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Blow Boys Blow

Ewan MacColl, A.L. LloydAudio CD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)


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Amazon Price New from Used from
MP3 Music, 16 Songs, 2007 $8.99  
Audio CD, 2009 $14.98  
Audio CD, 1996 --  
Vinyl --  

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 3, 1996)
  • Original Release Date: 1957
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Tradition Records
  • ASIN: B0000058QN
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #336,226 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Row Bullies Row
2. Paddy Doyle
3. Wild Goose Shanty
4. While Cruising Around Yarmouth
5. Old Billy Riley
6. Handsome Cabin Boy
7. South Australia
8. Blow Boys Blow
9. Whup Jamboree
10. Banks Of Newfoundland
11. Whiskey Johnny
12. Do Me Ama
13. Jack Tar
14. Paddy West
15. Haul On The Bowline
16. A Hundred Years Ago

Editorial Reviews

From the Label

BLOW, BOYS, BLOW is a full and rousing selection from folk heroes Ewan McColl (whose resume included author, playwright, actor, street singer, and laborer) and A.L. Lloyd (who, among other things, sang as the "Shantyman" in the movie version of MOBY DICK). Sung to ease the back-breaking work and fill up the long and lonely nights with rowdy and profane entertainment, the songs are fierce, rough, sublime and full of longing. Detailed liner notes by A.L. Lloyd are included.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Whale of a CD November 12, 2001
Format:Audio CD
I grew up with the record version of this CD and wore out the grooves. It's gutsy, real and sometimes very odd. No wonder Frank Zappa owned a copy (he lent it to Captain Beefhart who never returned it). This what folk music used to be all about --the thoughts and feelings of working people, rarely pretty but always beautiful.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential Ewan MacColl December 4, 1999
Format:Audio CD
One of my favorite of MacColl's records. Only the fact that about half the songs are by A.L. Lloyd, who I don't like as much, makes this a four-star review, instead of five. A lot of sea-shanty cds are pretty sappy stuff; they sound like they're some guy's idea of what sea shanties should sound like. This record sounds like someone singing excellent songs. Is this an authentic version of sea shanties? Beats me, since I never was on a 19th-Century sailing ship; but it sure is a good cd.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing sea songs February 17, 2007
By Joanie
Format:Audio CD
I have loved this recording ever since my dad played it for me as a child. Ewan MacColl has an amazing way of drawing you into these classic, old sea songs. His style is spare, like the tough, old sailors he evokes, yet his voice can make you shiver. Both the humorous and the tragic stories of life at sea can be found in these songs, and they stay with you for a long time.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite albums of all time. August 22, 1998
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
This is one of my favorite albums, ever. It's stood the test of time, rising in my estimation as the years have passed. These are authentic sea chanties, and you can almost feel the lonliness and danger shared by those who put to sea and sang about it. Musically, the ballads are sung solo, with a chorus of several voices, backed by simple instruments. The songs and the delivery by Ewan MacColl and A.L. Lloyd are haunting. My own ecletic musical tastes run from the blues of Lonni Johnson to Janice Joplin, John Coletrane, the New Lost City Ramblers, and Bach. Blow Boys Blow belongs in that company! If you are new to this type music, give it a few listens, and imagine the lives of those who manned whalers and merchant ships in the days before steam power.
--John Blackford
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
This compilation of shanties and sailor songs is far superior to any collection I have ever heard. The combination of the traditional voices and instrumentation, coupled with the unvarnished, authentic lyrics makes this recording stand out clearly as the "real deal" and in a different league than the ubiquitous folksy shanty recordings that sound artificial and wimpy. A.L. Lloyd handles most of the lead vocals and really carries the whole show. All of the songs on "Blow Boys Blow," despite their rough authenticity, burn with excellent melodic and rhythmic brio. A must-buy.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good selection and performances. August 14, 2005
Format:Audio CD
Sea chanties may be the purist and richest form of work song extant today and there are a large number of CDs of performances of this very traditional kind of song. Four of the very best are:

`Blow the Man Down' by eleven different voices, one of which is a group, The Watersons.

`Blow Boys Blow' sung by Ewan MacColl & A. L. Lloyd

`Sailors, Ships, and Chanteys' by Louis Killen

`Blow the Winds in the Morning' choral interpretations directed by John Langstaff

The best thing about this selection is that in spite of the great similarity in the names of the albums, there is practically no overlap in selections. There is some difference in style among the four, as chanteys may be performed with a solo voice, a chorus, or alternating between a solo voice and chorus.

The last of these three styles is probably the most traditional, as it is closest in realization to how chanties were actually used, as a means of coordinating the efforts of a large number of men contributing their muscle power to a single task such as raising an anchor or raising or lowering a large sail boom.

The first of these four CDs is a mix of all styles. The second is primarily solos by the two principle artists. The third is a combination of solos and responsive singing, the chorus being supplied by a group playfully named `The Out-of-Shape Chanteymen' The fourth is largely choral interpretations.

As appropriate to what one would find on a wind powered ship, the instrumental accompanyment is typically no more than a banjo, guitar, mandoline, or concertina.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best! January 30, 2014
Format:MP3 Music
This is, by far, the best collection of seas shanties that I have found. Sea Shanties are a really fun genre to get into! They are classic, old, authentic songs about life of the sea - sometimes humorous, often tragic. What sets this collection apart is the authentic recording value, which is rough around the edges like a true sailor!

Although I stand to prefer combination of traditional voices and instrumentation of this album over that of say, the Smithsonian Folkway's collection, I think that its CD jacket could be better if it provided historical context. If you are interested in the stories that go along with the songs, thankfully there is What Do You Do with a Drunken Sailor? Unexpurgated Sea Chanties A great complement to this already substantial body of folk heritage.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Over 50 years of listening!
I was a fourteen year old Sea Scout when first I heard the music from Ewan MacColl's "Blow Boys Blow". Read more
Published 1 month ago by Steve
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't believe the hype....
By "hype" I mean the propaganda that genuinely traditional songs are boring, empty, or, in the words of two earlier reviewers of this classic album, "ugly" and "tuneless. Read more
Published 7 months ago by moose/squirrel
5.0 out of 5 stars Great starter to work song collection
If you like sea shanties then this is the best starter to your collection. A.L. Lloyd is fantastic and Ewan MacColl has a fantastic voice. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Jeff Benefiel
5.0 out of 5 stars Great collection!
I was very happy to discover this maritime music collectible. It was worth the price just for the liner notes, but the music is awesome!
Published 13 months ago by Dean J. Calin
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best sea shanty albums
This album meets all the qualifications of a classic: a selection of the best songs in its genre, performed by two of the major figures in the British folk revival, Ewan MacColl... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Jon Corelis
1.0 out of 5 stars Unpleasant music
Purchasing this CD was a mistake; I should have listened more carefully to the samples. These songs have a an ugly and unpleasant sound that I can't get used to. Read more
Published 22 months ago by book addict
4.0 out of 5 stars Our Homeland , The Sea
This review is a little off the beaten path for this writer. Oh no, not on the subject matter of the sea. Read more
Published on March 20, 2009 by Alfred Johnson
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