William Pint & Felicia Dale

Celebrating the ocean in song

White horses


In our view, one sign of an exceptional song or tune is its ability to be played in a variety of styles and approaches while maintaining its inherent quality. Many classical themes have withstood the translation into pop songs or rock music, and ethnic folk melodies have been turning up in classical music for many years. We have taken songs and tunes that we like and given them a twist in our own direction.

Cape Cod Girls was a traditional sea shanty until we ran across the friendly little guitar run that became a new melody for this toast to the ladies of the Cape.Keep in mind that cod fish used to weigh in at a hundred pounds or more so maybe sliding down hills on their heads isn't as impossible as it sounds today.

I learned
Davy Lowston years ago from the singing of Martin Carthy who told me he got it from Bert Lloyd. We were inspired to resurrect it after reading of Shackleton's expedition to the South Pole which mentions Port Stanley and paints a fearsome portrait of the kind of fate these doomed seal hunters suffered.

Jack, the Jolly Tar was heard from Keith Kendrick, a fine singer/concertina player we met at the Four Fools Festival in England. We wonder about the merchant's daughter who couldn't tell the difference between the squire and dirty, smelly ol' Jack just because the lights were out. Hmmm.

Janie Meneely of Maryland wrote
Twiddles in answer to the age old unasked question about Sailor Jack and his 'girl in every port'.

From the singing of our friend, the great Louis Killen,
Bring ‘em Down tells of life and treatment around the dreaded Cape Horn.

“Rock ‘n’ roll me over boys” was heard over the ocean waves long before Alan Freed, Elvis and the rest of them came along on the radio waves. We couldn't resist “restoring”
One More Day with bass, drums and a rockin’ hurdy-gurdy.

The Humors of Ballyconnell and Tom of the Mountains are two hornpipes - a dance traditionally connected to the sailor but found in many Irish fiddle tune collections. These came to us from Philip and Pam Boulding of Magical Strings.

Johnny Todd, usually a jolly squeezebox tune, turned more sentimental while messing with our piano one day.The theme of parted lovers can be found in many sailor songs.

We came across various versions of the whaleboat rowing shanty,
Pique la Baleine in books, but none took hold until we heard the French group Les Souillés de Fond de Cale sing it at the great Strontrace Festival in Friesland and knew we had to work up our own version. How can you miss with a chorus like “Ooh la la”? The other chorus means “Strike the whale, oh handsome whaleman, Strike the whale I will handle the boat”. If you wish to translate it differently - “Photograph the whale, oh happy whalewatcher...” that's alright with us.We added an An Dro from Polig Monjarret's Big Green Book of 3,000 Breton tunes, Musique Populaire de Basse Bretagne.

While looking through Brian Bedford's huge notebook of yet-to-be-arranged
Artisan songs one evening in Yorkshire, Felicia’s eye was caught by her favorite word ‘horse’ in White Horses are Calling Me. Brian gets motion sickness from boats, cars, planes etc. so his idea of a good sea song is where you stay safe and still in bed and dream about going to sea. This song has some lovely dreamscape imagery. In 2000 we were on tour when we received an urgent e mail from a person whose best friend was in the last stages of her fight with cancer. Her friend had heard White Horses at a performance and had been so moved by the song that she wanted to hear it again and have it played for her memorial service. We made a copy and sent it to her. The experience changed the song for us, adding a new layer of meaning to Brian’s lyrics.

The tune Metal Man is dedicated to the statue of a sailor at the mechanized lighthouse of Rosses Point, at the entrance to Sligo Harbour in Ireland. He stands twelve foot high and weighs seven tons.

The shanty
Across the Western Ocean dates from the great wave of immigration to the U.S. in the 19th Century. It’s said that certain packet ship operators would load all the worldly possessions of immigrants onto their ships and then advise the passengers to leave the docks to find one last decent meal before the ship's departure. The ship would then set sail without them and keep their goods. Another version of this song can also be found on the Victory Sings at Sea album through Victory Music.

Leave Her Johnny is the traditional ending for most every sea shanty festival we’ve ever been to. This version is slightly less traditional. However, keep in mind that the moment you take a shanty off the deck of a ship and sing it without hauling, heaving or doing some other work, it ceases to be traditional. After that it’s just a matter of degree. So think of this as a drum kit playing shanty, or an electric guitar shanty, okay?

Last, and just possibly least,
The Sea is exactly the sort of unmitigated silliness one might expect from Brian Leo, a wonderfully crazed songwriter living in the Chicago suburbs a thousand miles from the nearest salt water. Brian and his wife Diane form the comedy music duo Molly and the Tinker at the Bristol Renaissance Faire in Wisconsin.

Thanks for listening!

Cape Cod Girls
Davy Lowston
Jack the Jolly Tar
Bring 'em Down
One More Day
Humors of Ballyconnell/
Tom of the Mountains
Johnny Todd
Pique la Baleine/An Dro
Metal Man/White Horses (are calling me)
Across the Western Ocean
Leave Her Johnny
The Sea 

Our 2001 sea odyssey

Brian Bedford's beautiful song White Horses became one of our most frequently requested songs.

Once again - lots of hurdy-gurdy, fun and adventure!

"...some of the best saltwater music you can find."

-Tom Nelligan (Waltham, MA)

Dirty Linen magazine


William Pint: vocals, guitars, mandolins, keyboards (electric and toy)

Felicia Dale: vocals, hurdy-gurdy, whistles, bodhran

Nancy Wharton: 'cello

Matt Eggleston: electric bass

Dalton Davis: drums

Sincere thanks goes out to our family and friends for their continued support of our music.

All titles traditional arranged by Pint & Dale, except Twiddles by Janie Meneely, White Horses, by Brian Bedford, and The Sea by Brian Leo.

Recorded, mixed and mastered at JB Productions, Bellevue, WA

Engineered by Jim (Silver Sewerpipe) Bachman and Jason (Cabin Boy) Brinkley

Cover art: William Pint

Layout: Adrienne Robineau

Back cover photo (well -- one tiny little part of it): Sheryl Belcher

Produced by Pint & Dale

Production assistance by Ranzo P. Cephalus, esq.