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Various Artists

Sea Conditions - Swell Songs And Shanties for Breezy People

Review by Gary Hill

This set wasn't quite what I expected. I was thinking we'd get a lot of sea shanties done by musicians who were more or less historic recreationists. I figured that would be contrasted with more rock and jazz based numbers centered around seafarers. I think I would have preferred this, but this disc works pretty well. It's more about folk music, country angles and other similar things. Not everything here wins me over, but much of it gives it a good try.

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Track by Track Review
The Four Lads - Blue Tattoo
Old time pop music based, this is fun, but not really my kind of thing.
The Roger Wagner Chorale - Earlye In The Morning (Drunken Sailor)

This is a fun chorale arrangement. It's very much old-time music based. It's entertaining and has some musical theater elements.

The Kingston Trio - The Tattooed Lady
A little goofy, this has a bouncy country meets folk feeling to it.
Jimmie Driftwood - Driftwood At Sea
The mix of sounds on this is similar to that on the previous one. The cut works better for me, though.
Pee Wee King & His Golden West Cowboys - Fisher's Hornpipe (traditional)      
This instrumental piece has a Cajun hoedown vibe to it. It's a fun song with a lot of energy.
Terry Gilkyson with The Mello Men - Mackerel Fleet
The music feels like a lullaby. The vocals have a very old-time sound. Mind you, I'm not talking pirate era, old time, but maybe turn of the 20th century. 
The Kingston Trio - Blow Ye Winds             
I like this a lot. It has some great energy and a solid vocal arrangement. This is very much folk music of the classy variety.
The Roger Wagner Chorale with Harve Presnell - Fifteen Men On Dead Man's Chest
This sea shanty is done with so much style and charm. I love the vocal arrangement on the tune. I'd consider this to be one of the real highlights here.
Jimmie Driftwood - Santy Anny-O
A sea shanty delivered with a healthy helping of country music, this is another winner.
Hank Snow - La Paloma
This instrumental has some great melodies. It's an intricate and potent piece of music. I'd consider this to be one of the highlights here, really.     
Petula Clark - Sailor   
This song feels a little precious as it gets underway. It works to more of a country-leaning piece of old time pop music. It definitely has plenty of charms.    
The Easy Riders - Life On The Ocean Waves           
A folk music based sea shanty, this is a fun number.
The Kingston Trio - Bonny Hielan' Laddie
While this is also a folk tune, this feels more traditional in its sea shanty concept. This is another highlight of the set. It's just so cool.
Charles Trenet - La Mer        
The strings on this are a bit too precious for me. The vocals are in French. This one doesn't really work for me. It does bring some variety to the table, though.
The Easy Riders - The Sea Is Green
Decidedly mellow, the vocals are the main thing here. This is slow moving and not really one of the highlights here. The arrangement feels a little over the top to me.
Jimmie Driftwood - Sailing Away On The Ocean
Very much a down-home country based piece, this is fun stuff.
Martin Denny - The Enchanted Sea
This instrumental piece has some musical theater angles and contemporary pop stylings. It's a very effective song.
Gary Mills - Treasure Island             
Old time rock and roll is on display here. This is bouncy and fun.
The Kingston Trio - Coast Of California
I really love the instrumental work on this. It's an up-tempo folk piece that is very effective. It's one of my favorites here.
Jimmie Driftwood - Sailor, Sailor Marry Me          
We're back into more country based stuff with this duet based tune. 
The Roger Wagner Chorale - Sailing, Sailing
This is a chorale arrangement of a sea shanty. It works well.
The Easy Riders - Rollin' Home
Another folk music based number, this is entertaining.      
The Kingston Trio - Blow The Candle Out
A mellower folk song, this is packed full of magic and style.
Jimmie Driftwood - The Ship That Never Returned
Folk meets country on this tune. I like the intricate instrumental work, but otherwise this doesn't work that well for me.         
The Easy Riders - Windjammer
This is energetic and works well.
The Roger Wagner Chorale - Erie Canal
Based on old-time musical theater, this doesn't work well for me.  
Cliff Bruner's Texas Wanderers - My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean
There is a bit of a Hawaiian music thing to this. This another that's a miss for my tastes, but the instrumental section comes close to working.
The Kingston Trio - Haul Away
This is another strong piece. It has a great energy and some cool melodies in an up-tempo folk arrangement.       
The Easy Riders - Eddystone Light
A catchy romp, I really like this one a lot.    
The Kingston Trio - With You My Johnny
A bouncy number, this is fun.          
Leonard Warren - The Drunken Sailor      
This is a different version of the earlier tune. I like this one better. It feels a little too theatrical, but also has a very traditional vibe to it. In fact, this is one of the most traditional sounding shanties here. It's a great choice to close the disc.
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