HERE we have songs of the sea, shanties, traditional songs reinterpreted and original material all packed into a dynamic, effervescent two-hour set by acclaimed folk outfit The Salts.

They really should be known as the Old Salts, as the members of this stirring quintet have been around the block (or should that be around the bay?) enough times to make them seasoned salty sea dogs.

Imagine Fishermen’s Friends’ younger brothers on Red Bull, or stripped back Bellowhead, with expert musicianship, great camaraderie and a rock’n’roll outlook on life.

The Salts, who all sing, are: Brian Doran (mandolin, whistle); Lee Collinson (banjo, acoustic guitar); Jeremy Hart (acoustic guitar); Richard Nash (drums) and newest member Tim Cantrell (double bass).

And they have plenty of musical heritage, previously performing with the likes of Ben E King, Arthur Brown, Thunderclap Newman, George McCrae, Barb Jungr, Katrina & the Waves, the Pasadenas and even Pete Best.

Doran and Collinson (twice a BBC Young Folk finalist) might be known to folks as members of the unheralded duo The Richard IIIs, or they might not.

The Salts have two albums to their name, Brave from 2018 and She Rises three years previously, as well as a couple of singles, but it is very much in the live environment where they thrive.

And here they were, all dressed in the folk outfit of waistcoat and grandad shirt, excellent patter, a buoy band in all aspects other than that they come from Dorking.

The opening tune Johnny Come Down To Hilo set the standard for the evening, followed swiftly by Hanging Johnny, Good Ship Beth, Alabama John Cherokee (in a Soul II Soul style) and the traditional Drunken Sailor and Fifteen Men.

You get the picture, sea shanties with a difference, with the odd original thrown in, all driven by Nash’s drums, so refreshing in a folk combo.

Dead Horse told the story of useless young sailors, Haul The Line referenced refugees landing in a new land, Silver And Shame did the same for smuggling and Fire Marengo was or was not about Napoleon’s horse, depending in who was introducing it.

Brave, played as a request, and London Town – with Hart’s vocals reminiscent of The Levellers’ Mark Chadwick – stood out, but the second half highlight was very much Runnin’ Down To Cuba, which Collinson claimed he had only ever previously heard in Assassin’s Creed. And he was right – Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag!

The Salts are without doubt worth their salt and should really be orbiting larger stages. Maybe one day.

However, whether it was wise to finish with a reggae version of Blow The Man Down is a matter of opinion – the previous barnstorming tracks Bulgine Run (I think) and Heiland Laddie might have been better closers.

Although Salts gigs are currently fairly sporadic, they are very much festival favourites and can be seen again at Swanage Folk Festival in September.

An excellent evening.