William Pint & Felicia Dale

Celebrating the ocean in song

 
HeaRTs of Gold
(1994)
 

When we think of the topics in sailors’ songs, we most often think of women, drinking and shipwrecks but, when a lot of time is spent far away -- home is a subject that quite frequently comes to mind. Quite unintentionally (or at least, unconsciously) we have included a high percentage of sea songs related to the subject of home. Maybe this is due to our extensive travels throughout the United States and England over the last twenty four months. These songs and tunes came to us over the course of those travels. As before, we’ve picked up both traditional and new songs.

Pete Hayselden, England’s Shanty Jack introduced us to London Judies, a song he learned in Sweden from a Polish shantywoman.

We first heard C’est L’Aviron, a French Canadian canoe paddling song, at Jack’s Sea Fever Festival in Hull, England, sung by an American group from the Washington D.C. area, (you can begin to understand that nautical singers are a traveling lot.)

The song deals with an encounter between a beautiful woman and a man who end up at her home drinking to the health of her parents and siblings and “he whom her heart loves the most”.

Another monumental shantyman of Britain, Johnny Collins, introduced us to Sarah Davis and her song Wreckers, with its haunting images of greed, treachery and silence beneath a veneer of civic respectability. Bay of Biscay, traditional but run through the “folk processor” to suit our fancies, looks at the ghostly homecoming of a drowned sailor after seven years lost at sea.

Mary Benson’s Sail Away provides a different point of view to the sailor’s travels as well as an opportunity for some improvisational vocal harmonies in a multi-track studio environment.

The coming of the railroads helped to bring an end to the age of sail so The Wreck of the Lady Washington could be seen as an allegory of sorts. The lyrics were written by Micki Perry of Eastern Washington, with apologies to the Greenland Whale Fishery.

The ship in question, a replica of a ship that first explored Puget Sound, was built in Grays Harbor, Washington and sailed up the Columbia river to the desert-like Eastern region of the state to “boldly go” where no tall ship had gone before. On her ill-fated voyage from Pasco to Umatilla, she discovered that she should have stayed at home.

The Atholl Highlanders is a well loved bagpipe tune from Scotland pressed into service as a hurdy-gurdy showcase.

A couple of these pieces began as poems. Companioned by the Sea came to us by way of Virginia's Bob Zentz who is also a fan of, as he puts it, “poetical nauticalia”. Russ Godfrey of Victoria B.C., sent us Homeward Bound which celebrates the joys of seagoing life. He found it in a book of verse published in 1877 grandly titled Poems, Songs, and Ballads of the Sea and Celebrated Discoverers, Battles, Ship-wrecks, and Incidents Illustrative of Life on the Ocean Wave. We combined it with The Rolling Wave, a tune we first heard from Philip and Pam Boulding of Magical Strings.

Tony Goodenough wrote the Pump Shanty and, with The Shanty Crew, recorded a far more traditional sounding version on their Stand to Your Ground album. We combined it with John Kirkpatrick’s popular dance tune, Jump at the Sun just because it seemed like a good idea at the time. Also from the singing of The Shanty Crew, Hob Y Derri Dando is one of the few shanties that we've run across of Welsh origin. The chorus has been partly Anglicized. In true folk tradition, we've added a verse of our own invention.

The West Indian sea shanty The Essaquibo River has been recorded a number of times, but great liberties have been taken with it here in a effort to explore some of the African rhythms that played such a great role in the sea shanty tradition. Sailor Jack felt that living and working on the sea was superior to any land locked lifestyle, yet he could not help but envy the comforts available to the land dweller. Hearts of Gold was collected by Gale Huntington, who found the words in an 1832 journal of the Salem whale ship Bengal. We collected it from the singing of our good friend and endless font of information, Stuart M. Frank. It sums up perfectly the conflicting feelings and emotions of those who risked their lives daily while “lesser men” stayed at home enjoying a softer life. (Songs are traditional except where noted.)

Hearts of Gold
C'est L'Aviron
Pump Shanty/Jump at the Sun
Companioned By the Sea
London Julies
The Wreck of the Lady Washington
The Rolling Wave/
Homeward Bound
Hob Y Derri Dando
The Wreckers
Bay of Biscay
Sail Away
The Essaquibo River
The Atholl Highlanders

“...a celebration of talent and musicianship.”

Rock‘n’Reel Magazine, England

“...this excellent album reminds me of the fine Barry and Robin Dransfield LPs of the 1970s.

Highly recommended.”

A.R., Dirty Linen Magazine

“William Pint and Felicia Dale

take sea music to places it’s

never been.

I’d take the trip with them anytime.”

Dwight Thurston, The Canton Voice

This remains one of our favorite albums and the one we most often recommend to people unfamiliar with our work. Some great songs of the sea here with a wide range of topics, emotions, and points of view. Lots of hurdy-gurdy energy and excitement.

Felicia Dale vocals, hurdy-gurdy, whistles; keyboards on Hearts of Gold
William Pint vocals, acoustic guitar, mandola, cittern; keyboards on Atholl Highlanders; bodhran on London Julies.
John Peekstok keyboards, bass guitar; cittern on Pump Shanty
Anna Peekstok didgeridoo
Tania Opland violin
Sean Sharp doumbek, bodhran, tambourine
Jarrod Kaplan djembe, doumbek, marraccas, acasa, ankle bells on Essakeeba River and Jump at the Sun
Adrienne Robineau conga on Essakeeba River


Produced by William Pint & Felicia Dale
Recorded at
OMB Studios, Port Orchard, WA., Engineered by Rob Folsom
Cover art by
Pint & Dale,
Photo by
Capt. E. L. Dale (Ret.)
Graphic design by
Adrienne Robineau
Waterbug Records WBG 0008 ©1994 William Pint & Felicia Dale


Thanks to:
Annette Brigham for making it possible,
Adrienne Robineau for saving our butts again with her magic computer,
Rob Folsom for his great ears and big heart,

We simply couldn't continue making music or even survive without CD and tape sales.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!