One of my favorite sea chantey melodies is “Go To Sea No More” so I’ve written new lyrics to it about a packet ship during the golden age of sail 1842!


[Em] In eighteen and [D] forty-two, our packet ship set Em] sail,
With winds a-howlin’ through the storm a hearty [D] crew to [B7] hail,
[Em] She cut through the waves with her sturdy hull, her masts they [D] kissed the [B7] sky
[Em] Through storm and calm, we [D] journeyed on beneath the heavens [Em] high.
[G] Heavens high, heavens [D] high [Em] beneath the heavens [B7] high
[Em] Through storm and calm, we [D] journeyed on [Em] beneath the [D] heavens [Em] high.

From New York’s harbor, we’d embarked when our pilot gave the go!
We braved the seas with hearts so bold, with raging ebbs and flow,
A packet ship, so sleek and swift, through the foam we glide,
A sailor’s life is grand me boys, on the ocean with his bride!
His bride, his bride, on the ocean with his bride!
A sailor’s life is grand me boys, on the ocean with his bride!

With each new day, our spirits strong, as we pressed ahead,
Guided by the stars at night, as the moonlight spread
A cargo of treasures and dreams me lads our joy cannot be told
With a romance as precious as a hearty pirate’s gold
Pirate’s gold, pirate’s gold, as a hearty pirate’s gold
With a romance as precious as a hearty pirate’s gold

So raise your voices, me boys, and sing, of that daring quest,
As we bid farewell to our packet ship, that made us sail our best!
We’ll sing our songs of distant lands, all across the sea,
In eighteen forty-two me lads a tale we tell with glee!
With glee, with glee, a tale we tell with glee
In eighteen forty-two me lads a tale we tell with glee!

Hey Lilee

“Hey Lilee” is a song I played with the Limeliters on my first professional recording, “Tonight In Person.” We recorded it live at the Ash Grove folk club in Los Angeles in July of 1960. Although I didn’t receive credit on the album, I made a lot of cash as the opening act and backup musician for the Limeliters, on guitar and banjo.
This is an improvisational song where the audience was invited to make up verses on the fly. I decided to write some love stanzas instead.


CH: [E] Hey Lilee, Lilee,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo [B7]
[E] Hey Lilee, Lilee,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo [B7]

Hey Lilee come dance with me,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo
We will set our spirits free,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo

In the meadow, twirl and spin,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo
A dance of joy, where love begins.
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo

We will let our laughter ring,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo
Chase fireflies, on gentle wings,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo —- CH
Through the night, we’ll laugh and play,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo
Memories, in a special way.
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo

In the night, our hearts unite,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo
Enchanting worlds, where dreams take flight,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo

Hand in hand, through forests deep,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo
A journey for our souls to keep.
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo —— CH
With every beat, our hearts align,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo
A love so pure, and so divine.
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo

Through sun and rain, we will stand strong,
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo
And in each other’s arms belong.
Hey Lilee, Lilee, Lo — CH X 3

King’s Highway

This is a gospel song I used to sing with a folk group I was in called “The Frets” in 1957. Johnny Carbo on 5-string banjo, Lou McDonald on conga drum and me on 6 and 12-string guitar. Johnny Carbo owned the Cafe Oblique coffee house where we did shows on Friday and Saturday nights.
The chorus sounds a lot like the one from “City of New Orleans” “Good morning America how are you.”


[E] No need to worry Lord, no need to hurry
Walking up the King’s highway [B7]
Christ walks beside me, angels to guide me
Walking up the King’s [E] highway
It’s a [A] high [B7] way to [E] Heaven
[B7] None can walk up there [E] except the pure in heart
It’s a [A] high [B7] way to [E] Heaven
[B7] Walking up the King’s [E] highway

My way gets brighter Lord, My load gets lighter Lord
Walking up the King’s highway
There’s joy in knowing, with Him I’m going
Walking up the King’s highway
It’s a highway to Heaven
None can walk up there except the pure in heart
It’s a highway to Heaven
Walking up the King’s highway

Happy Birthday

The original song was “Good Morning To You” sung to teachers at the beginning of the school day. A dispute arose as to who the legitimate authors were and it was eventually taken over by Warner/Chappell Music who made millions of dollars in licensing fees for movies and recordings. After a class action lawsuit it was returned to the public domain.

I got the idea for using this song for the Folk Den from my long time musical associate Bob Dylan who sang it for Brian Wilsons recent 81st birthday.

Click below to see Dylan sing Happy Birthday.

Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday dear ——-
Happy birthday to you

John Peel

I learned this song in glee club at the Latin School of Chicago in the mid 1950s. The verses are a bit bloody so I left them out. If you really want them click on “Lyrics” Lyrics:

[D] Do you ken John Peel at the break of day
[A7] Do you ken John Peel with his coat so grey
[D] Do you ken John Peel when he’s [G] far far [D] away
Or the fox in his [A7] lair in the [D] morning

May Morris Dance

There are more songs written about the month of May than there are about Christmas. This comes from the 17th century as a celebration of Spring. It is also a Morris Dance. The origin of Morris Dance is unclear but many think it comes from the Middle East. Lyrics:

[Dm] Come ye young men, come along,
With your music and [A] your [Dm] song.
Bring your lasses in your hands
For ’tis that which [A] love [Dm] commands.

[F] Then to the maypole haste away
[C] For ’tis now our [F] holiday

‘Tis the choice time of the year
For the violets [C] now appear.
Now the rose receives its birth
And the pretty primrose decks the earth.

And when you well reckoned have
What kisses you your sweethearts gave,
Take them all again and more,
It will never make them poor.

When you thus have spent your time
Till the day be past its prime
To your beds repair at night
And dream there of your day’s delight.

Same Boat Brother

CLICK TO PLAY – Same Boat Brother:

We all are in the same boat. If you shake one end you’re going to rock the other!


[A] We’re in the same boat, brother
We’re in the [F#m] same boat, [E] brother
And if you shake one end
You’re gonna rock the other
It’s the same boat, [A] brother

[A] Oh, the Lord looked down from his holy place
[E] Said, “Lordy me, what a sea of space
What a spot to launch the human race”
So he built him a boat for a mixed up crew
With eyes of black and brown and [F#m] blue
So that’s how come that you and I
Got just one world with just one [E] sky

[A] So the boat rolled on through storm and grief
[E] Of a many a rock and many a reef
What kept them goin’ was a great belief
So they had to learn to navigate
That human race was special [F#m] freight
If they didn’t want to be in Jonah’s shoes
They’d better be mates on this here [E] cruise

[A] Oh, the boiler blew somewhere in Spain
[E] Oh, the keel was smashed in far Ukraine
And the steam poured out from Oregon to Maine
Oh, it took some time for the crew to learn
What is bad for the bow ain’t good [F#m] for the stern
If a hatch takes fire in China Bay
Pearl Harbor’s decks gonna blaze [E] away, ’cause

Bold Archer

Known in Scotland as “Archie O’ Cawfield” this song tells the story of an outlaw who is aided in escaping prison in the late 1700s and has a very happy ending! It has been well documented: [ Roud 83 ; Child 188 ; G/D 2:244 ; Ballad Index C188 ; Bodleian Roud 83 ; Mudcat 9037 ; trad.]

[D] It was in the chil-ly month of March
[G] Just as the flowers grew under the arch,
[G] A castle was built upon Kensal Green
[D] All for to put Bold Archer in.

Now our brother in prison do lay
Con-demned to die is he
If I had e-leven such brothers this day
It is Bold Archer I’d set free.

Eleven, says Richard, is not enough
Full forty brave la-ds there must be;
The chain and the bars will have to be broke
Before Bold Archer – you can set free.

Ten for to stand by our horses’ reins
And ten for to guard us round about,
And ten for to stand by the cas-tle door
And ten for to bring Bold Archer out.

Now Dickie broke locks and Dickie broke bars
Dickie broke every-thing he could see
He took Bold Archer under his arm
And carried him off most manfully.

They mounted their horses, away they did ride
Archie, he mounted his horse likewise.
They rode till they came to their fa-mily
And there they dismoun-ted bold and free.

And th-ere they ordered the music to play
It played so sweet and joy-fully
The very first dancer of that day
It was Bold Archer, whom they’d set free.

Jack Monroe

Jack Monroe AKA (Jackie Frazer; The Wars of Germany) [Laws N7] Roud (268)

A rich girl loves a sailor; her father does not, and has the boy pressed to war in Germany. She disguises herself in men’s apparel and enlists under the name (Jackie Monroe). When her lover is wounded, she sends for a London doctor to heal him. She reveals her identity; they are married

“Jack Monroe” dates back to 1818 in the collection of (Garret, _Merrie Book of Garlands)
The chorus Lay the lil·​ly-low ˈliliˌlō
chiefly dialectal, England
Webster’s dictionary definition: as a bright flame indicating the intensity of their love relationship.

This version comes from Hot Springs, North Carolina and was sung by Mrs Gentry, though there are many variations of this tune, including Jack a Roe and Jack the Sailor.
The melody has also been used in the popular worker’s song “Which Side Are You On?”

[G] Jack he went a-sailing
With trouble on his mind
To leave his native country
And his darling girl [Em] behind

[G] Lay the lily low
[D7] So fare the well my [G] dear

She dressed herself in a man’s array
And apparel she put on
And to the field of battle
She marched the men along

Your cheeks are red and rosy
Your fingers neat and small
Your waist too slim and slender
To face the cannon ball’

‘My cheeks are red and rosy
My fingers neat and small
But it never makes me tremble
To face the cannon ball

The battle being ended
She rode the circle round
And through the dead and dying
Her darling boy she found

She picked him up all in her arms
She carried him down to town
She sent for a London doctor
To heal his bleeding crown

This couple they got married
So well they did agree
This couple they got married
So why not you and me?

The Balaena

Great whaling song about a real ship The Balaena. It was a new ship built after the golden age of sail with an engine and it was very efficient.

The Balaena Lyrics

[C] The noble fleet of whalers [F] went sailing from Dundee
[G7] Well-manned by British sailors [C] to work upon the sea
On the Western Ocean passage [F] none with them can compare
[G7] But the smartest ship to make the trip is [C] Balaena, I declare

[C] Oh, the wind is on her quarter, [F] her engines working free
[G7] There’s not another whaler that [C] sails out of Dundee
Can beat the old Balaena, [F] she needs no trial run
[G7] And we challenged all, both great and small, [C] from Dundee to St John

It happenеd on a Tuesday, three days out of Dundee
The gale took off hеr quarter-boat and a couple of men, you see
It battered at her bulwarks, and her stanchions and her rails
And left the old Balaena, boys, a-frothing in the gale

Bold Jackman cut his canvas and he fairly raised his steam
And Captain Guy wit Erin Boy was ploughing through the stream
And the noble Terra Nova, her boilers nearly burst
And still at the old whaling grounds, Balaena got there first

And now the season’s over and the ship half-full of oil
Our flying jib boom points for home towards our native soil
And when that we have landed, boys, where the rum is very cheap
We’ll drink success to the skippers’s health for getting us over the deep