RANTER'S WHARF - John Conolly 
Recorded on "Ranter's Wharf" and "Deepwater Songs" and "Deepwater Ballads"
Sung by Stewart Hendrickson

On Ranter's Wharf the sun went sailing down
Like an old square-rigger bound for sea once more;
And in the murmur of the evening tide
I heard a small voice crying...crying on the shore

I found her weeping by the waterside
And the evening shadows like a cloak she wore-
"O Betsy Walton is my name, kind sir-
I'm here to seek my Johnny...Johnny on the shore."

"My Johnny was a handsome sailor-lad,
And I lost him in the gale of 'ninety-four-
His vessel broken on the midnight sand,
And here they found him lying...lying on the shore."

"I watch the seasons come and go, kind sir.
And I'm waiting still, for what can I do more?
Sometimes I think my Johnny's calling me-
When I hear the seagulls crying...crying on the shore."

On Ranter's Wharf the tide was turning now;
When the moon came through, no silver girl I saw-
And was I dreaming, or a drunken man-
When I heard a seagull crying...crying on the shore…

A kind of Johnny on the shore song, but this one revives one of the many superstitions or beliefs held amongst fishing communities, that the Seagulls are reincarnated souls of fishermen lost at sea. "Ranter's Wharf is a dockside alley off Grimsby's Victoria Street. It always seemed like a good title for a song, and eventually this one emerged; it is based on the traditional belief that the souls of drowned seamen are transmuted into seagulls.” From The Singing River; songs by John Conolly and Bill Meek published 1985. copyright Maypole Music.

“If you have never heard of John Conolly, let me introduce you. John comes from Grimsby, on the northeast coast of England. He has been writing and singing folk songs for more years than I care to remember. You might say he is a real folk singer and one that was around in the revival era of the 60's. Indeed, his name appears on Sidmouth, and many other festival guest lists, even earlier than Martin Carthy. Many sing some of the songs he has written over the years not knowing who wrote them. Many, quite understandably, think some of his songs are traditional. This is mainly due to the style of writing and tunes he uses. I have lost count (and I am sure John has too) of the amount of times you see his world famous song 'Fiddlers Green' listed as traditional in the credits on other artists albums. Other masterpieces (or should I say folk classics?) of his include 'Punch and Judy Man', 'Out of Season', and let's not forget his monologue 'Albert goes to Cleethorpes'. Often teamed with Bill Meeks, the pair of them must have penned over 40 songs. The theme for many of them is taken from life's observations from living in a fishing port/seaside town. The two albums I have chosen to review here are from John Conolly's solo career. If nothing else they serve to demonstrate the wide diversity of this fine singer and entertainer who is justly revered by his fellow singers, not only for his song-writing skills but also for his charm and wit.” Peter Massey (The Green Man Review)