We’ve recently been given a copy of ‘Shanty-O! A Nautical Fantasy’, performed by the Chetham’s Hospital Boy’s Choir. Written by choirmaster Gerald Littlewood and produced in 1958, we reckon this represents one of the campest record sleeves we’ve ever seen.

From a historical point of view this is an interesting addition to the archives, because it demonstrates the musical strengths of the school several years before it became a specialist music school in 1969. Gerald Littlewood was the one-time arts and crafts master who is credited with strengthening the school’s musical reputation in the 1950s and 60s through teaching the boys to make their own instruments and forging links with Manchester Cathedral and the Free Trade Hall.

For your listening pleasure, we are thrilled to make available an MP3 file of the performance here on this very blog. And so Ladies and Gentlemen, may we present to you: A Nautical Fantasy. Please note, these are sea shanties and songs recorded in 1958, so please don’t listen if the language or attitudes of this time are liable to offend or upset you.





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  1. ferguswilde

    Hi David, ‘better late than never’ is a proverb that we are testing a bit here – the missing digital file has now turned up again after being buried on an antique server, so do please enjoy listening! (26MB mp3 file). We should note that these are old songs and shanties, many of them much older than this 1958 recording. Please don’t listen if the language and attitudes of former times is liable to offend or upset you.