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Johnson Girls

Johnson Girls


Sea music may well have been the first "world music." Ships were often melting pots, with crew members from many countries who were heavily influenced by the music they heard while traveling around the world and from other crew members. These sailors incorporated into their work songs and other shipboard music the different rhythms and styles from their own often diverse cultures as well as those they encountered during their voyages. Each of The Johnson Girls was captivated by this music at different times in their lives, and came together in 1997 following the Mystic Seaport Sea Music festival to burst through the barrier of this previously male dominated genre. The Johnson Girls is an energetic all-woman mostly a cappella group performing folk music with an emphasis on songs of the sea and shore. Each member of the group brings a specialty and style to the ensemble. The Johnson Girls' extensive repertoire of both traditional and contemporary music includes songs with an Afro-Caribbean influence, of the inland waterways, of fishing, mining, Irish, Anglo-American, Italian and French Canadian ballads and work songs, and much more. With a sound that has been called "exciting", "haunting", "uplifting", and "full of harmony", the Johnson Girls give "hair-raising" performances of powerhouse chanteys, tender ballads and just plain fun songs, bringing audiences to their feet wherever they go.


Displaying 1-3 of 3 items.

Johnson Girls : The Fire Down Below : 1 CD :  : 138

Johnson Girls : The Fire Down Below

Review: On the cover of "Fire Down Below" is a full color rendition of a sperm whale's tooth, beautifully scrimshawed with an image of a pair of beautiful bustled and corseted mid-1800s women on a dock, waving farewell (or possibly hello) to a fully-rigged wooden sailing ship being consumed by a sailor's worst nightmare, fire at sea. It's a dramatic, poignant scene of the heartbreak of East Coast whaling town women, sometimes waiting and watching the horizon for years for the return of their sailor men. Joy, Alison, Bonnie and Deirdre, a NYC-based Folk quartet, have spent the last 11 years singing authentic a cappella sea chanteys, sometimes joined by the One More Day Chanteymen, their "good friends and solid singers." There are 18 songs here, some favorites are "Heave Her Up," "Shallow Brown," "Shiny-O," "Titanic," the title tune, "Three Foot Seam," "Shove Around The Jug," the poignant "Nantucket Lullabye," "Victoria," the Irish Folk round "Baidin Fheilimidh," "Santianno," "One More Day," and "Mary, Come Join The Religion.'' These are working songs, most of them cadenced to assist in rowing a boat or hauling up a sail or an anchor; the odd miner's union song ("Three Foot Seam") and one that relates to both sailors and miners ("Cornish Lads"). Some are borderline bawdy ("Tailor In The Chest" and "Swing Your Tail") but they obviously gave good warning to sailormen on shore leave. Almost all these songs are new to us, well-performed by the Johnson Girls, and good, authentic Folk music!

Songlist: Heave Her Up, Shallow Brown, Shiny-O, Titanic, Swing Your Tail, Fire Down Below, Tailor in the Chest, Shove Around the Jug, Nantucket Lullabye, Victoria, Sun Down Below, Baidin Feilimidh, Rolling Down the River, Santianno, Three Foot Seam, Cornish Lads, One More Day, Mary, Come Join the Religion

2344c | 1 CD | $14.95 | A Cappella Sea Chanties

Johnson Girls : On The Rocks : 1 CD : 

Johnson Girls : On The Rocks

Review: The New York City-based Johnson Girls are five talented women who sing authentic, a cappella sea chanteys and maritime songs. Lead-singing leads are shared fairly evenly among the five, who particularly enjoy singing this very blue-collar music live, encouraging audience participation. 19 authentic, spirited tunes, some favorites: "Round the Corn," "Dixie Land," "A Wife in Every Port," "Married to a Trawlerman," "Drink to the Laddies," "Fire Maringo," "Tailor in the Tea Chest," "Working at the Coalface," "Gaol Song," "Mike," "White Wings" and "Mariner's Hymn." These are powerful songs of love, betrayal and heartbreak, of hard work and trouble, rhythmic songs to sing while rowing a ship's boat, raising the anchor, or hauling a canvas sail up to the yardarm. Nicely done liner notes with interesting info about each of the songs. We noticed that the Johnson Girls are all brunettes, and on the cover of "On the Rocks" sit 5 brunette mermaids with their backs to us, singing out to a passing clipper ship, but this is almost certainly a coincidence!

Songlist: Round the Corn, Noah Bult the Ark, Dixie Land, Song for a Seafarer, A Wife in Every Port, Married a Trawlerman, Drink to the Laddies, Roll, Boys, Roll, Vole Mon Coeur, Vole, The Priest and the Nuns, Fire Maringo, Tailor in the Tea Chest, O, Pescator Dell'onda, Working at the Colface, Gaol Song, Mike, White Wings, Pique laBalcine, Mariner's Hymn

9858c | 1 CD | $14.98 | A Cappella Sea Chanties

Johnson Girls : Sea Shanties and Maritime Music : 1 CD : 

Johnson Girls : Sea Shanties and Maritime Music

Review: The five talented Johnson Girls love singing folk tunes together, but let us be more specific-they love singing authentic a cappella sea chanteys and maritime music. They are a refreshing incongruous part of a traditionally male community of singers who come together at festivals and gatherings to sing the old songs. 20 tunes, some of our favorites: "Round Cape Horn," "Sailor's Way," "Essequibo River," "Fisherman's Lassie," "Come Love Come," the fairly racy "Huckleberry Hunting," "Drummer and the Cook," "Yankee Man o' War," "Jump, Isabel, Slide Water" (a rowing song written by slaves before the Civil War), "Pump Shanty," "Fisherman's Wife" and "Goodbye, Fare You Well." These are heart-tugging songs of the life of the sailor, songs that made his labor seem easier, and helped to ease his loneliness or a broken heart. The Johnson Girls sing them with conviction, spirit and deep feeling, making us believe that they are the sailor in question, or that he is their lover, son or husband. An impressive, focused first recording by New York City's talented folk quintet! Liner notes have comments and info on all the songs.

Songlist: Round Cape Horn, Blackbird Get Up, Sailor's Way, Running Down to Cuba, Essequibo River, Bear Away Yankee, Bear away Boy, Fisherman's Lassie, Walk Along Sally Brown, Come Love Come, Huckleberry Hunting, London Julie, Drummer and the Cook, Weary Cutters, Fire Down Below, Yankee Man O' War, Jump, Isabel, Slide Water, Pump Shanty, Fisherman's Wife, Won't You Help Me To Raise 'Em, Goodby, Fare You Well

9859c | 1 CD | $14.98 | A Cappella Sea Chanties

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