The Albany Shantymen were born of an idea by Gary “Grizz” Greenwald, fresh off the boat in Albany, Western Australia. Grizz, an ex-member stalker of the Sheringham Shantymen and a fan of the shanty “The Albany Immigrants”, went to seek the husky men he knew would be singing the song from the street corners. Finding none, he set out to recruit some.
In failing to find such sturdy men, he settled for us.
The Shantymen are a group of individuals from eclectic backgrounds, who come together at least once a week to sing loudly at each other, and at least fortnightly in a public location: the Earl of Spencer Bar and Restaurant. We sing for fun, for health, to combat our demons or to pay homage to the history of the sea – we each sing for our own reason, but together we sing loud and proud.
Who we are
Andrew "Pirate" Collins
Place of origin: Gabby Quoi Quoi just to the west of East Konnongorring, WA
Favourite Shanty: Billy O'Shea
Preferred drink: Iced rainwater
Famous person you most resemble: Hansie Cronje
How you got into singing shanties: I rocked up one day to do a radio story on the Shantymen and never left.
Andrew "Pirate" Collins came to interview the Albany Shantymen one night and never left. The original plan was to hold him for ransom but neither his wife nor his employer would come to the party so now we're stuck with him. With a voice like a pirate's parrot on speed Andrew frightens children everywhere, even his own. Ten years working in radio and his primary skill is making authentic static noises. Are we really getting our 8 cents a days' worth?
"Grumpy" Barry Longworth
Place of origin: Middle Swan
Favourite Shanty: Barrett's Privateers
Preferred drink: Long Black Coffee, no sugar
Famous person you most resemble: Jesus
How you got into singing shanties: Through the Cabin Boy
"Grumpy" Barry Longworth is another skilled musician, who for reasons best known to himself thinks it important that we actually learn the words to the songs we sing. In his spare time he likes to play instruments that most people have never heard of. Grumpy Barry wrote our big hit "Jolly Rolly Dinky Di". He says it's inspired by the novel "The Sound" which some believe was in turn inspired by Grumpy Barry.
Bruce "Goat Man" Beamish
Nickname: Goat man (don't ask !)
Place of Origin: Perth
Favourite Shanty: Blood Red Roses
Preferred Drink: Shirley Temple (Ed. He is a bloody liar who is never far away when good whisky is available)
Famous person I most resemble: Alec Baldwin
How you got into singing shanties: Some eejit from the other side of the world contacted me via the Albany Irish Session facebook page and asked if we sang The Albany Immigrants. Never heard of it!
Bruce "Goat Man" Beamish "wishes he was in Sherbrooke now"; in fact anywhere other than singing with this rabble of musical incompetents. Goat Man Beamish dreams of being an Irish folk musician but he can't quite get the accent right. Once he does he hopes that Cunnilingus, the Irish National Airline, will sponsor him. He works with men in crisis and the Albany Shantymen is a natural extension of this.
Crispin "Big Hairy Coxswain" Travers
Place of origin: The Land (not House) of the Rising Sun.
Favourite Shanty: I don't like shandy. Straight beer thanks. Oh sorry...Shanty. That'd be "Holy Ground" cos my wife thinks it's about her.
Favourite drink: Anything from Albany starting with W. ie Wignalls Wine or Wilson's Beer
Famous person most resembled: With a hair cut I'm often accused of being Jeremy Clarkson but he's much nicer than me.
How I got into singing shanties: My neighbour asked me if I'd like to join a shanty group. I said "a what?"
Crispin "Big Hairy Coxswain" Travers has no discernible musical ability but as every boy band needs a pretty one, he was an obvious choice for the Albany Shantymen.
The Big Cox'ns nautical experience includes arriving in Australia by boat in 1961. Border Force are still looking for him. He also owns a kayak.
When not singing with the Albany Shantymen the Big Cox'n enjoys lying on his sofa and crying himself to sleep.
Grenville "Bazooka" Brown
Place of Origin: Not sure - I'm still waiting for the mother ship to come and collect me
Favourite Shanty: Anything loud, fast and foot stomping
Preferred Drink: A little Earl Grey Tea (or a LOT of beer)
Famous Person I Most Resemble: I think James Bond, my wife thinks Victor Meldrew
How you got into singing shanties: Well it wasn't from drinking too much Earl Grey Tea.
Grenville "Bazooka" Brown holds our finances. We pray that we don't hit the big time because then he might scarper which would be a shame. No-one can shout "Fine girl you are" the way he does. Apparently he learnt to do this working on building sites in his youth. He's also in charge of our PA.
Gary "Skipper Grizz" Greenwald
Nickname: Grizzy (people changed Greenwald to Grizwald after the national lampoons film)
Place of origin: East Angular in the U.K. (If the UK looks like a witch riding a pig then East Anglia is the pigs arse)
Favourite Shanty: The Mandalay at the moment
Preferred drink: Beer (properly pronounced bear in Norfolk)
Famous person you most resemble: I look like the bastard love child of Brian Blessed and David Bellamy
How you got into singing shanties: I wanted to be in a band but lacked any musical talent so I stalked my local shanty group in Sheringham UK till they let me sing with them.
Gary "Cap’n Grizz" Greenwald arrived in Albany a couple of years ago with nothing more than a bushy ginger beard. He assumed that the song, "The Albany Immigrants", would be a local anthem but discovered that nobody had heard of it. A big part of the problem was that no-one could understand a word he was saying. He decided then and there to form the Albany Shantymen. He also wrote "The Amity" to try and endear himself to his new adopted home. It didn’t work. Skipper Grizz works in mental health but it's not clear whether he is part of the solution or part of the problem. Australia, you be the judge.
Jared "Baby Face" Coyne
Nickname: Boy wonder! (sigh... Baby face)
Place of origin: Ye Olde Albany
Favourite Shanty: General Taylor
Preferred drink: Fuzzy nipple (or beer)
Famous person you most resemble: A young Meatloaf
How you got into singing shanties: Overheard some burly gents singing at the Vancouver festival and begged to join. (Ed. because Babyface is still only twelve we had to check if he is in fact legally old enough to sing shanties)
Subsequent to a vacancy arising from an unscheduled plank walk, Babyface was press ganged into the Albany Shantymen from the car park of the Albany Hospital. Turns out he's another sawbones but his youthful visage often causes patients to cry out from the fugue of the operating table "Nooo. Not the work experience kid!!!" It's not true that he's a castrati. What use would that be to a Shanty band?
John "Scunner" Henderson
Place of origin: Dumfries, Bonnie Scotland (The town where Robert Burns died).
Favourite Shanty: Albany Immigrants (I am one)
Preferred drink: The first half of a bottle of whisky
Famous person you most resemble: Ewan McGregor's less successful older brother
How you got into singing shanties: See answer to question 4
Mal "Father Jack" Hatwell
Nickname: Father Jack
Place of origin: Perth (probably originally at South Perth Yacht Club over the bowsprit of a VJ)!
Favourite Shanty: Bugger! I love em all!
Preferred Drink: Mmmmmmmm DRINK
Famous person I most resemble: (Ed. At 112 years old most of the people Mal looks like are long dead but if I were forced to choose I would say he looks like the old priest Jack off the comedy Father Ted)
How he joined: (Ed. we found him wandering wearing only a smile and guessed he had sung shanties on tall ships from his tattoos)
Mal "Father Jack" Hatwell was, until recently, the most recent addition to the Albany Shantymen. Once he was in we were determined to close our books. If you've seen and heard him we think you’ll understand why. Stories abound as to what happened to his eye. Was it a bar fight in Shanghai? A whipping sheet in a storm off the Horn? Shrapnel, repelling pirates on the High Barbaree? But no…it was his own miss-cast fish hook.
Marcel "Notso" Minnee
Place of origin: Katwijk, an old coastal fishing town in the Netherlands. Some say that the Vikings didn't just come from Norway...
Favourite Shanty: Too many.
Preferred drink: Erdinger Weissbier & Ardbeg.
Famous person you most resemble: Steve Austin the wrestler
How you got into singing shanties: While picking up wet lady undies with Grizz, he asked me to join.
Marcel "Notso" Minnee is a Dutchman. He claims that when he left Holland, he left his hair to Geert Wilders. If that's true, we can understand why. Numerous efforts to convince Notso that "General Taylor" is not pronounced "Genitalia" have been to no avail. None of us is game to really argue the point with him.
Martin "Sugarman" Healy
Place of origin: A salt lake out the back of Hyden
Favourite Shanty: Rolling Down to Old Maui
Preferred drink: Single Malt or stout.
Famous person you most resemble: Used to be George Costanza but now more like Bruce Willis
How you got into singing shanties: Obsessively sang along with Stan Rogers' General Taylor and Northwest Passage for years while driving to work
Martin "Sugarman" Healy was born in a lolly shop; or at least that is a dream he has most nights. He has a voice like a front end loader scraping gravel and isn't afraid to use it. In his youth Sugarman hung out with a ratbag bunch of looney left radicals. Things haven't changed much. Now he hangs out with a ratbag bunch of looneys
Matt "Junior" Beamish
Nickname: Junior, although I'm holding out for a better option.
Place of origin: Quindanning, halfway between nowhere and who-knows-where.
Favourite Shanty: Can't stop singing The Whale at the moment.
Preferred drink: Cider
Famous person you most resemble: Buggered if I know. Suggestions?
How you got into singing shanties: Badgered into it by the old man, haven't regretted it.
Matt "Junior" Beamish is the Drummer Boy's son (at least that's what his mother told him). When he opens his mouth to sing, beautiful women gasp and strong men quiver; but he doesn't let that stop him, he just goes ahead anyway. As the second-youngest of the group, Junior appears to be the most technologically skilled. He enjoys searching the internet for obscure sea shantys - well that's what he tells his wife he's doing. He also likes to show off his youth by reading lyrics off his phone, in a font that is too small for any normal person to read.
Peter "D'Orse" Dawson
Place of origin: From Albany
Favourite shanty: Rock Dunder
Preferred Drink: Guinness
Famous person you most resemble: Harvey Crumpet
How you got into singing shanties: A wee grizzled man appeared out of nowhere and hypnotised me and bade me " follow"
Pete "D'Orse" Dawson works with Skipper Griz in mental health. We're pretty sure that one of them is the other ones carer. We just can't work out which is which. D'Orse hopes to become a musician and singer/song writer one day. We're all praying that he does too.
"Jolly" Roger Arnold
Nickname: Jolly Roger
Place of origin: The Bush
Favourite Shanty: Eliza Lee
Preferred drink: IPA
Famous person you most resemble: A golf ball
How you got into singing shanties: IPA
Don’t be fooled by "Jolly" Roger Arnold's look of youthful innocence. Comparing his mind to an open sewer would be an insult to sewers everywhere. He's a talented singer, so if it wasn't for his ability to find a double entendre in every song we sing, we'd probably have let him go a long time ago. We would tell you what the Jolly Roger does for a living but we don't want to alarm parents.