The final 'line-up' of Ian Hudson, Rupert Kirby, John Parker and Tony Piper involved themselves in all types of Folk Music maintaining a strong affiliation with maritime music and song. In all Hearts of Oak gave a very polished, yet relaxed performance. They were capable of holding their audiences' attention as well as communicating with their public at every level from the very young to the very old. Each member of Hearts of Oak encouraged audience participation as and when their audiences felt inclined, or as the spirit moved them. Each performance was tailored to suit all tastes and could be instantly changed to suit their audience’s moods in whatever circumstances the group found themselves.
Our Secretaries and Treasurer.
Hearts of Oak Albums can now be purchased and downloaded from the Internet! The proceeds from this will go to support the work of the RNLI, and the Kathleen and May Trust
GO toWoven Wheat Whispers
A legal folk download site
It was in the year of 1982, (our National Maritime year) that Hearts of Oak first established themselves in the world of 'Sea Music and song', although the group first came into being a year earlier as 'North Devon Shantymen' formed by John Parker the group founder and the only remaining member of the original group. Originally it was just a small number of friends and people who were fond of maritime music and singing the old sea shanties and songs.
Since the early days the group has gone through a number of changes, not only in personnel but in the type of music performed. It was in 1984 that the group first became involved in the internationally famous 'Cutty Sark' Tall ship races and were asked to perform wherever and whenever the tall ships visited the UK, from Liverpool to Plymouth, from Milford Haven to Southampton and from Newcastle to Ipswich. They were firm favourites with such groups as 'The Spinners' and Tony Davis of the Spinners has been recorded as saying,
"Since the memorable summer of 1984 Hearts of Oak have been stalwarts of the Merseyside festivals making hosts of friends and giving immense pleasure to all who hear them. Long may they continue going from strength to strength."
Another character, no stranger to the world of sea music and song, was Stan Hugill who befriended Hearts of Oak until he died in May 1992, just one month before they were to meet up at the Sea Festival at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut, USA. Stan Hugill said of Hearts of Oak,
"I was attracted to both the strength of their voices and their delivery. To me they have proved an excellent and progressive group"This from a man who was the last 'real' Shantyman is some accolade. Hearts of Oak have outstanding invitations to visit European and American venues that have yet to be honoured. It is only due to other professional and personal commitments that these invitations have been temporarily shelved.
Hearts of Oak gave their last official performance on Saturday 4th November 2006 at the George Hotel in South Molton.