A Sailor’s life published

John ShortFinally, the biography of John Short – Yankee Jack, the shantyman from Watchet in Somerset – is finished!  It is being published on 23rd September – the centenary of Cecil Sharp’s last collecting visit to John.  And just in time for Christmas, too!

The result is a remarkably detailed account of his life story, the ships he sailed on, and the shanties he sang as he sailed all over the world.  The book draws on archive material such as ships log-books and biannual returns, Lloyds shipping list, local newspapers and a host of other sources.  It gives a rare insight into the life of a merchant mariner from the great days of sail.

If you can/want to get to the ‘launch’, it’s at the Bell Inn, 3 Market Street, Watchet TA23 0AN from noon to 2 p.m. on September 23rd and you’d be very welcome – but RSVP if you’re coming, so we can make sure there are enough nibbles!

If you can’t, but still wish to buy a copy, there’s an order form attached, or you can download a form from www.umbermusic.co.uk/BookOrder.pdf.


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