William Pint & Felicia Dale

Celebrating the ocean in song



Two of these songs came to us by way of our good friend, musician and song writer Bob Zentz. The first is another poem from the works of our favorite writer of poetical nauticalia C. Fox Smith is The Tryphina’s Extra Hand. We heard Bob do a version of this in Norfolk, Virginia. Bob has a more cheerful melody that worked great on the concertina - I couldn’t find a way to do it on the guitar. Halloween was coming however, so we set it in a minor key and turned it into a spookier sounding piece. The other is The Beaches of Lukannon. Bob wrote the tune for the poem that opens The White Seal in Rudyard Kipling’s classic, The Jungle Book. The story tells of the seal who, by leading them to a secret hidden beach, saves his kind from the seal hunters. “Guvaruska” is Russian for sea gull, or so we've been told.

Ruchenitsa comes from our pal John Peekstok of the group Telynor. He wrote it by accident (an honored aspect of the folk tradition) while trying to recall a Stanley Greenthall tune he had heard. When he checked back to the original he discovered that he had ‘remembered’ a completely different melody. We took it, chopped it up and rearranged it -- not quite beyond recognition.

From the docks of New Orleans comes Sugar in the Hold, a cargo loading work song. It’s been in the repertoire of Seattle shanty singing crowd ever since William’s old singing partner Marc Bridgham introduced it there years ago. A more traditional version can be found on the Victory Sings at Sea recording, The Curse of the Somers. We like to do this in coffeehouses and get people to pile up those little packets of sugar pretending they’re hundred pound sacks.

Yet another very cinematic C. Fox Smith poem. The Blue Peter refers to the signal flag that is flown to recall the crew to a ship for imminent departure. We love the images brought up of silent ships slipping through the water in the pre-dawn hours.

In The Bay of Biscay on Hearts of Gold, the returning sailor was, unfortunately, dead. John Riley is a cheerier example of the Returning Sailor song. Young John, returning from seven rough years at sea is unrecognizable even to his sweetheart. He takes the opportunity to test her love with a few questions and finds her ever faithful. We had never heard this song before we found it in a book, but, since we started to sing it we discovered that there are a number of different recorded versions out there. Well - Here’s another. Hope you like ours.

We tinkered with this one quite a bit. Come Down to Hilo was originally the capstan shanty, Johnny Come Down to Hilo. we put a very different spin on it one day for a “song arranging” workshop we were giving at a folk festival. The usual shanty rhythm is sacrificed for a closer look at the lyrics and the feelings behind them. “Hilo” is a corruption of the name “Ilo”, a port city in Peru. Stan Hugill told us that the old sailors preferred to sing the long I sound rather than the short i or the E sound in their shanties, thus the song, Rio Grande, is not pronounced in the Spanish style “ree-oh gran-day”, but “rye-oh grand” and “EE-low” became “High- low”. This town was also known as a major party town and “going on the Hilo” was also a term for a fun-filled drunken spree. But to get there, Jack Tar had to survive a trip round the corner...

The corner referred to in Round the Corner Sally is the treacherous Cape Horn. Many, many songs exist about the dangers involved and the pleasures that awaited the sailor who survived the passage. We’ve indulged in some rock and roll fun in this version.

The same is true of The Sailboat Malarky a song we heard from Portland, Oregon Shanty singer Mary Benson, who’s been singing it for years. We just couldn't resist rocking out with it just a little bit... okay, a lot.

Marguerite is a song from the Channel Islands. We found a very different version of it while browsing through the Kennedy Collection of British Isles Folksongs. This arrangement grew from experimentation with MIDI files, composition and music software. The traditional Irish jig, McHugh’s came to us through a curious series of cartoon books, Stuntology and Tuneology by Sam Bartlett of Indiana.

One of the oldest known hauling shanties according to the late, great Stan Hugill, Haul on the Bowline dates back to the time when a bowline was an important line on a ship, not just a knot from the Boy Scout Handbook.

Round the corner
John Riley
Come Down to Hilo
Marguerite/McHugh’s Jig
Round the Corner Sally
The Beaches of Lukannon
Sugar in the Hold
The Tryphina’s Extra Hand
Haul on the Bowline
The Sailboat Malarkey
Blue Peter

Felicia Dale: hurdy-gurdy, whistles, vocals
William Pint: acoustic/electric guitars, mandola, mandolin, vocals.

and special guests:
Jarrod Kaplan: percussion on Ruchenitsa, John Riley
Tania Opland: violin, and harmony vocals on The Beaches of Lukannon, violin on Ruchenitsa and Marguerite
John Peekstok: Keyboards on Sugar in the Hold, The Tryphina's Extra Hand
Anna Peekstok: digeridoo on Round the Corner Sally
Nancy Wharton: ‘cello on Blue Peter, The Beaches of Lukannon, Come Down to Hilo.
Curtis Lloyd: Kit Drums on Round the Corner, Sailboat Malarkey, Sugar in the Hold
David Pascal: bass guitar on John Riley, Sugar in the Hold, Sailboat Malarkey.
Sean Sharp: Percussion on Come Down to Hilo
Mike Freeman: Percussion on Marguerite and Come Down to Hilo.

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

produced by W.Pint and F. Dale

engineered by Jim “Faders” Bachman and Alicia Healey

graphics and layout by
Adrienne Robineau

BIG THANKS department:
Alicia for stepping in to help, and Jim for letting her.
Andrew Calhoun at Waterbug for continuing to roll boulders up music biz hill.
Annette Brigham for continued support in all our musical endeavors.

"...stands all your preconceptions of

nautical song on its head.

A surprising folk-rock record of the first calibre."


Lee Blackstone's Best of 1997

More gems mined from the sea. This time several of the songs come from our good friend Bob Zentz. There are shanties, bits of Rock and Roll tossed in for fun, some heartfelt songs and tales of adventure, ghostly sailors and a few dance tunes as well.