitulation to the desires of those supplicants. I accept responsibility for it … but with considerable trepidation! Thus the first CD comprises seven tracks (recorded at live performances at Mystic Seaport & Northwest Seaport) including their lengthy introductions. The second CD (recorded in studio) is a selection of some of my favorite songs that haven't yet made it onto any of my recordings.

Click on listen to sample to listen to a sample of the song. Click on the song title to see the lyrics.

CD One (LIVE) - All Tracks Have Extensive Introductions/Interruptions

  1. listen to sample Last Shanty - Tom Lewis  
  2. The first time this was sung at the Annual Mystic Seaport Festival; was by my dear friends Johnny Collins and Jim Mageean. They made me famous … well … they made the song quite popular, amongst a very small percentage of humanity. I can never thank them enough!

  3. listen to sample If I Had A Boat - Lyle Lovett 
  4. Competition is fierce, for any song which can be, even vaguely, defined as a ‘sea-shanty’.  Lyle Lovett will never get rich on the paltry royalties which my performances and recordings will bring to him. I do know, however, that he is aware of my use of his iconic song; ‘though I don’t know if realises what I have done to it. Thanks, Lyle!

  5. listen to sample Bully In The Alley - Traditional 
  6. I really did have this conversation with Stan; which I regard as privilege, granted to few. Stan Hugill … where would we be without him?

  7. listen to sample The East Indiaman - Traditional 
  8. From the singing (of course … once again) of Johnny Collins; who credited Keith Kendrick’s research into the pamphlet: SINGING TOGETHER - BBC Broadcasts to Schools.

    Singing Together        Singing Together2

  1. listen to sample One Big Ocean - Tom Lewis  
  2. A lesson – to me, at least - in the evolution of a song; from the almost forgotten, initial experience; to the ‘light-bulb moment’. One of the strings to the bow of the lowly-paid folksinger, is working in schools; often Primary/Elementary Schools. These gigs can be the most intimidating, but also – if you’re lucky – occasionally, the most rewarding, on those occasions when you become aware that one of the youngsters ‘gets it’. To be involved with a bright young mind; in a moment of discovery; is priceless! I cannot; at this remove; remember the school, but I do remember that my ‘light-bulb moment’ was at Cornell University, in Ithaca, New York.

  3. listen to sampleAll At Sea - Tom Lewis 
  4. It would be too disparaging to refer to any of the wonderful gentlemen, around whom this song is constructed, as ‘wannabe’ sailors. They were all; almost without exception; enthusiastic dreamers. It was my great privilege to meet every one of them. It is always a thrill – on the rare occasions it happens – to have a songwriter one admires, pick up a song you have written. Mick Ryan has recorded this, and his playing partner: Paul Downes includes it in his ‘solo repertoire’. Praise, indeed!

  5. listen to sampleBunts - Tom Lewis
  6. Bunts … ah, yes … Bunts.
    A loveable little rogue, with a self-image far in excess of his quite diminutive stature, or his total lack of pedigree. Nowadays some of his care (treatment?) would, probably, be regarded as abuse; ‘though he was universally revered, and cared for in the same manner as any other messmate or shipmate. Whilst he was exercised as much and as often as practicable, and apparently quite healthy; it was probably the fault of Striker’s crew that he was an ‘old sot’! He never refused any offering of either beer or grog, but his perpetually genial demeanour, and the appreciative welcome he received at every turn made us all feel that he was living a happy life.
    Whilst the story of the dog’s court-martial is essentially as it happened, I have always reproved myself for not checking the local papers on the following days. There were certainly enough media people at ‘the scene of the crime’, to report something!!! True to the traditional life of a sailor; we – and Bunts – departed the vicinity before any possibility of ‘blow-back’ might arrive …in the form of puppies.

    (Note … A rating of the Communications Branch would be a Signals Rating: a ‘Signaller’. In real life he would be referred to as: a ‘Bunting Tosser’; and addressed as: ‘Bunts’!)

  1. listen to sampleCollier Brig - Traditional One of Bob Roberts’ ‘signature’ songs; I originally
    Demand CD Sit
    learned this from Johnny Collins, whilst we were both stationed in Singapore.I was privileged to get to know, in a small way, (Captain of the sprits’l barge: Cambrian) Bob Roberts; during his retirement on the Isle of Wight. His singing of this song, would occasion many a long and humorous story. Our canal-boat meanderings, one day found us in Keadby (North Lincolnshire). Nothing to report!

  2. listen to sampleClancy of The Overflow - Andrew Barton 'Banjo' Patterson/Tony Latimer Our old, Australian friend: Tony Latimer – along with his intrepid ‘first-mate’: Patsy – is sailing the wooden schooner he designed and built: FORBES & CAMERON; on an endless adventure. Before they left Canada, Tony recorded this ‘Banjo’ Patterson poem, to his own melody. It isn’t piracy, if I pay him royalties!

  3. listen to samplePrinces In The Line - Tom Lewis Having been incensed by statistics published in Michael Moore's film: Fahrenheit 9/11; I noted the paucity of the surnames: 'Blair' and 'Bush', in the (illegal) invasion of Iraq. Nearly all modern conflicts are ‘Capitalist Wars’. At least in days of yore, the interested parties fought personally; or had their offspring do so. It’s called: ‘having skin in the game’.

  4. listen to sampleFree In The Harbour - Stan Rogers At the time, I doubt Stan was contemplating the global environment.... just the irony. Stan’s Mum and Dad (Al and Val/’Chick’ Rogers) regaled me with the background of this song; over a good deal of gin-and-tonic … whilst playing bridge. The juxtaposition of two, weirdly different aspects of ‘the oil industry’, is ironic.

  5. listen to sampleReach For The Gin - Mike Sparks Mike was a wonderful songwriter with a wicked sense of humour! He accurately skewers ‘weekend sailors’ in this ditty. Good folks that they are, those weekend sailors are quick to laugh at themselves, and join the chorus.

  6. listen to sampleThrow Out The Lifeline - Reverend Edward Smith Ufford For whatever reason, my mother had a copy of Moody & Sankey’s hymnal of songs for a Seamen’s Bethel. My singing compatriots and I - in LONG FELT WANT (R.I.P.) – were ‘wont’ to substitute beer-mats for lifelines. Audiences would return them to us, with vigour!

  7. listen to sampleEddie Baker – John Kirkpatrick I first heard this song - written after reading a newspaper account of a mishap with a local tractor – when John was the guest artist at the Black Dog Folk Club, in Havant, circa 1969. John claimed that this song originated from a story in a newspaper. Somewhere around, I still have the cartoon-strip lyrics; which John would sell at his gigs.

  8. listen to sampleTiffy Song – Tom Lewis  I was a tiffy – the vernacular for an artificer – someone who not only makes things, but makes the tools required so to do. Cyril Tawney and I were both ‘tiffies’. He was an Electrical Artificer; whilst I was an Engineering (Outside Trades) Artificer. Tiffies were much revered by lower forms of naval life!!! (W. Shakespeare. King John. Act 4, Scene 2.)

  9. listen to sampleIdlers & Skivers – Keith Marsden Having; from a very early age; taken an interest in politics, I now find myself disenchanted with the results of our democratic system. Our ruling class are quick to decry the ‘politics of envy’ … distaining to pronounce upon the ‘politics of greed and entitlement’.

  10. listen to sample Trip Through Holyhead – Kieran Halpin Kieran chose to set this haunting ballad in 1953 “Fifty-three, and the factory’s closing … ”. That is with the year my own mother resettled my sister and I, from Belfast to Gloucester. (She was following yet another worthless man!)

  11. listen to sample The Minstrel – Alan Bell A meeting, and conversation, Alan Bell had with Sam Sherry – the last performing member of ‘The Five Sherry Brothers’ – was the inception of this paean to troubadours … always and everywhere. Farewell Alan!