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Roast Beef of Old England (Traditional Sailor Songs)

Jerry Bryant , Starboard Mess Audio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

Price: $17.58 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Amazon Price New from Used from
MP3 Music, 24 Songs, 2009 $8.99  
Audio CD, 2000 $17.58  

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Spanish Ladies 2:46$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. A Jolly Sailor's True Description of a Man of War 3:57$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Adieu, Sweet Lovely Nancy 2:34$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. St. Patrick's Day 1:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Warlike Seamen 2:23$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. The First of June 2:36$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Drops of Brandy 1:34$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Roast Beef of Old England 2:00$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Heart of Oak 2:14$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Nancy Dawson0:49$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Ben Backstay 3:05$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Sailor's Hornpipe/Rickett's Hornpipe 3:18$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. Bay of Biscay-O 2:21$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. The Battle of the Nile 3:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen15. Nelson's Victory/Hull's Victory 2:02$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen16. The Banks of the Nile/Sailor's Cravat 2:18$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen17. A New Sea Song (Sweethearts and Wives) 2:50$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen18. Pleasant and Delightful 3:16$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen19. Captain Barton's Distress On the Lichfield 4:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen20. Chevy Chase 2:17$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen21. The Shannon and the Chesapeake 1:52$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen22. Distressed Men-Of-War 1:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen23. Sailor's Jacket 1:23$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen24. Don't Forget Your Old Shipmate 3:12$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Roast Beef of Old England (Traditional Sailor Songs) + Irish Pirate Ballads and Other Songs of the Sea + Classic Maritime From Smithsonian Folkways
Price for all three: $43.99

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Product Details

  • Performer: Jerry Bryant, Starboard Mess
  • Audio CD (August 15, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Essay
  • ASIN: B00004UDET
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,512 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

If Roast Beef of Old England isn't enough to spawn a dose of contact scurvy, many other of these two dozen salty tunes will set the boat a-rocking. Treasures such as "A Jolly Sailor's True Description of a Man-of-War" and "Drops of Brandy" detail life among British seamen of the early 1800s without dredging up too much of the usual pirates, shipwrecks, or mutiny. It's an historical document of the regular life at sea, inspired by the British Navy novels of Patrick O'Brian, with intentions to anchor the writing in the ordinary sounds and stories of those fictionalized seafaring times. Glad fiddle, fife, and Jerry Bryant's humble six-man choral crew Starboard Mess spill the beans in suitable fashion without a sailor's colorful vocabulary. They supply the "yo ho ho" and annotations, you bring the rum and black powder. --Ian Christe

Product Description

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Light along the toasted cheese there Killick" November 9, 2000
Format:Audio CD
Patrick O'Brian would have been proud to know that such a well researched and presented musical companion piece to his Aubrey/Maturin novels had been produced. He may have been distressed at first to discover that it was the Americans who had done it, but certainly would have forgiven them. This recording is wonderful, whether or not the listener is a fan of O'Brian's series. A familiarity with the characters aboard Jack Aubrey's ships makes it all the more enjoyable. This is not the high blown music of Stephen Maturin and his captain or of the High Lords of the Admiralty, but rather the songs and tunes so dear to the hearts of the common sailors the likes of Killick and Bonden. This is the music of the lower decks, the forecastle and the pubs of Portsmouth, Plymouth and London. The songs are well researched, arranged and presented to please the ear of scholar and casual listener alike. A truly authentic sound of the Royal Navy as it did battle with "Boney." A marvelous insight into the history of the songs that gave voice to the fighting sailor of the day. I recommend this recording highly.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Continuing Enjoyment May 5, 2006
Format:Audio CD
I've owned this CD for a few years now, and it hasn't become stale yet.

Being a 'younger' person with generally 'younger' preferences in music, and yet still a person thoroughly devoted to Patrick O'Brian and all his works, on first listening I was doubtful.

Another two or three spins around the CD player, though, and I was hooked. Crisp, clear and obviously as historically accurate as they can be, these songs give delight even now.

Best use? Volume dialled up to eleven for the morning drive to work, bellowing along at the top of my voice - and often the bottom of my range! Heart of Oak, Roast Beef of Old England, The Shannon and the Chesapeake - uproarious. Sailor's Jacket is the foot-tappingest instrumental; it still sets my toes a-jumping. And the sweeter songs? Give them plenty of wellie .. Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy is fabulous.

Other big numbers: A Jolly Sailor's True Description of a Man-of-War, A New Sea Song (Sweethearts & Wives) - which has some fabulously 'historically accurate' narrative within (POB readers will know whereof I speak! ;-} - and Distressed Men-of-War - another song referred to within the POB Canon.

Heartily recommended.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great collection but lacking spirit - sometimes January 21, 2005
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I'm trying hard to really like this CD as there are many good shanties, all of them well-performed and apparently well-researched. The vocals are very clear and the harmony quite good throughout. Alas, most of this offering leaves me flat. Nearly all the songs feel as if they are being sung without spirit. It's almost as if the performers were given the lyrics and just read them all to a pre-defined "shanty" style. For example, you just don't sing a line like "we'll rant and we'll roar like true British sailors" without emphasizing any of the words, especially the words rant, roar and true, as I believe the real sailors would have done. (Note: I did find that using a surround sound setting as opposed to regular stereo added some depth I felt was missing from the vocals).

All the songs are presented acapella (historically correct for the era) and several very fine fiddle and pennywhistle instrumentals punctuate the 24 tracks (`St. Patrick's Day', `Drops of Brandy', `Nancy Dawson', `Sailor's Hornpipe'/'Rickett's Hornpipe', `Nelson's Victory'/'Hull's Victory', `The Banks of the Nile'/'Sailor's Cravat', `Chevy Chase', `Sailor's Jacket'). If you are looking for the old standards like `Drunken Sailor', `Rio Grande', `Blow the Man Down', etc., they aren't here (except for `Spanish Ladies'). This is by design as Bryant's whole point was to offer a collection of authentic early 1800's shanties sung aboard the ships of the Royal Navy. In that respect, the CD is a gold mine for fans of the genre.

If you really enjoy your sea shanties authentically performed, you probably won't be disappointed as there are many here you won't find elsewhere. But if you are looking for a rousing performance of the same, you may be left wanting.

June 2014 - After listening to this CD many times, I've changed my rating from 3 to 4 stars. Their rendition of 'Spanish Ladies' is now one of my favorites.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Close to perfect September 12, 2005
Format:Audio CD
I bought this for my wife, a huge fan of Patrick O'Brian (she's read the books twice in the past two years alone). Ironically, it now sits in my car's CD shuffler where it undoubtedly gets the most airtime.

I love this music! As another reviewer mentioned, with some cofee (Killick, there!), this music and Desolation Island in your hand, you feel transported to a life of long ago. When men sang to rouse the soul, brighten the spirit, damn the enemy and win the heart of their Colleen (sorry...Nancy) - all with spine, mind and muscle fully intact. The harmonies are rich, the voices deep.

And yet, the last reviewer's questions have the faint ring of truth. My first hearing rang a bit flat, the music sounding just this side of stale. But, in the end, it just don't signify. Even on that first run, by the end of the CD I was clumsily, but merrily joining in with the crew. I suppose I have come to imbue the songs with a life of my own, belting them out at full volume down the highway. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very, very enjoyable!
Whether you're interested in the books of Patrick O'Brien, the maritime culture of the early nineteenth century, or just some fun old tunes, this is the album for you! Read more
Published 5 months ago by Kyle P. Dalton
4.0 out of 5 stars its music
It is music I like what is with this required number of words non sense - if I did not like it I wouldn't have bought it
Published 5 months ago by Aluric
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect? No. Wonderful? Yes.
Not surprisingly, I'm a big O'Brian fan, and always wanted to know more about the before-the-mast music. This album gave me what I wanted, and the performances are really good. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Gardeneroh
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid if not rousing rendition
I stumbled across this while in a frenzy of British nautical reading about the Napoleonic Wars. As other reviewers have pointed out, there is almost a staid quality to this... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Lewis Ballard
5.0 out of 5 stars Great companion to Aubrey/Maturin novels!
I'm a great fan of Patrick O'Brian's age of fighting sail novels, and this was a great companion CD to learn the tunes referenced in the books. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Sarah O'Connor
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful treat for Aubrey-Maturin fans!
I only purchased Don't Forget Your Old Shipmates, and The Shannon and The Chesapeake, but those two are great! Read more
Published 14 months ago by LadyRosalia
5.0 out of 5 stars Bollocks to the naysayers
Bollocks to the naysayers, lubbers all! and well by the lee. God d*mn their ears!

These are rollicking good songs; tailor made to sing out loud; and my own little... Read more
Published on July 9, 2012 by Peter B. Nelson
5.0 out of 5 stars Great companion CD for the Aubrey-Maturin books
I'm a big fan of the Aubrey-Maturin books, and I really love this CD. I listen to it all the time. My favorites are Spanish Ladies; Pleasant and Delightful; Adieu, Sweet Lovely... Read more
Published on February 9, 2011 by J. Collins
5.0 out of 5 stars Sailor songs will have you singing along
I too remember "Songs and Sounds of the Sea" by National Geographic in my youth (early 70's0. This one is even better. The titles made me think fondly of those old songs. Read more
Published on September 10, 2010 by schlott
5.0 out of 5 stars A first rate recording!
Jerry Bryant's knowledge of sea music, naval history, and the style in which these songs were sung are very evident on this fine recording. Read more
Published on October 20, 2009 by Peter Kasin
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