360° All Points of the Compass
There are 16 points on a compass (according to Tom, though some may disagree) so that's approximately how many songs are on this CD. Titles and liner notes are listed below.
"If there is a folk equivalent to Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie, it is Radio Times, by Tom Lewis.
—Shelley Posen, SING OUT!
"As with Poles Apart, this album is in environmentally-friendly cardboard packaging, but with an additional panel, so the spine is more legible, and there is more room for me to waffle. There is also a lyrics booklet." —Tom
Click on to listen to a sample of the song. Click on the song title to see the lyrics.
- Radio Times These are my memories and influences - if they invoke yours, so much the better.
- Port of Call A great song-writer and performer, Kieran Halpin is very active on stages all around the world. He's a "must see", if you get the opportunity.
- Nassau Bound I learned a lot about singing harmonies from The Beach Boys. This is the 'traditional' version of one of their biggest hits.
- St. Patrick's Song In all of my childhood, in Ireland, I saw no St. Patrick's Day fervour other than quite small religious celebrations. These days the "Patron Saint's" day is hugely celebrated in Ireland — largely for the benefit of tourists.
- Christmas at Sea He's remembered for writings such as: "Kidnapped"; "Treasure Island"; "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"; etc., but R.L. Stevenson had a special affinity to the poetry of the sea.
- Towrope Girls From: SEA SONGS AND BALLADS 1917 - 1922; and set to this traditional melody (Quare Bungle Rye) by William Pint, of Seattle. The writings of Cicely Fox Smith were never less than concise, accurate and supremely evocative.
- Dutchman's Trousers As the younger child of a "single parent family" (before the term was in common usage) I spent many happy days in the company of my maternal Grandmother. Though I became aware of this evocative phrase from her, my metrological education never proceeded further.
- The Land One of my passports says I'm Canadian. I was born in Ireland - but spent my grammar-school years in England. Much of my 24-year naval career (and folk music apprenticeship) was spent in Scotland. Culturally I'm Britishand there is, in my opinion, no finer example of British heritage than this piece. I never fail to find it, literally, hair-raising!
- The Nipper Ian Geddes: a Scot, transplanted to Massachusetts, and a fine singer in his own right; spotted an obvious problem with traditional shanties used in their original context, but concluded that we, of the current generation, have solved it!
- Blow the Man Down The archetypal (halliard) shanty, commonly used in Liverpool registered ships. Those old sailors would have been incredulous to hear female voices in their chorus.
- According to the Act The inauguration, by the British Parliament, of the Merchant Shipping Acts; mandating the conditions of employment of sailors; led to the Mercantile Marine being greatly envied by sailors of the Royal Navy, who continued to endure "hard usage" well into the 20th Century.
- The Bos'n, the Gunner and Me I found this song in Gosport Public Library whilst; on the orders of my supervising officer; making myself scarce - knowing full well that no-one would even think of looking for a sailor in a library! The librettist must have had aspirations about a career in opera—he changed his name from plain: "Henry Trotter"!
- If I Had a Boat It would seem that even famous and successful country music stars have a yearning for the ocean. I've had the temerity to replace Lyle's ultimate verse, which has always mystified me, with one of my own construction; about another one-time star of the small screen. Should Lyle ever hear this, I hope he'll forgive me.
- One Big Ocean This song came, directly, from a query by a 4th Grade student; wise beyond her years. She was well aware that I didn't know the answer to her perceptive question.
- Down by the Dockyard Wall What a pity Dame Vera Lynn never had an opportunity to record this. I'm sure that my old friend: "Shep" Woolley; would now be quite rich from the royalties of "her last hit".
- Goodbye From my earliest memories, the singing of Joseph Locke was part of the staple diet in our Belfast home. Check out the 1991 video: 'Hear My Song'. Wonderful.
- A Few Good Men (Hidden Track). A Few Good Men are, so the advertising billboards inform us, all that the United States Marine Corps requires, in order to perform its sterling duty. Semper Fi, guys.