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1
When the Ship Comes In
Bob Dylan
03:14
2
Longer Boats
Yusuf / Cat Stevens
03:12
3
Boat on the Charles - 2015 Remaster
Todd Rundgren
04:27
4
(Sittin' On) the Dock of the Bay
Otis Redding
02:43
5
Proud Mary
Ike & Tina Turner
04:57
6
Rockin' In The Same Old Boat
Bobby "Blue" Bland
03:33
7
Night Boat To Cairo
Madness
03:31
8
Drunken Boat
The Pogues
06:37
9
Antilles méchant bateau
Mahy
04:13
10
DayO (Banana Boat Song)
Harry Belafonte
03:05
11
(The Sloop) John B. - Mono
Arthur Lyman
02:47
12
Dois Barcos
Los Hermanos
04:40
13
Cargo culte
Serge Gainsbourg
07:40
14
Barco negro
Mariza
04:00
15
My Boat
Melissa Laveaux
04:19
16
LITW
Afrikan Boy
05:18
17
My Ship
Miles Davis
04:27
18
O Barquinho
Maysa
02:16
19
On A Slow Boat To China
Ella Fitzgerald, Joe Pass
05:09
20
The Crystal Ship
The Doors
02:32
21
The Empty Boat
Gal Costa, Jards Macalé
04:05
22
Ship Ahoy
The O'Jays
09:37
23
Wooden Ships - 2005 Remaster
Crosby, Stills & Nash
05:26
24
Les voiles du bateau
Jacques Haurogné
02:53
25
In Lure of the Tropics
Dr. John
05:01
26
Vapor De São Francisco
Clara Nunes
03:28
27
Don't Rock My Boat
Bob Marley & The Wailers
04:30
28
Big Ship
Freddie McGregor
03:18
29
Cargo
Axel Bauer
04:50
30
Liner
The Fixx
03:38

Ships and oceans

Over rivers and seas, human adventure can always be found on boats and much can be imagined there. All aboard for a musical tour of the islands and oceans!

‘Longer boats are coming to win us’, wrote Cat Stevens in 1970. In every language and in every style, there are songs that speak to us of the great ships we can watch from the shore (Bob Dylan, “When the Ship is Coming”), or of sitting on a quay at sunset, contemplating the horizon (Otis Redding’s “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay”). When a ship docks, it’s quite an event. What is it carrying? Gainsbourg wondered what part of Africa has it come from (“Cargo Culte”)? When it departs, Henri Salvador’s imagination takes over (“Les Voiles du Bateau” by Jacques Haurogné).

Even when viewed from the shore, the sea remains an unknown place, full of danger and mystery, on which all sorts of legendary or ghostly ships sail (“Barco Negro”, an old Brazilian song renamed for the cinema, “Crystal Ship” by the Doors). Wooden boats sink under the helpless gaze of those left on land (Crosby, Stills & Nash’s “Wooden Ships”). Leaving their Caribbean or Pacific haunts, pirate ships scour the oceans (Dr John, “In Lure of the Tropics”). This crossing has also long been associated with trade and with slave routes (“Antilles Méchant Bateau”, “Ship Ahoy” by the O'Jays, “LITW” by African Boy).

Despite the risks, the desire to embark and set sail is strong. If possible on an ocean cruiser (Freddie McGregor’s “Big Ship”) or on a transatlantic liner (The Fixx’s “Liner”). Whether it’s crossing seas, canals, and rivers (Todd Rungren, “Boat on the Charles”) or going up river (Ike & Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary”, Clara Nunes’ “Vapor de São Francisco”, Madness’ “Night Boat to Cairo”), taking a boat means escaping from the world and its problems and going on an adventure – sometimes a very long one (Ella Fitzgerald & Joe Pass “On a Slow Boat to China”). But sometimes it’s nothing more than a waking dream (Gal Costa & Jards Macalé, “The Empty Boat”).

Once on board, when the siren signalling departure sounds, it’s a different story. Whatever the state of the boat, the spectator now becomes a sailor,  (Bobby Bland, “Rockin’ in the Same Old Boat”), or a maniacal and exclusive owner (Miles Davis’ “My Ship”, Melissa Laveaux’s “My Boat”, Bob Marley, “Don't Rock My Boat”). In Axel Bauer’s maritime imagination, the boat remains a very masculine space (“Cargo”). In the Pogues’ imagination the captain is not afraid of storms and has to bring the cargo to port at all costs (“Drunken Boat”). And after weeks of hard sailing, the crew only wants one thing: to return home safely (Sloop John B in an instrumental version by Arthur Lyman, “DayO” by Harry Bellafonte).

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