John Ashton – Real Sailor Songs (1891)

John Ashton – Real Sailor Songs (1891)

The book is a collection of nautical songs and poems, collected by John Ashton. With two hundred woodcut illustrations throughout. Including Sea Fight, Press-gang, Disaster, Ashore, and Love songs. It also contains poems entitled The Battle of Trafalgar, Bold Napier, The Lady’s Love for a Sailor, and many more. This book is a masterpiece for many reasons, the first being a collection of songs, which cannot be found anywhere but in this book.

The earliest source of some of the songs.

Another reason is that in this book we find the first or one of the earliest versions of the song “Flash Frigates” which is the original of the beautiful song “La Pique” and later “Dreadnought”. This song is significant for Polish fans of sea songs. It is because it is the parent of a wonderful song, sung by the group Cztery Refy “Lśniąca Fregata”.

The last reason is the amazingly beautiful, its huge size (it is the largest book in my collection!), Woodcut illustrations, and the fact that the same top-quality paper and printing method were used as used for printing broadsides. The whole thing is so spectacular that the cheapest online copy of this book costs £ 220, I highly recommend it. Of course, as always, for those interested in particular songs, contact me and I can provide photos of the song you are looking for.

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 the Real Sailor Songs

W. G. Whittaker – Blow the wind southerly (1921)

Joanna Colcord – Roll And Go – Songs of American Sailormen (1924)

Frederick J Davis; Ferris Tozer – Sailors’ songs or “chanties” (3rd Edition) – (1906)