Sea Chanteys

Sea chanteys were an integral part of life at sea. Just as soldier marched to song, sailors used songs to regulate their work. Pulling and hauling on ropes, working at the capstan, etc., had chanteys fitted to the pace and type of work being carried out. Chanteys went through a brief popularity in the 1970s which probably peaked when Country Joe MacDonald (of Woodstock and the Fish Cheer fame) released Save The Whales.

The clip above from the 1956 movie, Moby Dick, and from the notes”

This scene contains two chanteys (shanties). The first is “Blood Red Roses,” which is being used to haul up a tops’l yard. Then we hear “Heave Away My Johnnies,” being used for the old fashioned spoke windlass to warp the ship out of the dock.

Below is Tommy Makem and Liam Clancy performing Haul Away, Joe, a chantey in the mode of Blood Red Roses.

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Filed under Age of Sail, Naval Life

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