Manly Sea Shanties

Imagine signing aboard a ship and the first question they ask is, "Can you sing"? But singing was an important part of shipboard work in olden times.
Sea Shanties were work songs sung on ships during the age of sail. They were used to keep rhythm during work and make it more pleasant. Because these songs were used to accomplish a goal, rather then for pure entertainment, the lyrics and melody were not very sophisticated. Still, the songs were usually meaningful and told of a sailor’s life, which included backbreaking labor, abuse from captain and crew, alcohol, and longing for girls and dry land.

You can hear ten such shanties, plus bonus movie footage at The Art of Manliness. Link -Thanks, Michal!

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Years ago I was in a production of "Treasure Island".
During the scenes representing the voyage we sang snatches of sea shanties. The rest of the cast threatened to walk out if I joined in. Guess in the old days I would have quickly found myself cast a drift (if I was lucky)
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My manly shanty is the one they sang in Jaws "Show Me The Way To Go Home". It's great to do it especially after a long day and hanging out with friends who are equally tired. Grab some drinks and off you go.
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I’m a huge shanty fan, too, though I generally avoid the more modern versions of these classic songs. I much prefer the low-tech rough edges and raw choruses of the vintage versions from the 40s and 50s.

Some of my favorite albums - with many a song about drinking and wenching, as well as the usual sailing ditties,in order of most fave to least:

Blow Boys Blow by Ewan MacColl & A.L. Lloyd
Whaling & Sailing Songs by Paul Clayton
Shanties & Songs of the Sea by Johnny Collins, Dave Webber & Pete Watkinson

And just for fun, it’s not really a sea shanty album, but has many sailing & buccaneer-inspired songs, Pegleg Tango by Captain Bogg & Salty. You’ll hum or whistle these songs for about the next 6 months. The generally tame pirate references makes this a great kids’ album, too, though any fun-loving, pirate-minded adult will find much to love. “Pull Away Home” is a sweet and beautiful classic that deserves a spot in the hallowed catalog of great sea-faring songs, authentic or not.
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There is a lovely album by Dan Zanes that is entirely made up of historic sea music. And it's called...Sea Music. I highly recommend it (and every other album he's done, too!): http://www.danzanes.com/seamusic/seamusic.shtml
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