Roll & Go
Songs of the Seas by Roll & Go

The romantic image of a tall ship outward bound would not be complete without the sounds of the crew echoing across the waters as they sing their worksongs while hauling up the anchor and setting the sails:

Heave a pawl, oh, heave away,
Way, hey, roll an' go!
The anchor's on board
An' the cable's all stored,
To me rollicking, randy, dandy-o!

Roll & Go is a Maine group of men and women who love to sing "sea shanties" and other songs of the sea. Over the past 20 years their spirited performances have earned them a growing reputation among festival and concert goers in Maine and New England.

The group has been featured at the Mystic Sea Music Festival (CT), the Great Schooner Race in Penobscot Bay, the Maine Festival, the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, the Portsmouth Maritime Festival (NH), the Pilgrim Museum & Monument in Provincetown (MA), as well as many tall-ship special events and community concerts. The shanties are sung unaccompanied, combining strong solo work with tight harmonies on the refrain and chorus. The ballads are generally backed up by banjo, guitar, concertina, washtub bass and/or penny whistle.

In 2002 they released their first CD, Outward Bound. Their second CD, Rolling Down to Sailortown, was released in 2006 and their most recent CD, Look Out!, was released in 2010.

Roll and GoThe current roster of five people is a diverse mix of individuals. Eli Dale of Portland is an administrative assistant. Norris Dale of Portland is a quality control engineer. Dick Dufresne of Kennebunk is a retired high school guidance counselor. Charlie Ipcar of Richmond is a landlord and energy efficient housing developer. Jeff Logan of Portland is an acupuncturist.

Life on the sea was often short, brutal, lonely, and joyless for sailors, except for strong drink, flashgirls and the solace of song. The songs they sang were generally for fun or to help with their work. Their recreational songs, called fo'c'sle or forebitters, were likely to be sung either in the crew's quarters below or, in good weather, up on the fo'c'sle head with the singer sitting on the forebitts and the crowd off-watch lolling about. These songs tend to tell a good tale, sometimes ribald, sometimes wistful or melancholy. Their work songs, called shanties, are usually fairly short with solo lines and hearty choral refrains essential for raising the anchor, pumping the bilge or working the sails. With shanties the sense of words is less important than the rhythm that helped the sailors to time their movements, to heave or haul together. Nowadays, both kinds of songs are more often sung ashore than at sea. The fo'c'sle songs keep their popularity because of their lusty lyrics, outrageous storylines, or historical content. The shanties are enjoyed chiefly because they give everyone a chance to join in heartily.

With Roll & Go you'll hear the old songs brought back to life, and some newer songs that highlight current conditions in our merchant marine and fishing industry. Whether you're young or old, you're bound to have a lot of fun!

More info:
download this press release

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picture of Roll and Go beside an anchor at Mystic Seaport

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Roll & Go at Anchor
Mystic Sea Music Festival 2006
Photographed by Judy Barrows
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Picture of Roll and Go on the main stage at the Mystic Sea Music Festival

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Roll & Go at Light House Point
Mystic Sea Music Festival 2006
Photographed by Wendy West


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