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Short Sharp Shanties Vol. 2 by John Short


This is the second of the three CDs which record the repertoire of John Short – a.k.a. Yankee Jack – of Watchet, Somerset in England’s West Country, who, in 1914, gave the folk-song collector Cecil Sharp nearly sixty shanties, several in early rare versions. John spent over fifty years working in sailing boats, much of his younger days in deep-water ships, sailing all around the world as a shantyman. He was born in 1839, went to sea with his father when he was nine, went deep sea at eighteen, married and retired from the deep water trade in his mid-thirties, and died at the age of ninety-four, in 1933. Sharp said of him:

“He has the folk-singer’s tenacious memory and… very great musical ability. His voice is rich, resonant and powerful, yet so flexible that he can execute trills, turns and graces with a delicacy and finish that would excite the envy of many a professional artist. Mr. Short has spent more than fifty years in sailing-ships and throughout the greater part of his career was a recognised chanteyman, i.e. the solo-singer who led the chanteys. It would be difficult, I imagine, to find a more experienced exponent of the art of chantey-singing, and I account myself peculiarly fortunate in having made his acquaintance in the course of my investigations and won his generous assistance.”

Sung by: Jim Mageean, Jeff Warner, Keith Kendrick, Jackie Oates, Roger Watson, Sam Lee, Brian Willoughby, Tom Brown, Barbara Brown, Doug Bailey.

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Short Sharp Shanties Vol. 2 album cover
Price: £9.99
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John Short
(Deep Water Shantyman 1839 to 1933)


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