For all who love the novels of Patrick O'Brian, and C.S. Forester, and Frederick Maryatt, or who enjoy the history of the Royal Navy in the early 19th Century - this is one CD you must listen to. It is a collection of traditional British sailor songs from that era, with an emphasis on the music of the lower-deck hands who manned the guns, worked the sails and did their duty at the battle of Trafalgar.
Here you'll find chestnuts such as "Spanish Ladies" and "Don't Forget Your Old Shipmate" (both featured in the movie "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World") alongside rarities like "A Jolly Sailor's True Description of a Man-of-War" and "The Battle of the Nile". You'll also hear fiddle tunes used to help the work along and to accompany shipboard dancing. All that's needed to transport you to the forecastle of a frigate is a tot of grog and a ration of salt beef.
Many of the tracks are recordings of songs that author Patrick O'Brian - famous for his twenty-volume series of novels about the Nelson-era careers of Captain Jack Aubrey and surgeon Stephen Maturin, and revered for his meticulous research of the period - cites in his books. If you've read the books and wondered what "Heart of Oak" and "Nancy Dawson" sound like, this is the CD for you. Also included are a number of songs that haven't been sung for over a hundred years; the tunes have been lost for decades. But renowned sea musician Jerry Bryant has researched ancient melodies for these orphaned lyrics, bringing to life again songs that were doubtless sung on ships like the HMS Victory.
Jerry Bryant is a native of the State of Maine who for the last 30 years has performed folk music all over the United States. His repertoire includes hundreds of traditional and contemporary folk songs, with a particular interest in the music of sailors. Jerry enjoys giving people a glimpse of our maritime heritage through the songs he presents. He carefully researches the material, so that his performances are not only full of good music but are peppered with historical insights as well.
Jerry has been featured in the San Francisco National Maritime Historic Park's sea music concert series, Mystic Seaport Museum's annual Sea Music Festival, South Street Seaport in New York, and many others. His recording "The Ballad of Harbo and Samuelsen" showcases old and new songs. He can also can be heard on the Mystic Seaport CD "American Sea Chanteys", and on "Contentment" by Rick Spencer. " Roast Beef of Old England" is his latest release, which features his singing and instrumental work along with his crew of singers and musicians, The Starboard Mess.
So pour yourself a dram of purser's rum, help yourself to a slice of double-shotted plum duff, and prepare to dance the hornpipe to one of the most authentic collections of songs and tunes from the days of England's "wooden walls".