Burl Ives

Down to the Sea in Ships

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Burl Ives' second stay on Decca Records coincided with the album boom and the standardization of the 12" LP. And one result was rich, 18-song collections such as this, covering different aspects of songs associated with the sea and sailors, including sea shanties, work songs, and captain songs. He rises to the occasion with a rich variety of material, moods, and tone. Some of it may sound hokey in the 21st century, but in 1956 this was as close to authenticity as most listeners ever got, and it is still compelling listening, if one suspends his disbelief (which Ives makes it easy to do). What's more, the range of material speaks volumes about the sincerity of the effort involved, which may overcome some of the sense of artifice that one finds in records of this sort a half-century or more on.

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