The Barbary Ghosts | The Ghost of the William Grey

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Folk: Sea Shanties Folk: Drinking Songs Moods: Mood: Fun
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The Ghost of the William Grey

by The Barbary Ghosts

From the cold waters of San Francisco, armed with guitar, button accordion, and fiddle, this band rocks classic ship-born songs of booze, women, whales, and the deep blue sea.
Genre: Folk: Sea Shanties
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Boozin'
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2:57 $0.99
2. Bully in the Alley
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1:48 $0.99
3. The Ghost of the William Grey
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3:49 $0.99
4. Home Boys Home
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3:53 $0.99
5. Old Maui
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4:23 $0.99
6. Girls Around Cape Horn
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3:48 $0.99
7. Five Gallon Jar
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5:04 $0.99
8. Shoals of Herring
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3:29 $0.99
9. Lyla's Song
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2:31 $0.99
10. Rio Grande
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3:40 $0.99
11. Hog Eye Man
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1:54 $0.99
12. Potato Patch/Quare Bungle Rye
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4:32 $0.99
13. Mingulay Boat Song
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3:33 $0.99
Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.


Album Notes
Three years ago, two young sailors found themselves awash on the wind-beaten shores of San Francisco. With no money or food, they wandered about the streets and bars of that city singing songs of love, lust, mutiny, hardship and death on the high seas playing for tips and handouts. And while traditionalists called them “just a couple of odd-mouthers who moon with microphones,” others could feel the excitement of journey and the rocking of the old ships in the songs they sang. Armed with button accordion and guitar, they became known for their rowdy bar room tunes, sweet harmonies, and sad, salty ballads. Then, in the depths of a train-station depot the duo teamed up with wandering fiddler Jason Williams and went into the studio to record their first album, “The Ghost of the William Grey,” a tribute to the town they had come to love and the songs that had taken them there.

The name and title track of the Ghosts's new album was
inspired by the story of the White Angel Jungle and the William Grey, a ship buried underneath. If you take a walk to the corner of Battery and Embarcadero streets in San Francisco, now Levi's Plaza, you'll find a small memorial paying tribute to this amazing story. The White Angel Jungle was a place reserved for the down and out of 1930's San Francisco- part soup kitchen, part refuge- you could get a hot meal, wash your clothes, and most importantly have an ear lent to your troubles by the larger than life woman who ran it all, Lois Jordan. For the many who came west for the promising new start of San Francisco only to find dejection and hard times, the Jungle was a godsend.
The William Grey, an old 285-ton, three-masted, full-rigged sailing ship from the days of the gold rush, was buried beneath that spot, and was discovered in late April 1978, during excavation for Levi's Plaza. The vessel was estimated to be about 100 feet in length and 30 feet abeam. Archaeological excavations, financed in part by Levi Strauss, were conducted in late 1979 and early 1980. Although plans were drawn for a visitor's exhibition of the ship, they never materialized, and she still lies beneath the plaza. All this history, now so inconspicuous in the hustle and bustle of modern day San Francisco, fascinated the Ghosts, and it was just begging to become the subject of a song. The rest, as they say, is history...


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Appalachian chantey band
This is one of my favorite "sea chantey" albums, and I have more than a few. These guys sound kind of like a chantey band transplanted to Appalachia or something. That's not a bad thing, and it's tremendous fun! It isn't just me: I gave one of these CDs as a gift to a friend who informed me that he kept it on almost constant repeat for three days. Just listen to the sample of track 8: if you like that, rest assured you will enjoy the entire album.