The latest Revels disc picks up on the seafaring theme of last year’s Spring Revels with a collection of "sea songs, chanteys, and ballads" that draws from English and American sources. It kicks off with "Roll Down," a "new" capstan chantey "written by the late Peter Bellamy for his ballad opera The Transports" that’s about convicts headed for Australia. Most of the remaining 22 tracks are traditional, with the rich harmonies and steady work- or dance-related rhythms that are also characteristic of 19th-century English and American church music; there are capstan and halyard chanteys, laments for those lost at sea ("Threescore and Ten"), farewell songs ("The Leaving of Liverpool"), drinking songs ("Here’s a Health to the Company"), admonitory ballads ("The Maid on the Shore"), children’s songs ("The Herring’s Head"), and fun songs ("Can’t You Dance the Polka?"), all rendered impeccably by the usual Revels suspects. What’s not to like?
(The Revels will host a CD-release party this Monday, August 19, on the waterfront at Jimmy’s Harborside; see "8 Days a Week," under "Monday," for details.)