Shifty Sailors

Shifty Sailors

“The music I love and collect are songs of the sea.  Now all I have in my collection is Shifty Sailors CDs because there are none better.”

Roger Sherman, Author and Historian
Coupeville, WA

Discography & Shifty Sailors Store

Order CD’s from

The Shifty Sailors

PO Box 424

Freeland, WA 98249


All titles are US $15, Includes S&H

Click on the links below to hear song previews. 
Home of the Sails – Penn Cove
28 years ago, a music teacher on an island knew if you put a story to music, the message would be retained. Maritime history, events, lessons would be why the Shifty Sailors formed up -to do just that. Those rich songs of old and new have found their way to stages in Europe, the Baltic, the British Isles and Ireland, our own East and West Coasts, as far out as Hawaii, and to Vancouver Island, BC. This, now our 6th CD, captures 15 more of our recordings. We hope you find yourself living the experience, tapping your feet, and even singing or humming along with us. It will let the stories live on and our wish will be accomplished.
    1. Coupeville Town 3:11 Steve Romanoff, Mike Thelen
    2. Unmooring 1:43
    3. Day of the Clipper 3:53 Steve Romanoff, Mike Thelen
    4. Paddy, Lay Back
    5. Haul Away Joe 2:11 Bob Wagner
    6. Shifty Sailor Anthem 2:41
    7. Roll On, Columbia 3:33
    8. We Are Sailors 1:56 Jim Lightner
    9. Red Sails in the Sunset 2:40
    10. Marching Inland 2:49 Tom Lewis, Andy Walker
    11. Get up Jack, John Sit Down 2:19 12. Last Wish 2:22 Denny Armstrong
    13. Lovely Ernestina 4:08 Jim Bean, Ed Walker
    14. Mingulay Boat Song 3:49
    15. Parting Glass 1:35
Hail to the Whale
Whales surrounded us and created this unique experience, its music, the stories, and the emotions we had and now we are sharing them with you. It’s all here. We couldn’t wait to perform it. Hail to the Whale! The Shifty Sailors have just released CD #5 “Hail to the Whale”, a history of the whale through song from early whaling to saving the whale. One of the first compilations of its kind, this disc has a wide variety of selections all the way from musicals and movie themes to pieces by Country Joe MacDonald to Pete Seeger.
    1. A Whale of a tale 2:10 Richard Clarke & Jim L.
    2. Norfolk Whalers 3:48 Karl
    3. Hieland Laddie 2:19 Ed
    4. The Bonnie Ship the Diamond 2:35 Kermit
    5. The Greenland Fishery 2:32
    6. Blow Ye Winds 3:06 Bob
    7. Blow High, Blow Low 1:44
    8. Rollin’ Down to Ol’ Maui 4:20 Wylie
    9. John Kanaka 2:44 Gordy
    10. Jack Was Ev’ry Inch a Sailor 2:04 Jim L.
    11. Save the Whales 3:26 Denny, Roger, Bob, Charlie, Richard & Paul
    12. Moby Dick 2:22
    13. The Orca Song 3:01 Vern
    14. Come Home, Lolita 3:01 Vern
    15. Song of the World’s Last Whale 3:51
    16. Islanders We’ll Always Be 2:23

Total time 46:26
H is for aHoy
“H is for aHoy” is the culmination of a dream Director and retired music teacher Vern Olsen had since day one of the Shifty Sailors in 1993 – to produce a CD for music teachers using both the Shifties and elementary students. 49 students from eight elementary schools on Whidbey Island rehearsed with Vern for two months before joining the Shifty Sailors on nine of the 21 selections. “H is for aHoy” includes songs about the navigation of rivers, canals and seas, suitable for listeners of all ages.
    1. Jim Freeman Introduction 0:16
    2. The Unicorn 3:16 Vern, Mike & Bob
    3. Shifty Sailor Alphabet 4:09 Wylie
    4. Michael Row the Boat Ashore 2:21
    5. Jamaica Farewell 2:14 Denny, Vern
    6. John Kanaka 2:45 Bob
    7. The Mermaid 3:13 Jim L.
    8. Home from the Sea 3:23 Kermit
    9. Cape Cod Shanty 2:00 Clarke
    10. Billy O’Shea 2:50 Wylie
    11. A Whale of a Tale 2:01 Ed, Rio, Jim L.
    12. Willy Weewood 1:48 for the girls Bethany, Briess,
    Bridget, Shady and for the boys Andy, Austin, Jack, Kaj
    13. Washington, Washington 3:01
    14. Shrimp Boats 2:28
    15. Poem: Sea Fever 0:56 Bob
    16. Erie Canal 2:32
    17. The Glendy Burk 2:15 Roger
    18. Barges 2:05
    19. A Capital Ship 4:12 Karl
    20. O Shenandoah 2:27 Vern
    21 Parting Glass 0:54
    22. Sing Your Way Home 2:16
Total time 54:03
Ho, For the Life
The Shifty Sailors have amassed (a mast?) a following both in Europe and North America. Not strictly a shanty group, the Shifties sing all varieties of song having to do with seafaring. After three European tours following the Tall Ships, they have sung on both coasts of the United States.
    1. Shifty Sailor Anthem 2:44
    2. Blow the Man Down 3:07
    3. Bring us a Barrel 4:14
    4. Ho, for the Life 2:52
    5. Grace Darling (poem excerpts) 0:58
    6. The Ballad of Grace Darling 3:50
    7. Throw out the Life-Line 2:30
    8. Semper Paratus 1:04
    9. The Fishes 2:35
    10. Barrett’s Privateers 4:21
    11. Blow Ye Winds 2:54
    12. Wreck of the Nancy Lee 2:53
    13. Silver Darlin’s 3:37
    14. Cape Cod Shanty 1:46
    15. Fiddler’s Green 3:43
    16. Drunken Sailor 2:34
    17. Ballad of the Merry Ferry 0:49
    18. Washington, Washington 2:53
Total time 49:24
Haul On…
After the overwhelming success of their first CD, Heave Ho, My Lads!, graphic artist Vince Wray and sound technician Greg Garbarino captured the spirit of this energetic vocal and instrumental ensemble. Directed by Vern Olsen, the 17-man group hopes to add some touring to their many maritime performances in the Puget Sound region.
    1. Haul on the Bowlin’ 0:44
    2. Wreck of the Calista 4:00
    3. Blow, Boys, Blow! 1:14
    4. Hieland Laddie 2:35
    5. Skye Boat Song 4:27
    6. Dead Horse Shantey 2:15
    7. We Sail 1:23
    8. Liverpool Judies 2:43
    9. We Were Shanghai’d 4:51
    10. Miss Lucy Loo 1:31
    11. Banana Boat Song 2:42
    12. Rollin’ Down to Ol’ Maui 4:52
    13. John Kanaka 2:09
    14. Heave Ho! My Lads 1:40
    15. I’se the B’y 1:15
    16. Eternal Father 2:02
    17 Strike the Bell 3:21
    18. Farewell to Grog 2:13
    19 Rollin’ Home 3:44
Total time 44:44
Heave Ho, My Lads!
The Shifty Sailors formed in 1993 at the request of the Island County Historical Society to help promote their new book about 19th Century seamen entitled Sails, Steamships, & Sea Captains. The ensemble still includes all nine original singers.
Directed by Vern Olsen, the group performs at many maritime events in the Puget Sound region. This CD was recorded live at Coupeville, Washington’s Great Times Espresso by Greg Garbarino.
    1. Sailing! Sailing! 2:02
    2. A-Rovin’ 2:53
    3. Away to the South’ard 4:35
    4. Paddy Doyle’s Boots :55
    5. Liverpool Packet 3:21
    6. Bully in the Alley 2:36
    7. Shine on me/ Brightly Beams 3:53
    8. Randy Dandy O 4:22
    9. Away to America 2:46
    10. Haul On the Anchor Chain 3:15
    11. The Last Shantey 3:48
    12. Bound for the Rio Grande 3:39
    13. Notice to Mariners 1:56
    14. One More Day 2:31
    15. The Wild Rover 3:10
    16. All for Me Grog 2:58
    17. Mingulay Boat Song/ Now Is the Hour 5:43
Total time 54:23
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