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Singer/songwriter Cyril Tawney was the iron man of the British folk revival, touring clubs and festivals for close to half a century — a stretch unrivaled by any of his contemporaries. Tawney was born into a naval family in Gosport, Hampshire, on October 12, 1930, following tradition by enlisting himself at the age of 16. In all, he spent a dozen years as a naval electrician, five of them aboard submarines. As his military career drew to a close, Tawney began taking steps toward a life in music, and on Christmas Day 1957 he made his radio debut on the BBC special Home Service's Sing Christmas and the Turn of the Year, introduced by host and musicologist Alan Lomax as "Petty Officer Tawney of the HMS Murray." (Tawney later credited earlier Lomax-hosted broadcasts as his introduction to traditional folk music, while his Royal Navy tenure was the obvious inspiration for his career-long fascination with maritime songs.) Tawney exited the navy in mid-1959 and immediately entered a new career as a radio performer. In October 1961, he played his first solo club date, and two years later released his debut EP, Baby Lie Easy. Although he gravitated to traditional material, especially the songs of southwestern England made famous by Sabine Baring-Gould, Tawney was a skilled writer in his own right, documenting the seaman's life with rare lyricism and poignancy. His songs, most notable among them "The Grey Funnel Line," "A Lean and Unwashed Tiffy," "The Ballad of Sammy's Bar," and "Sally Free and Easy," were later covered by singers including Bob Dylan, Davy Graham, and Carolyn Hester. After a series of short-lived record label affiliations Tawney landed with Argo in 1969. There he would produce the bulk of his studio output, including 1972's near-definitive In Port. In 1988 he founded his own label, Neptune Tapes, where he remained for the duration of his recording career. Following a long illness, Tawney died at his home in Devon on April 21, 2005.