Jim Lawton of Tykes News
reviews Short Sharp Shanties Vol. 3 by Collected from John ShortThis is the last volume in Tom & Barbara Brown's project to bring the entire shanty repertoire of John Short of Watchet, as collected by Cecil Sharp in 1914, to the public. Once again we have a wonderful selection of shanties, combining the authenticity of Short's source material, fleshed out where necessary, with the freshness of arrangement and delivery created by some of the most solid and competent singers you could wish to find .
The titles on this CD seem to fall a little more into familiar territory than perhaps those on the previous albums did, but you shouldn't draw any conclusions from this. Each track has novel features which in some cases almost create a new song, as in "Bully In The Alley", and in others because the lead singer's voice (Jackie Oates on "Hog eyed Man") or the backing harmonies ("Old Stormey") create new and irresistible "hooks". My experience of this CD has been, first to stumble slightly as expected familiarities of rhythm, tempo or narrative aren't fulfilled, and then to appreciate what has been done, and finally to feel the onset of new addictions.
So this is not only a special treat for anyone with an interest in shanties and sea songs but, because of the variety of brilliant singing and arrangements, both robust and sensitive and sometimes at the same time, this should appeal to everyone who enjoys the human voice raised in song.
So congratulations to Tom and Barbara Brown for bringing the project to a successful conclusion, and to the other artists Jim Mageean, Jeff Warner, Keith Kendrick, Jackie Oates, Roger Watson, Sam Lee, Brian Willoughby and Doug Bailey for creating something outstanding.
For more information on the project, the songs, and the artists, go to