Six of us are originally members of Hanging Johnny, an all-male shanty crew who were at the forefront of the shanty revival and were together for the best part of twenty years. Following the demise of Hanging Johnny, in 2011 we went on to form Flash Jack, We liked the ‘Flash’ concept which comes from a Georgian slang term for a person living on the edge of ‘decent’ society but with a certain style and manner which endeared them to their comrades if not to the authorities. ‘Jack’ is a slang term for a sailor.
We all had a wish to find and explore the concept of performing maritime songs in an innovative way which utilised our various musical backgrounds and which encompassed not only ‘straight’ shanties but also included ballads, new songs and tunes, songs which show women’s experience of the sea (and seafarers) and songs and tunes reflecting the wider influence of coastal life and the resulting back and forth of songs and tunes between land and sea.
Traditional song, jazz, classics, theatre and English and European dance music have all had their various influences on us and all of the members of the group have performed for many years both as solo artists and with a variety of groups and bands. Currently, Rosie, Mike, Pauline and Matthew are also members of ‘Fox Amongst the Chickens’, a well-known barn dance band which has now been performing for nearly thirty years and Gideon, Rosie, Jon Stevens and Mike are well known in the Cornish/Devon Pub session scene, whilst Matthew is in demand as a session and recording musician. Pauline has a solo singing and music career and John Mortimer and Nic White are involved in many local Folk Clubs. Simon pursued an academic career involving research into the influence that maritime terminology has had on the evolution of language in Britain.
In 2018 we performed at the Whitby Seafest and Cook 250 festival and the Dartmoor Folk Festival, amongst others, and over the last few years we have appeared at many folk festivals, maritime festivals and corporate events both at home and on the mainland of Europe.Our prime aim is to entertain and encourage audience participation to to all ages.