The Sailor & The Mermaid


You may have heard about a Scottish postman who started an online-shanty-craze on some video platform earlier this year -- but why not listen to the real McCoy? -- please excuse the pun... John Townley's life has been linked to the sea for as long as he can remember -- he was raised on a ship. And his love for the oceans also had (and keeps on having) a massive influence on his musical career. Having studied guitar with Rev. Gary Davis in the early '60s John Townley played the blues and folk circuit of coffee houses in New York City. There he played in a duo with David Blue, joined The Magicians, build up the Apostolic Studios and recorded the Family of Apostolic album (1968) and its follow-up with Ocean (1969, unreleased until 2020, LLP 006LP). After those folk and psychedelic adventures John started playing and producing maritime folk music from the '70s onward. He played and recorded with the X-Seamen's Institute, produced albums by the Starboard List and worked for the Mariner's Museum in Virginia and New York's South Street Seaport Museum. But as John never tires to point out: Maritime folk songs shouldn't be museum pieces! Those songs and tunes have all the elements of real hits -- they're very melodious, full of hooks and have danceable rhythms. Therefore, they should be played with much verve and at high volume. John also knows this first hand as he traveled on American, Canadian and European tall ships as a musician. Naturally he also recorded during his journeys -- documented by his albums Sailor! (1991) and A Chesapeake Sailor's Companion (2000). As Sailor! was only released on tape in a very limited quantity, The Lollipop Shop give it a proper release on CD. But this is not a straight re-issue. The album now is an enhanced sea adventure in two chapters dealing with life on sea and the temptations of mermaids. Eight unreleased songs have been added, recorded by John and friends during their travels in Poland and England in 1992 and 1996. Above that all the music has been recently mastered to the volume level that John had originally envisioned. Now, haul away with the seafaring boys and let yourself be lured by Maggie the mermaid... Includes insert with liner and song notes by John Townley.