Before you jump to the conclusion that this is going to be a collection of sea shanties or whaling songs, take a look at the track listing on the back cover and notice two things: first, song titles like "Who Will Bow and Bend Like a Willow?" and "Ladies' Walpole Reel," and second, the fact that most of these tracks are songs performed solo by unaccompanied singers. Most were recorded in the field by Sandy Paton (well known to fans of New England folk music as the owner and operator of the Folk Legacy label, which released all of Gordon Bok's earliest albums). The traditions represented are remarkably varied and range from transplanted British ballads ("A Frog He Would a-Wooing Go," "The Two Brothers") to Shaker spirituals ("And Now, Old Serpent, How Do You Feel?") and traditional fiddle tunes (the gorgeous "Ladies' Walpole Reel," "Cherish the Ladies"). And, of course, there are whaling songs, grim and beautiful, and no less so for the enthusiastic amateurism of the singers. Highly recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson