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The Library of Congress's recording of this song is therefore on a cylinder rather than a disc.It resides in the archive of the American Folklife Center, where it can be heard by the general public during reading room hours; a transcription of the Tayluer lyrics is available here.In 1966, the Liverpool group The Spinners recorded it, making it a revival standard in England as well.It has since become one of the most popular songs in the revival, and has been performed and recorded by dozens of artists.That album featured Louis Killen as an accompanist and backup singer, so he learned the song for the album.Killen soon decided to perform it himself, and recorded it in 1963. Kelly in turn taught it to the folk group The Dubliners and the singer Liam Clancy of The Clancy Brothers, who were then living and working in America.The song's narrator laments his long sailing trip to California and the thought of leaving his loved ones (especially his "own true love"). The Leaving of Liverpool has been recorded by many popular folk singers and groups since the 1950s.
The song was first brought into the Folk Revival by Ewan Mac Coll, who learned it from Doerflinger's book and recorded it on the album A Sailor's Garland, produced by American folklorist Kenny Goldstein for the Prestige International label in 1962.After recording Tayluer, Doerflinger duly shipped the recordings and the recording machine back to the Library of Congress, but several discs were broken or lost, including the one that contained "The Leaving of Liverpool." He made it clear in his correspondence that he considered it one of the most important songs in the collection.Therefore, he collected it from Tayluer a second time, this time on a dictaphone cylinder, the only technology he could borrow at short notice.It is very well known in Britain, Ireland, and America, despite the fact that it was collected only twice, from the Americans Richard Maitland and Captain Patrick Tayluer.It was collected from both singers by William Main Doerflinger, an American folksong collector particularly associated with sea songs, in New York.