The Liverpool Fishermen – Swallow The Anchor (1971)

frontcover1The Liverpool Fishermen was a 1970s Liverpool folk singing group consisting of Brian Jacques, his brothers Tony Jacques (older) and Jimmy Jacques (younger), and other Liverpudlians Bobby Dyson, Alan Fitzgerald, and Bernard Davis.
The Jacques brothers were the vocalists of the group; Dyson played guitar and banjo; Fitzgerald played 12 and 6 string guitars, and Davis also played banjo.
Their musical repertoire included “traditional and contemporary, Irish and Liverpool songs, monologues, etc.”
Jimmy and Tony Jacques later emigrated to New Zealand; Tony passed away there in 1998. After 12 years, Jimmy returned to the UK to assist with the Redwall business.
All members of the group were born and raised in Liverpool, and described themselves as having a strong penchant for beer – often times Guinness. Their advertising stated that they performed “wakes, weddings, Irish fights, folk clubs, [and] French TV.” (
And this is their first Album …  a geat album with folk and sailor songs from good old England !
“Swallow the Anchor” is an old phrase meaning to retire from sea service.
“One Sunday night at Pete McGoverns County Ward Folk Club the audience were being regaled with Billy Moore’s rendition of ‘Bonny Boy Growing’ when half a dozen desperate looking characters (all well oiled) and armed with rods, creels and fishing gear, stamped in. During the ensuing confusion, a large wet fish was smacked on the table under the noses of Messrs Moore & McGovern “there y’are Billy lad, fry that fer yer dinner” Peter McGovern (may his shadow never grow less) said something quite unprintable & Billy (whom we hold in high regard) said “it’s those bloody Fishermen again.” All that remained was to change ‘bloody’ for ‘Liverpool’ and thus began ‘The Liverpool Fishermen’. For some years previous to this, the Jacques brothers, Tony, Brian & Jimmy had been singing unaccompanied (unless twenty odd pints of Draught Guinness can be called an accompaniment) their stamping grounds was mainly the Liverpool dock area pubs, who frequently had an Irish Licensee & as fast as the front door shut, the back door opened. Many a night was spent boozin’ and singin’ until the A.M. Some time later Bobby Dyson (Guitar-Banjo) & Alan Fitzgerald (Guitar, twelve & six) joined the Jacques’s & though Bobby now lives in County Durham he is still counted within the ranks. Then followed a series of gigs, typically Liverpool style, weddings & wakes & “do’s” which seem to materialize from nowhere. Many an unsuspecting manager or club owner would offer to buy the ale in lieu of a cash fee (poor fool) Some even commented that it would be easier to pour it down the Mersey Tunnel. Bernard Davis plays a raucous banjo so he was next to sign up (being a good boozer helps) the group were then playing all the surrounding folk clubs & many outside towns. Material for ‘Fishermen’ is a blend of Irish, Liverpool, Shanty & their own material in which Liverpool (scouse) dialect monologues frequently occur also there is the ale, which plays the main part.

The members all live & work on Merseyside & having been all born & bred in the Holy City, the capital of Dublin, call it what you will, we are the Liverpool Fishermen an ‘its our ‘ockee! (don’t knock it down.)” (J.B. Jacques; taken from the original liner notes)
If you like traditional Songs from England … you should listen, because this is a real strong Album.
Bernard Davis (banjo)
Bobby Dyson (guitar, banjo)
Alan Fitzgerald (guitar)
Brian Jacques (vocals)
Jimmy Jacques (vocals)
Tony Jacques (vocals)
01. Swallow The Anchor (Jacques) 2.19
02. Maggie May (Traditional) 2.30
03. Foggy Dew (Traditional) 2.49
04. Yate’s White’s Blues (Jacques) 2.19
05. Bill Hart’s Favourite (Traditional) 1.04
06. The Ould Triangle (Behan) 1.48
07. Home Boys Home (Traditional) 3.53
08. In My Liverpool Home (McGovern) 3.05
09. The Marmalade Tom (Jacques) 2.40
10. The Bingo (Jacques) 1.50
11. Dan O’Hara (Traditional) 2.12
12. Red Haired Mary (McCarthy) 3.41
13. Leaving Liverpool (Traditional) 3.16
A truck driver’s son, Brian Jacques was born on June 15, 1939, and reared by the Liverpool docks. At 10, after writing a fine short story about a bird and a crocodile, he was caned by his teacher, who thought it too good to have been the work of a child.
He left school at 15 to work as a merchant seaman, the first in a decades’-long series of blue-collar jobs.
In his later years he wrote many books for children …  including the best-selling 21-volume children’s fantasy series (“Redwall”)
Sadly, Brian passed away on the 5th February 2011.