Stan Hugill – Sailortown (1967)

The Sailortown (1967)

The book Sailortown (1967) (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd.). It is an excellent source of knowledge about what a merchant seaman did when he was not on a voyage.

During reading this unique book, I realized my great ignorance of seafaring life and what things, filled a huge part of a merchant sailor’s life. Another thing that I realized from this book is the fact, that focusing only on the musical aspect of the shanties and the forebitters. This was a complete misunderstanding and even ignorance on my part. This fact reduces the shanties and forebitters to music sheets and notations. In fact, the care for beautiful performance is all that was the least important in the shanties and forebitters.

Discover the tragic sailor’s lives described in the Sailortown (1967)

“Sailortown,” tells us how terrible and tragic albeit hilarious and challenging, was the land part of a sailor’s life. The book describes emotions and dangers mentioned, for example, such as Shanghaiing, prostitution, selling the corpses of sailors, horse riding in a brothel, or maybe beatings and mass orgies in whaling ports. It is an amazing mix indeed. The author gives us a description of all the most important “Sailortowns”, or port districts that were an alienated, exclusive world for sailors,

another name “Sailortown” or actually the first, as the author claims, it is “Fiddlers Green”

Yes, yes, we learn from the book that the meaning of “Fiddlers Green” as a paradise for sailors was secondary and invented much later. I could write more, but it would take too long. This book cannot be ignored by people who are shanty lovers. One of the fans of my FB page stated, with whom I fully agree, “If you start reading this book, take your time, let your mind enjoy it”.

Do you want to be more involved?

You can find excellent records of sea shanties here. If you want to discuss this book or share your opinion you can do it in my Facebook forum here, or below post in the comment section.

Related to Stan Hugill – Shanties and Sailors’ Songs

Additional Stan Hugill’s books:

Shanties and Sailor’ Songs (1969)

Sea Shanties (1977)

Songs Of The Sea (1977)

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