THE NOMINATIONS FOR THE NAUTICAL BUT NICE AWARD ARE AS FOLLOWS:
Hold Fast by the Sail Pattern
Chris Ricketts claims to sing sea shanties with a twist. I am not quite sure what the twist is. I think it may be "good singing". He ooozes authenticity and sincerity. He sings Hanging Johnny (a relatively meaningless work song) with a mixture of melancholy and menace. ("I'd hang the holy family...'cos hanging is so bloody funny.") He sings Bound For South Australia with straightforward honesty and a didgereedoo, which mysteriously causes you to forget that such a band as Fisherman's Friends ever existed. He sings the full dress version of Spanish Ladies with guitars and seagulls and no lyrical concessions to landlubbers ("till we strike the soundings in the channels of old England"). He sings North West Passage, which might actually be a step too far. I heard him open for Martin Simpson, which is something no guitarist should ever have to do. There's something modest and warm and real in his voice; as if a hundred year old sea dog has somehow got stuck in the body of a hobbit.
Tomorrow We'll Be Sober by Blackbeard's Tea Party
It was a dem close run thing, but the judge awarded the prize to Sail Pattern so he could claim to have liked them before they went mainstream.