In the wake of the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean” the producer Hal Willner (with Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp) gave the prints a first compilation, Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs and Chanteys, dedicated to traditional songs inspired by the life of piracy and marine in general (2006). The encore arrived in 2013 with another double CD (Son of Rogues Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys)
Sulla scia del film  “Pirati dei caraibi”  il produttore Hal Willner (con Gore Verbinski e Johnny Depp) diede alle stampe una prima compilation (Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs and Chanteys) dedicata alle canzoni tradizionali ispirate alla vita della pirateria e della marineria in genere (2006 ). Il bis è arrivato nel 2013 con un altro doppio Cd (Son of Rogues Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys)

Even the big rock stars have been carried away by the idea of appearing in a gallery of ugly guys (“Rogue’s Gallery” in the Anglo-Saxon world indicates the criminal photo files), in the company of great folk, blues, jazz musicians, to interpret pirate songs with their own sensitivity and musical background; the project coordinated by Hal Willner began with a long research of texts and melodies in the historical archives and on the web and it has been realized in a series of high “sessions” in Seattle, Los Angeles, London, Dublin and New York. The recorded material was sufficient for four published CDs (in double format) six years later.
Anche le grandi star del rock si sono lasciate trascinare dall’idea di comparire in una “galleria di brutti ceffi” (“Rogue’s Gallery” nel mondo anglosassone indica gli schedari fotografici dei criminali), in compagnia di grandi interpreti folk, blues, jazz, e chi ne ha più ne metta, per interpretare i canti dei pirati con la propria sensibilità e il relativo background musicale; il progetto coordinato da Hal Willner è iniziata con una lunga ricerca dei testi e delle melodie negli archivi storici e nel web e si è concretizzato in una serie di intense “session” a  Seattle, Los Angeles, Londra, Dublino e New York. Il materiale registrato è bastato per quattro cd pubblicati (in formato doppio) a sei anni di distanza l’uno dall’altro.
Director Verbinski uses marine metaphors to describe the experience. “The ocean. It’s all about the vast blue that engulfs two thirds of the planet. The human being cast against that abyss creates an interesting bit of perspective. I think the sailors of the time were dancing with death, and these were their tunes. They resonate with people on some internal level that is not immediately obvious because it’s not in our memory, it’s in our blood. It operates on a cellular level. It’s what makes us feel so alone.
Il regista Verbinski usa metafore marine per descrivere l’esperienza.

«L´oceano. È tutto intorno al grande blu che riempie due terzi del pianeta. Il rapporto dell´essere umano con questo abisso crea un´interessante prospettiva. Credo che i navigatori del tempo stessero danzando con la morte, e queste sono le loro canzoni. Risuonano con la gente in qualche livello interiore che non è immediatamente chiaro perché non è nella nostra memoria, è nel nostro sangue. È quello che ci fa sentire così soli».


2006 – Anti-Records

Disc 1:

Cape Cod Girls” – Baby Gramps – 7:14
Mingulay Boat Song” – Richard Thompson – 4:13
My Son John” – John C. Reilly – 1:38
Fire Down Below” – Nick Cave – 2:50
Turkish Revelry” – Loudon Wainwright III – 4:21
Bully in the Alley” – Three Pruned Men (The Virgin Prunes) – 2:30
The Cruel Ship’s Captain” – Bryan Ferry – 3:35
Dead Horse” – Robin Holcomb – 2:54
Spanish Ladies” – Bill Frisell – 2:22
Coast of High Barbary” – Joseph Arthur – 4:02
Haul Away Joe” – Mark Anthony Thompson – 4:10
Dan Dan” – David Thomas – 0:50
Blood Red Roses” – Sting – 2:44
Sally Brown” – Teddy Thompson – 2:54
Lowlands Away” – Rufus Wainwright & Kate McGarrigle – 3:25
Baltimore Whores” – Gavin Friday – 4:40
Rolling Sea” – Eliza Carthy – 4:49
The Mermaid” – Martin Carthy & The UK Group – 2:23
Haul on the Bowline” – Bob Neuwirth – 1:29
A Dying Sailor to His Shipmates” – Bono – 4:44
Bonnie Portmore” – Lucinda Williams – 3:36
Shenandoah” – Richard Greene & Jack Shit – 2:58
The Cry of Man” – Mary Margaret O’Hara – 3:06

Disc 2:

Boney” – Jack Shit – 1:55
Good Ship Venus” – Loudon Wainwright III – 3:15
Long Time Ago” – White Magic – 2:35
Pinery Boy” – Nick Cave – 3:15
Lowlands Low” – Bryan Ferry & Antony Hegarty  – 2:35
One Spring Morning” – Akron/Family – 5:25
Hog Eye Man” – Martin Carthy & Family – 2:44
The Fiddler” – Ricky Jay & Richard Greene – 1:34
Caroline and Her Young Sailor Bold” – Andrea Corr – 3:58
Fathom the Bowl” – John C. Reilly – 3:44
Drunken Sailor” – David Thomas – 3:44
Farewell Nancy” – Ed Harcourt – 6:06
Hanging Johnny” – Stan Ridgway – 3:28
Old Man of the Sea” – Baby Gramps – 5:18
Greenland Whale Fisheries” – Van Dyke Parks – 4:41
Shallow Brown” – Sting – 2:30
The Grey Funnel Line” – Jolie Holland – 4:53
A Drop of Nelson’s Blood” – Jarvis Cocker – 7:10
Leave Her Johnny” – Lou Reed – 5:30
Little Boy Billy” – Ralph Steadman – 5:33


2013 – Anti-Records

Disc 1:

  1. Leaving of Liverpool – Shane MacGowan w/ Johnny Depp & Gore Verbinski
  2. Sam’s Gone Away – Robyn Hitchcock
  3. River Come Down – Beth Orton
  4. Row Bullies Row – Sean Lennon w/ Jack Shit
  5. Shenandoah – Tom Waits w/ Keith Richards
  6. Mr. Stormalong – Ivan Neville
  7. Asshole Rules the Navy – Iggy Pop w/ A Hawk and a Hacksaw
  8. Off to Sea Once More – Macy Gray
  9. The Ol’ OG – Ed Harcourt
  10. Pirate Jenny – Shilpa Ray w/ Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
  11. The Mermaid – Patti Smith & Johnny Depp
  12. Anthem for Old Souls – Chuck E. Weiss
  13. Orange Claw Hammer – Ed Pastorini
  14. Sweet and Low – The Americans
  15. Ye Mariners All – Robin Holcomb & Jessica Kenny
  16. Tom’s Gone to Hilo – Gavin Friday and Shannon McNally
  17. Bear Away – Kenny Wollesen & The Himalayas Marching Band

Disc 2:

    1. Handsome Cabin Boy – Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention
    2. Rio Grande – Michael Stipe & Courtney Love
    3. Ship in Distress – Marc Almond
    4. In Lure of the Tropics – Dr. John
    5. Rolling Down to Old Maui – Todd Rundgren
    6. Jack Tar on Shore – Dan Zanes w/ Broken Social Scene
    7. Sally Racket -Katey Red & Big Freedia with Akron Family
    8. Wild Goose – Broken Social Scene
    9. Flandyke Shore – Marianne Faithfull w/ Kate & Anna McGarrigle
    10. The Chantey of Noah and his Ark (Old School Song) – Ricky Jay
    11. Whiskey Johnny – Michael Gira
    12. Sunshine Life for Me – Petra Haden w/ Lenny Pickett
    13. Row the Boat Child – Jenni Muldaur
    14. General Taylor – Richard Thompson w/ Jack Shit
    15. Marianne – Tim Robbins w/ Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs
    16. Barnacle Bill the Sailor – Kembra Phaler w/ Antony/Joseph Arthur/Foetus
    17. Missus McGraw – Angelica Huston w/ The Weisberg Strings
    18. The Dreadnought – Iggy Pop & Elegant Too
    19. Then Said the Captain to Me (Two Poems of the Sea) – Mary Margaret O’Hara



La canzone del mare “A dying sailor to his shipmates” acquista una vasta popolarità  grazie al progetto discografico di Johnny Depp e di Gore Verbinski per il secondo capitolo della saga “I pirati dei Caraibi“, affidato al produttore musicale Hal Willner.

Questa sea song è stata registrata precedentemente nel 1956 da Paul Clayton nel suo album ” Whaling And Sailing Songs From the Days of Moby Dick 1956 – Tradition TLP 1005 LP. Così nelle note di copertina Paul Clayton scrive di aver trovato la canzone in un giornale di bordo della baleniera “Lucy Ann”: “Nothing in shipboard life stirred the whaler’s emotions like a burial at sea. A whaling log will contain numerous entries concerning the stale of a sick man, and then, one day, a brief note is written giving an account of his burial, perhaps with a cross or coffin drawn in the section normally reserved for whales sighted and taken. I recovered this song from a journal kept on the ship Lucy Ann, of Wilmington, Delaware, on a whaling voyage out of New Bedford 1837- 1839.”


..the Lucy Ann, made three successful right whaling voyages for Wilmington. The ship was a typical whaler, a former merchant ship measuring about 111 feet in length and 26 feet in the beam. Her tonnage was 309, about average for a whaler of the day, and she was a slow but sturdy work horse, well-suited for Wilmington service. In 1837, after nineteen months at sea, she returned from the Indian Ocean with a fair cargo.’ Her second voyage from 1837 to 1839 was more successful, but because of company obligations, its profits, like those of the first, were insignificant. Out again in July, 1839, the vessel returned full almost two years later. She had taken a substantial quantity of sperm oil, a more valuable commodity than common whale oil, and her profit of $12,809 was one of the best in company history.” (tratto da “A pennsylvanian in the Wilmington whaling trade 1841-1844” di Kenneth R. Martin & Bruce Sinclair pag 33 qui)
Ho trovato però solo due diari scritti durante i viaggio della Lucy Ann, ma in periodi successivi a quello indicato da Paul Clayton: uno quello di John F. Martin “John Martin’s journal : a voyage on the whale ship Lucy Ann of Wilmington, Delaware, 1841-1844”, l’altro di Martha Brown “She Went A-Whaling 1847 Journal Martha Brown Whaling Ship Lucy Ann” diario riferito al periodo 1847-1849


It was not unusual for an inquisitive, intelligent mariner to keep a diary of his experiences at sea. It was unusual, though, for a man to keep two simultaneous, contrasting accounts; yet this is what young Martin did. One of Martin’s journals is a terse and selective compendium of weather data and navigational reckonings, fleshed out with brief entries describing the chasing and killing of whales. This spare volume, which is in the manner of a record book, is now at the Historical Society of Delaware. Its text resembles the impersonal accounting of an official logbook, but it has much pictorial interest, for Martin took pains to illustrate dozens of the Lucy Ann’s whaling encounters with meticulous water colors. The document is enhanced by an illuminated frontispiece, drawings of the sperm and right whale, and an exciting whaling scene. Upon his return to Wilmington in 1844, Martin gave this journal to a former shipmate, William McGahey of Philadelphia, who had sailed with him on the Jefferson. Martin remained a mariner, making occasional stops at McGahey’s home. McGahey apparently cherished his friend’s gift. He gave the Martin journal to his own son, James, of Darby, Pennsylvania, and that gentleman presented it to the Historical Society of Delaware in 1902, more then twenty years after Martin’s death.38 James McGahey remembered John Martin as a man of many talents, “something more than an ordinary man, although in appearance he was a typical Yankee sailor of the period.”
Martin’s second, longer “Journal of a Voyage in the Whale Ship Lucy Ann,” kept in diary form, is now in the manuscript division of the Chicago Historical Society library, where it was acquired as part of a collection during the 1920s. The Chicago journal is more than an interesting whaleman’s account; it is an important piece of Americana. Aboard the Lucy Ann, Martin lavished great care on his diary, producing a spectacular private record. Like many seamen before the mast, Martin’s knowledge of punctuation and grammar was slight, but his powers of observation and his mastery of storytelling more than overcame such formal deficiencies. The writer was clearly a hale, fine-spirited man with a knack for showing the lighter side of even the grimmest situations. Moreover, he sensed an excitement about whaling that is surprisingly lacking in many whaling journals. There is no doubt that Martin carefully selected and narrated incidents that would entertain the landlubbers at home; his journal is not by any means casually or spontaneously written. Unlike many journalists, he avoided dwelling only on the commonplace miseries of a whaling voyage: boredom, overwork, and woefully poor food. Even when he did grouse, it was usually with a sense of good humor. His narrative is further enhanced by his innate curiosity, which inspired him to render perceptive descriptions of remote places, flora, and fauna. And, like his shorter journal, his diary is visually beautiful. It contains over two dozen amateurish but virile and handsome water-color illustrations: whaling scenes, island views, sketches of whales and fish, ship paintings, and detailed renderings of the tools of the whaleman’s trade.  (tratto da A pennsylvanian in the Wilmington whaling trade 1841-1844 di Kenneth R. Martin & Bruce Sinclair, pg 33-34)


In 1847, Martha’s life changed … for the worse. She sailed with her husband on the Lucy Ann of Greenport, Long Island, leaving home on August 21, 1847 — because Edwin had told her to do it. Going on voyage wasn’t her idea at all. continua


La canzone è il congedo del marinaio,  in cui saluta i compagni prima dell’ultimo viaggio.

ASCOLTA Paul Clayton  in ” Whaling And Sailing Songs From the Days of Moby Dick”, 1956

ASCOLTA Bono in “Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys, ANTI 2006 oppure qui con l’introduzione strumentale. Il video mostra i marinai della Marina Militare mentre in origine il “Farewell” si riferiva ad un marinaio imbarcato su una baleniera.

Oh, wrap me in my country’s flag(1)
And lay me in the cold, blue sea
Let the roaring of the waves
My solemn requiem be
And I shall sleep a pleasant sleep
While storms above their vigils keep
My Captain brave shall read for me
The service of the silent air(2)
And yay, shall lower me in the waves
When all the prayers are said
And I will find my long, long home
Among the billows and the foam
Farewell my friends, for many I leave
We’ve sailed together on the deep
Come, let us shake our hands
I’ll sail no more
but ship mainswork for me (3)
I’m bound above, my course is run
I near the port,
my voyage is done
traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto
Avvolgetemi nella mia bandiera(1)
e affidatemi al freddo mare azzurro,
che lo strepito delle onde
sia il mio requiem solenne, e io dormirò un  sonno sereno, mentre le tempeste qui sopra terranno le loro veglie.
Il mio capitano impavido leggerà per me
l’ufficio funebre nel silenzio assorto(2)
e poi verrò calato tra le onde;
quando tutte le preghiere saranno finite
troverò la mia casa eterna
tra i marosi e la spuma.
Addio amici miei, dunque vi lascio,
abbiamo navigato insieme sugli oceani,
venite, stringiamoci le mani
io non navigherò più,
ma voi lavorerete per me(3):
sono diretto altrove, la mia rotta è compiuta, mi avvicino al porto,
il viaggio è finito.

1) la bandiera è quella della nazione di appartenenza del marinaio specificata in inglese con il termine country
2) ringrazio Italo Ottonello per la traduzione di “silent air”
3) Italo Ottonello suggerisce la traduzione partendo dall’osservazione che mains in francese significa “braccia”. Si tratterebbe quindi di un termine gergale marinaresco e il senso della frase diventa: altre braccia lavoreranno al mio posto

ASCOLTA la tromba di Bobby Spellman

Rogue’s Gallery: The Art of the Siren, #20