Various: Rogue's Gallery (Anti/Shock)

 |   |  1 min read

Loudon Wainwright III: Good Ship Venus
Various: Rogue's Gallery (Anti/Shock)

Believe it or not, when I was a kid my dad -- who had spent time at sea and was never happier than when on a ship -- not only played my Beatles and his Louis Armstrong albums with equal enjoyment, but would often bang on a Burl Ives album of sea shanties.

My younger sister and I grew up to the sound of him singing, "My father was the keeper of the Edison Light, he slept with a mermaid one fine night . . ."

So . . .

This collection of sea shanties is co-produced by those well known blackguards Johnny Depp and director of Pirates of the Caribbean II Gore Verbinski, and is overseen by Hal Wilner who has done a similar job on a number of similar projects (notably the Disney and Thelonious Monk tributes).

And it boasts a star-studded line-up of swarthy shipmates: Nick Cave, Bryan Ferry (?), folkie Martin Carthy, Ed Harcourt, Stan Ridgway, Sting, Jolie Holland, Lou Reed finding his sea legs, Lucinda Williams, Bono, Rufus Wainwright, his dad Loudon (who does the notorious Good Ship Venus), and many many more over two discs of salty tales, traditional songs, fishermen's blues, seamen's laments and so on.

On paper that sounds awful and you could be a little cynical about such a collision of celebrities.

But there are some wonderful performances and songs here, among them One Spring Morning by Akron/Family (never heard of them); Martin Carthy on Hog-Eye Man, Ed Harcourt with Farewell Nancy . . .

In fact so many that this is much more interesting and worthy than you might expect.

Dark stuff too.

My dad -- and Burl Ives -- wouldn't have liked it much however.

Share It

Your Comments

Gavin Hancock - Dec 13, 2011

Sting and Bono doing sea shanties? "Ohhhh narrrrrr"

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Various Artists: Follow Me Down; Vanguard's Lost Psychedelic Era 1966-70 (Vanguard/Border)

Various Artists: Follow Me Down; Vanguard's Lost Psychedelic Era 1966-70 (Vanguard/Border)

Fact is, if  -- as the cover title suggests -- the psychedelic era was "lost" to anyone during the four/five years on this collection, it wasn't to the label's tripped-out... > Read more

Golden Kanine: Oh Woe! (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

Golden Kanine: Oh Woe! (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

There seems to be an interesting musical culture in Sweden which every now and again appears on the scanners of the rest of the world. In the pop world we can see a lineage between the Wannadies... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Luther Allison: Songs From the Road (Ruf/Yellow Eye)

Luther Allison: Songs From the Road (Ruf/Yellow Eye)

It's a peculiar thing, but the music which gave the world rock'n'roll and rock as we know it -- the blues, in case you missed the connection -- seems utterly marginalised in the media. Even... > Read more

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Le Trio Joubran: Majaz (Jawwal/Ode)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Le Trio Joubran: Majaz (Jawwal/Ode)

They may look like those agency-groomed opera singers you see on the back of buses -- immaculately trimmed stubble, tuxedos with ties hanging loose, brooding good looks and sultry come-hither eyes... > Read more