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A Shanty For Singing

by Tom Lewis

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ALL MONIES RAISED BY PURCHASES OF THIS SONG WILL BE DONATED TO THE CHARITY: GAVI, THE VACCINE ALLIANCE; WHICH HELPS VACCINATE ALMOST HALF THE WORLD’S CHILDREN AGAINST SERIOUS DISEASES.

To celebrate my seventy-eighth birthday (and encouraged by the phenomenal success of Nathan Evans’ version of The Wellerman; and consequent upsurge in the popularity of sea-shanties) I’m pleased to announce a new ‘shanty’, specifically designed to encourage and proliferate communal singing … so do, please, sing along!

lyrics

A SHANTY FOR SINGING

On a ship under sail, in a breeze or a gale,
There was hard work for sailors to do.
(So) They shouted and bawled as they heaved and they hauled,
Sometimes only six hands in the crew.
(For) The sailors had songs, just to help work along,
At capstan and windlass and line,
Whether hoisting the main-yard or hauling a halyard.
The shantyman kept them in time.
Chorus:
(but) This is a shanty for singing,
Add your voice, get the rafters a-ringing.
You all know what to do, harmonise with your crew,
This is a shanty for singing.

There are hymns in the kirk, there are shanties for work,
There are songs for each rhyme and each reason,
There are love songs entrancing and pop songs for dancing
And carols when they are in season.
With the sun on your neck, or green water on deck
There was always a job to be done
But here in the pub, with fine ale and good grub
The singing is part of the fun.
Chorus:
(so) This is a shanty for singing,
Add your voice, get the rafters a-ringing.
You all know what to do, harmonise with your crew,
This is a shanty for singing.


Sing a shanty for pumps when you’re down in the dumps,
‘Short-drag’ when you’ve not got much time.
A ‘stamp-and-go’ serves if you’re just a bit nervous
A ‘forebitter’ doesn’t need to rhyme … (or scan.)
When the room starts to sway, or you’re drifting away,
You surely have too much drink taken.
If the girl of your fancy says her name is Nancy
She’ll probably leave you forsaken.
Chorus:
(now) This is a shanty for singing,
Add your voice, get the rafters a-ringing.
You all know what to do, harmonise with your crew,
This is a shanty for singing.

There’s no man and no maid who should ‘ere be afraid,
Of singing at toil or at leisure
For at work or at play, every sailor will say
That singing is always a pleasure.
At the bar of a capstan or bar of a pub
Raise your voice let the melody fly.
Every girl every boy, don’t be shy, don’t be coy
Whenever the chorus comes by …
Chorus:
(for) This is a shanty for singing,
Add your voice, get the rafters a-ringing.
You all know what to do, harmonise with your crew,
This is a shanty for singing.

credits

released April 16, 2021
Lead vocals: Tom Lewis
Back-up vocals, various instruments, general mayhem: The Seadogs
Engineers: Steve and Anna Benincasa-Morales

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Tom Lewis Carrick On Shannon, Ireland

I am rubbish at ‘blowing my own trumpet’ (he said, modestly). However; one publication said:
‘After 24 years at sea; Tom's repertoire—from traditional shanties to songs fashioned out of his own seafaring background—recruits his audience for a voyage by turns reflective, dramatic and humorous; with songs that have become folk standards; known and sung wherever great choruses ring out.’ ... more

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