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The Johnson Girls - “Sea Chanteys and Maritime Music” - JGIRLS 01
Here we have a group of singers  throwing themselves into a programme of  maritime songs with vigorous attack, giving full rein to their powerful voices, singing their hearts out!.  Nothing unusual in that you might say, that’s the right way to sing shanties.  Quite so, but normally such groups are male.  The Johnson Girls, who sing the ‘chanteys’ here are five women from New York with a love of singing in general, and a special focus on sea songs. They certainly do know their subject as the selection on this album shows.  There are some familiar titles, ‘Round Cape Horn’, ‘Essequibo River’, ‘Sally Brown’, and others like ‘Jump Isabel, Bright Water’ that I for one have never heard before. These women have considerable singing  skills.  They can belt a song,  swing it, or blend into harmony when required, and fittingly, and believe me, they do have Power.

 Whatever the sceptics may say, women can sing shanties. Joy Bennett, Maggie Bye, Alison Kelley, Bonnie Milner, and Dierdre Murtha, certainly can.  They are over here this summer at Warwick Festival, Bodmin Folk Club, and Sidmouth.  Check ‘em out  and you’ll find I’m not wrong

Roy Harris

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This album was reviewed in Issue 45 of The Living Tradition magazine.