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SHE SHANTIES - Futtock Shrouds

SHE SHANTIES - Futtock Shrouds
Private Label SH001

A female shanty crew? Yea, verily! … Though She Shanties are a bit different – 12 women who came together almost by accident at Whitby in 2011, quickly discovered the vital spark of kinship and that they sounded good together (and almost instinctively so). Since then, they’ve evolved into a veritable folk-family and graced numerous festival stages, releasing a toes-in-the-water EP in 2015 to enthusiastic reviews (including mine in this mag!). This follow-up fuller-length offering shows how accomplished the ensemble has become, a punchy, full-on chorale of glorious parts, harmonies and unison that’s thoroughly infectious – arranged, yes (to a certain extent), but never ‘polite’.

She Shanties include in their ample ranks no fewer than three sets of sisters, while some members’ names (Cath Tyler, Rachel Hamer, Ruth & Sadie Price) you’ll definitely have come across in other folk contexts. All are singers of individual character, and the shantyman’s duty is invariably shared out equitably, receiving lusty and charismatic crew support. (Crew members are named on the package, but it would’ve been good to have identified individual track leaders too.) Naturally, the disc’s title is suitably racy (like the Spanker Boom EP – no giggling at the back there!), and She Shanties again seem to have struck that enviable balance between committed and respectful performance and having a whale of a time (i.e. massive fun) while completely engaging their listeners. The 12 tracks on this CD cover the gamut of favourite shanties and songs of the sea, all sung out with abundant gusto and brio. What’s not to like?

David Kidman

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This album was reviewed in Issue 124 of The Living Tradition magazine.