In Chronicles, Dylan describes Paul Clayton as ‘forlorn and melancholic’ and it was, perhaps, these qualities in his character that makes his treatment of such sombre folk songs as ‘The Great Silkie of Sule Skerry’, ‘Going to Georgia’ (which he may have written himself), ‘Sad and Lonely’ and ‘The Dying Stockman’ so effective.
My favourite of these melancholy songs, however, is ”The Seaman’s Grave’ from Clayton’s album, Bay State Ballads. The simple elegance of this performance compares well, I think, with Benjamin Britten’s equally simple and affecting arrangement of ‘Tom Bowlin’, another story of a sailor lost at sea:
You can hear part of the Clayton track here:
The Britten piece can be heard in full at (the original poem it is based on is by Charles Dibdin: