Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Johnny Collins, Shantyman - RIP

Music has qualities like smell does; both can take you back in time and for an instant you feel a calm out-of-body experience that can make history more real than anything you read in a book. Think about the time you inhaled a passerby's perfume that your ex-girlfriend used to wear 10 years ago, or that terrible Lords of Acid song you heard in the girls' dormitory back in college.

Listening to a well-sung sea chantey makes me feel warm and comfortable, as if I'm plying Chesapeake waters in a creaky wooden sailboat before stinkpots and fiberglass hulls existed -- the aural equivalent of drinking a good scotch on a snowy night in front of a fireplace while chatting with Herman Melville in the late 1800s. And few people did it quite as well as Johnny Collins who, I just found out, passed away last month. Here he is doing what he did best:

I bought this great shantyman's album a while ago and it gets lots of play every year during my annual sailing trip. I'm now at a stage in my life when music is not very important to me, but these old sailing songs always lift my mood and make me feel warm inside. In part, I thank Johnny Collins for that. God bless his soul.
Couldn't agree more. You put that very well. Great post.
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