We're The Motley Crew

We like sea shanties

We sing to raise money for the RNLI

Have beer? We'll travel!

lifebeltLong, long ago, a group of like minded chaps in Brightlingsea, Essex, hit on the idea of singing sea shanties for fun.

Despite it being a late night at the yacht club, most of us remembered the idea the day after and thus The Motley Crew was born. From there we’ve gone on to sing shanties and songs of the sea at fetes, smack and barge matches, regattas, dinners, weddings and numerous other events, raising money for our chosen charity, the RNLI (as most of us sail, we figure we might need them some day). We also get together at Christmas to sing traditional wassail carols.

We don’t take ourselves too seriously and we think audiences appreciate our robust approach – so long as we all enjoy ourselves and the RNLI gets a few more well-deserved pennies out of our efforts, that’s all that matters.

If you’d like us to appear at your event, please contact us. 

In 2017 we raised:

For the RNLI

So far in 2018 we’ve raised:

For the RNLI

This is where the money goes:

“Speaking with our staff, they felt that the shanties really brought the ship to life. It goes without saying that you are welcome to come back and perform again in the future.” Arron Hewett

General Manager, Cutty Sark

We sound like this

Click on the music players to hear clips of The Motley Crew in glorious stereo action!

  • Admiral Benbow
  • A-Roving
  • All Coiled Down
  • A Sailor Ain’t A Sailor
  • Billy O’Shea
  • Rolling Down to Brightlingsea
  • Cape Cod Girls
  • Fiddlers Green
  • Collier Brig
  • Sally Brown
  • Old Shipmates
  • Shenandoah
  • South Australia
  • Shipwrecked
  • Sam’s Gone Away

If you like how we sound...

... you'll want one of these.

buy our cd

“Rolling Down to Brightlingsea” features 15 shanties and songs of the sea.

For the just £8.50 you’ll receive an album of great music AND bask in the satisfying glow of knowing that you’re supporting the RNLI. All profits go to the Brightlingsea branch of this fine organisation.


I’ve just paid good money for a CD of yours , and I want you to know that I’m appalled. I’m appalled that you haven’t yet got a golden disc – it’s absolutely brilliant!  I do so love to hear you sing and I applaud your objective. Mike Fletcher

Where to see us

Harwich International Shanty Festival, October 14:

  1. Harwich & Dovercourt Sailing Club, 12.00
  2. The Stingray, 14:00
  3. Samuel Pepys Wine Bar, 15:00

Harwich International Shanty Festival, October 15:

  1. Morning Service, St Nicholas Church, 09:30
  2. Harwich Town Sailing Club, 12:00
  3. St Nicholas Church, Final concert, from 15:15

Here's why we do it


Like to find out more?

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