Archive for the 'Seafaring' Category



Greenland Whale Fisheries


h1 Tuesday, February 1st, 2000

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This is a slightly different version of a very popular whaling song.
Lyrics:
G D G
They signed us with a whaling crew
C Em D
For the icy Greenland ground
G Em C Am
They said we’d take a shorter way,
Am G D G Em
While we was outward bound brave boys
Em G D G
While we was outward bound

Oh the lookout up in the barrel stood
With a spyglass in his hand
There’s a whale there’s a whale there’s a whale he cried
And she blows at every span brave boys
And she blows at every span

The captain stood on the quarter-deck
And the ice was in his eye
Overhaul overhaul let your davit tackles fall
And put your boats to sea brave boys
And put your boats to sea

Well the boats got down and the men aboard
And the whale was full in view
Resolve resolve let these whaler men know
To see where the whale fish blew brave boys
To see where the whale fish blew

Well the harpoon struck, the line ran out
The whale give a floody with his tail
And he upset the boat, we lost half a dozen men
No more, no more Greenland for you brave boys
No more no more Greenland for you

Bad news bad news the captain said
And it grieved his heart full sore
But the losing of that hundred pound whale
Oh it grieved him ten times more brave boys
Oh it grieved him ten times more

Oh Greenland is a dreadful place
A land that’s never green
Where the cold winds blow and the whale fish go
And the daylight's seldom seen brave boys
And the daylight's seldom seen

Traditional / Arr. Roger McGuinn
(c) 2000 McGuinn Music / Roger McGuinn

Liverpool Gals


h1 Tuesday, June 1st, 1999

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Another song with a warning for for seamen.
Lyrics:
G D G
When I was a youngster I sailed with the rest
G D G
On a Liverpool packet bound out for the West
G D G
We anchored a day in the harbor of Cork
G D G F
Then put out to sea for the port of New York
D
And it’s row, row bullies row
G D G D G
Them Liverpool gals they have got us in tow

For thirty-two days we was hungry and sore
For the wind was agin’ us and the gales they did roar
But at Battery Point we did anchor at last
With the gig-boom hold to and the canvas all fast
And it’s row, row bullies row
Them Liverpool gals they have got us in tow

Them boardinghouse masters was a-boarding us twice
And shouting and promising all that was nice
And one fat old crimp took a fancy to me
And he said I was foolish to follow the sea
And it’s row, row bullies row
Them Liverpool gals they have got us in tow

Then being as a doorman is awaiting for you
With rations of liquor, and nothin’ to do
Now what do you say, what would you jump up to
Says I you won’t linger, and danged if I do
And it’s row, row bullies row
Them Liverpool gals they have got us in tow

But the best of intentions they never goes far
After thirty-two days at the door of a bar
I dust off me liquor and what do you think
That rotten old skipper he’s doctored me drink
And it’s row, row bullies row
Them Liverpool gals they have got us in tow

The next I remember I awoke in the morn
On a three-sky-sailed yarder bound south round the horn
We ‘ad no suit of oilskins and two pairs of socks
And an IOU nailed to the lid of me box
And it’s row, row bullies row
Them Liverpool gals they have got us in tow

Now all you young seamen take a warning by me
Keep an eye on your drink, when the liquor is free
And pay no attention to Reniour the whore
When you’ve had some, you’ll lose all you owned on the shore
And it’s row, row bullies row
Them Liverpool gals they have got us in tow

� 1999 McGuinn Music / Roger McGuinn

Blood Red Roses


h1 Thursday, April 1st, 1999

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The chanteyman often used improvisation and parody in his solo lines to the advantage and amusement of the crew, but the chorus lines, on which the work action was based, were repetitive and changeless. For example, in using Blood Red Roses to raise the top-sails, top gallant sails (t'ga'n's'ls), or sky-s'ls, the chanteyman, who on some ships also put his back to the task, would have sung:

Chanteyman: Our boots and clothes are all in pawn

Crew: Go down Ye blood red roses. Go down

Chanteyman: And its flamin' drafty 'round Cape Horn

Crew: Go down Ye blood red roses. Go down

The word Go, was the signal for the men to haul back on the halyards.

Lyrics:
Our boots and clothes are all in pawn
Go down, you blood red roses, Go down.
And its flamin' drafty 'round Cape Horn,
Go down, you blood red roses, Go down.
cho: Oh, you pinks and posies,
Go down, you blood red roses, Go down.
My dear old mother said to me,
My dearest son, come home from sea.
It's 'round Cape Horn we all must go
'Round Cape Horn in the frost and snow.
You've got your advance, and to sea you'll go
To chase them whales through the frost and snow.
It's 'round Cape Horn you've got to go,
For that is where them whalefish blow.
It's growl you may, but go you must,
If you growl too much your head they'll bust.
Just one more pull and that will do
For we're the boys to kick her through.

Bonny Ship the Diamond, The


h1 Tuesday, December 1st, 1998

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This is another fine example of a joyous departure
song. The whalers would bolster their spirits before departing on an
ocean voyage that might take years. The thought of young women waiting
for them, and of new conquests, gave them the courage to continue.
Lyrics:
[Dm] The Diamond is a [C] ship, my lads, for the [Dm] Davis Strait she’s [C] bound,
And the [Dm] quay it is all [C] garnished with [Am] bonny lasses [Dm] ’round;
[Dm] Captain Thompson gives the [C] order to [Dm] sail the ocean [C] wide,
Where the [Dm] sun it never [C] sets, my lads, no [Am] darkness dims the [Dm] sky,

cho: So it’s [Dm] cheer [C] up my [Dm] lads, let your hearts never fail,
While the bonny [C] ship, the [Dm] Diamond, [C] goes [Dm] a-fishing for the whale.

Along the quay at Peterhead, the lasses stand aroon,
Wi’ their shawls all pulled around them and the saut tears runnin’ doon;
Don’t you weep, my bonny lass, though you be left behind,
For the rose will grow on Greenland’s ice before we change our mind.

cho:

Here’s a health to the Resolution, likewise the Eliza Swan,
Here’s a health to the Battler of Montrose and the Diamond, ship of fame;
We wear the trouser o’ the white and the jackets o’ the blue,
When we return to Peterhead, we’ll hae sweethearts anoo,

cho:

It’ll be bricht both day and nicht when the Greenland lads come hame,
Wi’ a ship that’s fu’ of oil, my lads, and money to our name;
We’ll make the cradles for to rock and the blankets for to tear,
And every lass in Peterhead sing ‘Hushabye, my dear’

cho:

� 1998 McGuinn Music – Roger McGuinn

Handsome Cabin Boy, The


h1 Friday, May 1st, 1998

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A popular broadside ballad of shipboard carryings-on.
This version from Louis Killen; it derives from that sung by one of the
greatest ballad singers of all times, Jeannie Robertson of Aberdeen.
The sailors made up these tales to amuse themselves on their long
voyages.

The guitar on this is a Rickenbacker 730L/12 acoustic, in two
inversions, E and with a capo on the second fret in the D position.

Lyrics:
E D E
It’s of a pretty female as you will understand
Her mind was set on rambling into a foreign land
She dressed herself in man’s attire and boldly did appear
And she engaged with a captain to serve him for a year.

The captain’s lady being on board, she seemed in great joy
To think that the captain had engaged such a handsome cabin boy
And many’s the time she cuddled and kissed, and she would have
liked to toy
But ’twas the captain found out the secret of the handsome cabin
boy

Her cheeks they were like roses, her hair was all a-curl
The sailors often smiled and said, he looks just like a girl
But eating the captain’s biscuit, well, her color it did destroy
And the waist did swell of pretty Nell, the handsome cabin boy.

It’s doctor, dearest doctor, the cabin boy did cry
My time has come, I am undone, surely I must die
The doctor ran with all his might, a-smiling at the fun
For to think a cabin boy could have a daughter or a son

Now when the sailors heard the joke, they all began to stare
The child belongs to none of us, they solemnly did swear
And the lady to the captain said ‘My dear I wish you joy
For it was either you or I betrayed the handsome cabin boy.’

Come all of you bold fellows and we’ll drink success to trade
And likewise to the cabin boy who was neither man nor maid
And if the wars should rise again, us sailors to destroy
Well, here’s hoping for a jolly lot more like the handsome cabin
boy.
� 1998 McGuinn Music – Roger McGuinn

Bound To Australia


h1 Wednesday, April 1st, 1998

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Lyrics:
D G
I am leaving old England, the land that I love
D A7 D A7
And I’m bound for across the sea;
D G
Oh, I’m bound for Australia, the land of the free
D A7 D
Where there’ll be a welcome for me.

When I board me ship for the southward to go
She’ll be looking so trim and so fine,
And I’ll land me aboard, with me bags and me stores
From the dockside they’ll cast off each line

Chorus

D G
So fill up your glasses and drink what you please
D A7 D A7
For whatever’s the damage I’ll pay
D G
So be easy and free, while you’re drinkin’ with me,
D A7 D
I’m a man you don’t meet every day!

To land’s end we’ll tow, with our boys all so tight,
Wave a hearty good-bye to the shore,
And we’ll drink the last drop to our country’s green land
And the next day we’ll nurse our heads sore.

We’ll then pass Cape Looin all shipshape and trim,
Then head up for Adelaide Port,
Off Semaphore Roads we will there drop our hook,
And ashore boys we’ll head for some sport.

Chorus

When I’ve worked in Australia for twenty long years,
One day will I head homeward bound,
With a nice little fortune tucked under me wing
By a steamship I’ll travel I’m bound

So ’tis good-bye to Sally and good-bye to Sue
When I’m leavin’ Australia so free
Where the gals are so kind, but the one left behind
Is the one that will one day splice me.

Chorus

� 1998 McGuinn Music Roger McGuinn

Cold Cold Coast of Greenland, The


h1 Thursday, January 1st, 1998

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This is a variation of a mid seventeenth century
naval war ballad, The Lowlands of Holland. A newly married couple is
torn apart by the practice of recruiting young men against their will,
and placing them in harms way on whaling vessels. As a result of losing
her husband, the young woman goes insane and vows never to enjoy the
pleasures of life again. The last verse is a common theme in Greenland
whaling songs.
Lyrics:
Dm C
Last night I was a-married and on my marriage bed
Dm C Dm
There came a bold sea captain and he stood at my bed’s head
Dm C
Saying ‘Arise arise you brisk bonny lad and come along with me
Dm C Dm
To the cold cold coast of Greenland and the sperm whale fishery’

She held her love all in her arms a-thinking he might stay
Till the cru-el captain came again he was forced to go away
‘It’s many a bright and bold young man must sail this night with me
To the cold cold coast of Greenland and the sperm whale fishery’

Her love he went on shipboard and a lofty ship was she
With a score of bold young whaler men to bear him company
But the main mast and the riggin’ they lie buried in the sea
Off the cold cold coast of Greenland in the sperm whale fishery

Said the father to the daughter ‘What makes you so lament?
There’s many a lad in our town can give your heart’s content’
‘There is no lad in all our town, no lord nor duke said she
Can ease my mind now the stormy wind has claimed my love from me’

No shoe nor stocking I’ll put on nor comb go in my hair
Nor broad daylight nor candle light shall in my room appear
Nor shall I wed with any young man until the day I die
Now the cold cold coast of Greenland has parted my love and I

Oh Greenland is a dreadful place, a place that’s never green
It’s too wild a habitation for a lover to be in
Where the icebergs grow and the whales do blow and the sunset’s
never seen
And the cold cold coast of Greenland lies between my love and me

� 1998 McGuinn Music – Roger McGuinn

Wild Goose


h1 Wednesday, October 1st, 1997

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'Wild Goose' is a sea chantey, that some say has political overtones; the implication being that the 17th century Irish patriots who fled their country to take service with foreign kings were known as 'Wild Geese.'

But the song is also a subtle joke on the sailor's difficulty in luring pretty young women. The wild goose is a fresh water bird and would not be seen flying over the ocean for any extended period of time.

When we were in Anchorage last month, a flock of wild geese flew in and landed on a portion of Cook Inlet, behind our hotel. We were walking after dinner, and loved the sight, and sounds of the birds honking in the twilight. I sang this song to them, and as I sang, they stopped honking and listened. As soon as I finished, the honking resumed! I repeated this several times, and each time they would quiet down during the song. It was amazing!

Lyrics:
Did you ever see a wild goose
Sailin' o'er the ocean?
Ranzo, Ranzo, Way- hey-ay!
It be just like one of them pretty girls
When she gets the notion
Ranzo, Ranzo, Way- hey-ay!

The other day I was walking down by the river
Ranzo, Ranzo, Way- hey-ay!
When I spied one of them pretty girls, her topsails all a-twitter
Ranzo, Ranzo, Way- hey-ay!

I said 'Fair young maden, how you doin' this mornin'?
Ranzo, Ranzo, Way- hey-ay!
She said' 'None the better for the seeing of you.'
Ranzo, Ranzo, Way- hey-ay!

Did you ever see a wild goose
Sailin' o'er the ocean?
Ranzo, Ranzo, Way- hey-ay!
It be just like one of them pretty girls
When she gets the notion
Ranzo, Ranzo, Way- hey-ay!

Go To Sea Once More


h1 Monday, September 1st, 1997

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‘Go To Sea Once More’ is a favorite song of mine. I
have wonderful memories of walking into the old Gate of Horn in Chicago,
and hearing Alan Rebeck and Albert Grossman singing it. They would be
at a table near the door, Alan would straddle his chair with its back
facing outward and his classical guitar propped on top. He and Grossman
would harmonize on this and other sea chanteys for hours.

This, as many a sailing song, warns of the dangers of the sea as well of those of shore leave.

I decided to record this song for the Folk Den because we’re on tour
in Anchorage, Alaska, and there is a reference to the Acrtic Sea in the
song. I don’t know of an Arctic Sea, but there is an Arctic Ocean on the
north coast of this state.

Thanks to Anchorage radio station, KOOL FM for donating their studio
and to Brian Roberts ( kool973@alaska.net ) for engineering the
recording.

Lyrics:
When [Em] first I come to [D] Liverpool, I [C] went upon a [Em] spree
Me money at last I spent it fast, got drunk as [D] drunk could [B7] be
And [Em] when me money was all gone ’twas then that I [D] wanted [B7] more
[Em] But a man must be blind or be [D] out of his mind to [C] go to sea once [Em] more

I spent that night with Angeline, too drunk to roll in bed
Me clothes they were new and me money was too in the morning with ‘em she fled
And as I walked the streets alone, the whores they all did roar
There goes Jack Tarr, that poor sailor lad, he must go to sea once more

As I was walkin’ down the street, I run into Rapper Brown
I asked him for to take me in and he looked at me with a frown
He said last time you was on-board with me you chalked no score
But I’ll take your advance and I’ll give you the chance
and I’ll send you to sea once more

He shipped me aboard of a whaling ship bound for the Arctic Sea
Where the cold winds blow through the frost and the snow and Jamaica rum would freeze
Alas I had no luck with me gear, for I’d spent all me money ashore
‘Twas then that I wished that I was dead of safe with the girls ashore

Some days we catchin’ whales me lads some days we catching none
With a twenty foot oar stuck in your hand from four o’clock in the morn’
And when the day is over lads, you sit on your weary oar
It’s then that you wish that you were dead, you’d go to sea no more

So come all you bold seafaring lads who listen to my song
And when you go out on them long trips, pray that you don’t go wrong
Take my advice, drink no strong drink, don’t go sleepin’ with no whore
But get married lads and have all night in and go to sea no more

� 1998 McGuinn Music – Roger McGuinn

South Australia


h1 Friday, August 1st, 1997

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South Australia is a capstan shanty used by the wool traders who worked the clipper ships between Australian ports and London.

This is well known as a farewell song, sung at the docks as the big
ships were leaving. The men grew a sentimental attachment to the song
and were even known to request a rousing chorus on their death beds, so
that they could die happy.

Lyrics:
[D] In South Australia [G] I was [D] born
[G] Heave [D] away! [G] Haul [D] away!
[D] South Australia [A] round Cape [D] Horn
And we’re bound for [A] South [D] Australia

[G] Haul away you [D] rolling king
[G] Heave [D] away! [G] Haul [D] away!
[G] All the way you’ll [D] hear me sing
And we’re bound for [A] South [D] Australia

As I wlaked out one morning fair
Heave away! Haul away!
It’s there I met Miss Nancy Blair
And we’re bound for South Australia

There ain’t but one thing grieves my mind
Heave away! Haul away!
It’s to leave Miss Nancy Blair behind
And we’re bound for South Australia

I run her all night I run her all day
Heave away! Haul away!
Run her before we sailed away
And we’re bound for South Australia

I shook her up I shook her down
Heave away! Haul away!
I shook her round and round and round
And we’re bound for South Australia

And as you wollop round Cape Horn
Heave away! Haul away!
You’ll wish that you had never been born
And we’re bound for South Australia

� 1998 McGuinn Music Roger McGuinn