Today the temperature soared to 105° Fahrenheit in Spokane, Wa. In an attempt to stay cool we decided to take our boat to Rock Lake. Preparations included fuel, safety gear, provisions (beer) and Oscar Brand – Boating Songs And All That Bilge:
This collection of humorous (and occasionally bawdy) songs about boats and the idiots, lechers, drunkards and “Captains” that inhabit them set the stage well for our upcoming adventure.
This 1960 LP, a present from my lovely wife, is in near mint condition. It is one of many records by Oscar Brand, a folkie from Manitoba who played alongside such legends of folk music as Lead Belly, Woody Guthrie, Josh White, The Weavers, and Pete Seeger. He has written books on the folk song and folk song collections including The Ballad Mongers: Rise of the American Folk Song, Songs Of ’76: A Folksinger’s History Of The Revolution and Bawdy Songs & Backroom Ballads. (Thanks Wikipedia)
Still with us at 95, he continues to host the Oscar Brand’s Folksong Festival radio show every Saturday at on WNYC, now in its 70th year. This show, with Brand at the helm (see what I did there?) has run more or less continuously since its debut in 1945.
All but one of the 14 tunes here were penned by Brand. Tales of drinking, diving, fellowship and all other matter of sea shanty are represented. He updates the Drunken Sailor tune to the The Captain’s Daughter and The Ten Little Indians tune to Ten Little Fishermen; tunes that were popular car trip sing-alongs from my youth, but the opening standout was this tongue twister Big Little Boat Show:
Our powerboat excursion for the day turned out to be an unpowered raft float for the day, complete with sunburns, dehydration and the kindness of strangers. All the while I was thinking of Brand’s words; “Perhaps, to Captains, I am not a captain. But please, don’t ever tell that to my boat. My boat would never believe you. My boat is proud of me. To my boat I am Captain!”