I’d rather be in Fratton than Manhattan – the song to rival Sinatra

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SONGWRITER David Watts was walking through New York City when a thought suddenly came to him: I’d rather be in Fratton than Manhattan.

This flash of homesickness gave him the title and inspiration for a new song by his band, Captain Solent and the Swells, paying tribute to the joys of living in Portsmouth.

WE LOVE THIS CITY Dave Culver, Phil Owen, and David Watts who have written a song about Portsmouth

WE LOVE THIS CITY Dave Culver, Phil Owen, and David Watts who have written a song about Portsmouth

The 70-year-old former sailor has travelled all over the world but, along with singer Dave Culver and professional musician and producer Phil Owen, he has never found anywhere to match his home city.

‘The song is meant to be tongue in cheek,’ he said. ‘But we do all feel a real love and affection for where we live and we wanted to let people know.

‘When I was in New York I thought, well this place is great, but there’s also so much in Portsmouth we should be proud of.

‘So I wrote the song about all the things that make it a great place to live, and showed it to the others.’

The three local musicians have been working together in their spare time for seven years, but this is the first time they have decided to sell one of their songs to the public.

Former Stars in Their Eyes contestant Dave Culver, 68, has performed the song solo in shows around the city – and said it always receives an enthusiastic reaction wherever it’s played.

‘People love it,’ he said. ‘Immediately when David showed me the song I thought it was excellent.

‘We all feel the same way about Portsmouth, and think it’s a place worth shouting about.’

His band mate Phil – who recorded the song and played all the instruments – added: ‘We said to ourselves – Portsmouth needs its own song.

‘New York has the Sinatra classic, so we decided to record ours in a swing style to pay homage to that song, and also have a bit of a joke at the same time.

‘My dream is to hear it sung by hundreds of people on the terraces of Fratton Park one day, that would be the ultimate success for me.’

‘But for the time being we’re all really proud of how it’s turned out.’

The song is now available on CD from Southsea Rock on Marmion Road and Street Level in Albert Road for £3.

Copies can also be bought by emailing the band at swells838@gmail.com.