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The Running Tide

by Gavin Atkin

supported by
Bill Howarth
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Bill Howarth Oscar (Labrador) seems to like this one best - howled the whole way through! I thought it was all good stuff and played along, when not put off by Oscar! Favorite track: The Orkney Rope Waltz [Trad. arr. Gavin Atkin].
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Sea Fever by John Masefield I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky, And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by; And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking, And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking. I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied; And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying, And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying. I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life, To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife; And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover, And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.


Album notes

Travellers miss out on the best of a trip by ship or boat if they see it as just a matter of transportation.

There's the sense of place and time - the history of the body of water and its ports that created that man-made part of what we see of the land around us leaves tantalising visible clues that are well worth learning about.

There are also the vessels that use the waters, often developed to suit local conditions and the work required of them - fishing boats, for example tend to be low to the water to allow their crews to work nets and pots, while the shingle beaches of the South Coast require sturdy, shallow keeled boats, such as those you see at Hastings.

And then there's the cultural material that comes down to us from the different groups who have used the sea in their own ways - sailors, bargemen and fishermen in particular, but also the fraternity of yachties and traditional boat enthusiasts, to which I belong.

The songs on this album represent an important part of this heritage. Many are great stories played out in a dramatic and hazardous setting: we have cautionary tales, stories about young love, difficult relations between the people of the land and the people of the sea, and the appalling bullying that clearly used to go on in the little dictatorships that were sailing ships in the old days...

And of course many have grand anthemic choruses that are perfect for singing in a bar, after an evening meal on board, or on a hard beat to windward - truly songs for singing sailors.

Gavin Atkin, March 2015

For more from Julie and Gavin Atkin, see: julieandhersqueeze.com


released April 23, 2015

My thanks to Sylvia, Keith Kendrick and Joe Waters for lending me their voices for the shanty All for Me Grog, and to Julie Atkin for her unfailing support throughout this project. Elsewhere, the singing, music and recording is all by Gavin Atkin


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Gavin Atkin England, UK

Gavin Atkin lives, sings and plays in Kent, where he also sails dinghies and a small yacht, publishes a boating weblog, and runs events and workshops focusing on traditional and old fashioned music.




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