A radio-ballad about Britain’s herring fishing communities by Ewan MacColl, Charles Parker & Peggy Seeger

Britain’s herring fishing communities are the subject of this, perhaps the best-remembered and most widely heard of all the radio-ballads. It was broadcast in more than 80 countries, and won the 1960 Prix d’Italia for radio documentary. Several of MacColl’s songs for Singing The Fishing quickly entered the repertoire of a generation of folk singers.

1  Up jumped the herring, the king of the sea… 2.03
2  Come all you gallant fishermen… 1.54
3 It’s up with the dawn… 4.45
4  Years ago, you started very young… 4.24
5  I started to go to sea in 1892 … 1.49
6  So it’s off with a boiler full Of steam… 3.55
7  When the wind is freshening … 5.00
8  What shall it profit a fisherman… 2.54
9  It’s busk ye, my lads, get you up on the deck… 2.30
10  There’s no feeling like coming into harbour… 3.15
11  Came a’ye fisher lassies… 3.32
12  Up jumped the herring… 10.26
13  Cwa, ye herring fishermen… 4.36
14  A’ the week your man’s away… 3.55
15  Wi’ our nets and gear … 2.05
16  Our ships are small … 2.43

Script, song lyrics and music: Ewan MacColl
Orchestration and musical direction: Peggy Seeger
Chorus Direction: Katharine Thomson
Actuality recording: Ewan MacColl, Charles Parker and Peggy Seeger
Production: Charles Parker
Technical Direction: John Clarke

Ian Campbell, John Clarence, A.L.Lloyd, Ewan MacColl, Elizabeth Stewart, Jane Stewart
Martin Marshall, Gordon McCulloch, John O’Reilly, David Phillips, Jack Thomas, J.R.S.Wright
Jim Bray double bass Fitzroy Coleman guitar – Alf Edwards English concertina – Kay Graham fiddle – Peggy Seeger autoharp, mandolin, 5-string banjo – Bruce Turner clarinet, alto saxophone

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