Number five in my Top Ten Titanic Toe-Tappers is The Legend Of The U.S.S. Titanic, a thirteen-minute “talking blues” recorded by New England folkie Jaime Brockett in 1969.
It’s an archetypal, freeform 1960s’ extravaganza, similar in style to Arlo Guthrie’s more familiar Alice’s Restaurant, though unlike Guthrie’s epic, Brockett’s piece was never made into a movie.
Loosely built around Leadbelly’s The Titanic, it includes a substantial walk-on part for heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson. Brockett also introduces an entirely new character into the saga, however, a first mate with a penchant for smoking hemp rope. Naturally he turns Captain Smith on to his poison of choice, with disastrous consequences…
I had hoped to include a link here to buy the track, but sadly it’s not available on iTunes, while on Amazon the CD that contains it costs over £100.
Amazon did at least tell me that p.354 of Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness includes the line “Wanda said abruptly: ‘Can I have a drink, Jamie?’ Brockett poured her out a stiff brandy and soda.”