Aweigh Santi Anno

Aweigh Santi Anno. The song is listed as number 207 in the Roud Folk Song Index. The theme of the shantey, which dates from at least the 1850s, may have been inspired by topical events in the news related to conflicts between the armies of Mexico, commanded by Antonio López de Santa Anna, and the U.S., commanded by Zachary Taylor, in the Mexican–American War.

The lyrics are not historically accurate: for example, both the Battle of Monterrey and the Battle of Molino del Rey (different versions refer to one or other) were US victories, not Mexican ones. Some suggest that this tradition was caused by British sailors, who deserted their ships to join Santa Anna’s forces.

Lyrics:
AWEIGH SANTI ANNO – A CAPPELLA

MEXICO OH MEXICO AWEIGH SANTI ANNO
MEXICO IS A PLACE I KNOW
ALONG THE PLAINS OF MEXICO

THEM NASSUA GIRLS THEY’VE GO NO COMB
THEY COMBS THEIR HAIR WITH A TIPPER BACK BONE

MEXICO OH MEXICO AWEIGH SANTI ANNO
MEXICO IS A PLACE I KNOW
ALONG THE PLAINS OF MEXICO

THEM CALIFORNIA GALS I DO ADORE
WITH THEIR BRIGHT BLUE EYES
AND THEIR GOLDEN HAIR

MEXICO OH MEXICO AWEIGH SANTI ANNO
MEXICO IS A PLACE I KNOW
ALONG THE PLAINS OF MEXICO

THEM CALIFORNIA GALS THEY LOVE ME SO
BECAUSE I DON’T TELL ‘EM ALL I KNOW

MEXICO OH MEXICO AWEIGH SANTI ANNO
MEXICO IS A PLACE I KNOW
ALONG THE PLAINS OF MEXICO

WHEN I WAS YOUNG AND IN MY PRIME
I’D GO OUT WITH THEM PRETTY GIRLS
TWO AT A TIME

MEXICO OH MEXICO AWEIGH SANTI ANNO
MEXICO IS A PLACE I KNOW
ALONG THE PLAINS OF MEXICO

THE SKIPPER LIKES WHISKEY AND THE MATE LIKES RUM
THE CREW LIKES BOTH BUT WE CAN’T GET NONE

MEXICO OH MEXICO AWEIGH SANTI ANNO
MEXICO IS A PLACE I KNOW

ALONG THE PLAINS OF MEXICO
THE WORK IS HARD AND THE WAGE IS LOW
SO WIND HER UP AND WE’LL ROLL AND GO

MEXICO OH MEXICO AWEIGH SANTI ANNO
MEXICO IS A PLACE I KNOW
ALONG THE PLAINS OF MEXICO

THE WIND IS HIGH AND BLOWING FREE
LET’S GET THE RAGS UP AND WE’LL DRIVE HER TO SEA

MEXICO OH MEXICO AWEIGH SANTI ANNO
MEXICO IS A PLACE I KNOW
ALONG THE PLAINS OF MEXICO

MEXICO OH MEXICO AWEIGH SANTI ANNO
MEXICO IS A PLACE I KNOW
ALONG THE PLAINS OF MEXICO

Whiskey-O

Whiskey-O is a halyard chantey for raising the yards that hold the sails on the old sailing ships. The chantey man would sing the verse and the crew would pull the ropes on the chorsus.

Lyrics:
Whiskey is the life of man
Always was since the world began

Whiskey-o, Johnny-o
Rise her up from down below
Whiskey, whiskey, whiskey-o
Up aloft this yard must go
John rise her up from down below

I thought I heard the first mate say
I treats my crew in a decent way

Whiskey-o, Johnny-o
Rise her up from down below
Whiskey, whiskey, whiskey-o
Up aloft this yard must go
John rise her up from down below

Whiskey is the life of man
Whiskey from that old tin can

Whiskey-o, Johnny-o
Rise her up from down below
Whiskey, whiskey, whiskey-o
Up aloft this yard must go
John rise her up from down below

Oh whiskey straight, and whiskey strong
Give me some whiskey and I’ll sing you a song

Whiskey-o, Johnny-o
Rise her up from down below
Whiskey, whiskey, whiskey-o
Up aloft this yard must go
John rise her up from down below

A lot of whiskey in this land
And a bottle full for the chantey man

Whiskey-o, Johnny-o
Rise her up from down below
Whiskey, whiskey, whiskey-o
Up aloft this yard must go
John rise her up from down below

The Weary Whaler


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The Weary Whaler

This is a sea chantey from the golden age of sail. There’s a youtube video of me singing it when you click on the VIDEO LINK below:


Click to watch VIDEO LINK

Lyrics:
[Em] If I had the wings of a gull, me boys,
I would spread ’em [Am] and fly [Em] home.
I’d leave old Greenland’s icy grounds
For of right whales [Am] there is [Em] none.

[Em] And the weather’s rough and the winds do blow
And there’s little comfort here.
I’d sooner be snug in a Glasgow pub,
A-drinkin’ [Am] of strong [Em] beer.

Oh, a man must be mad or want money bad
To venture catchin’ whales.
For we may be drowned when the fish turns around
Or our head be smashed by his tail.

Though the work seems grand to the young green hand,
And his heart is high when he goes,
In a very short burst he’d as soon hear a curse
As the cry of: “There she blows!”

Well, these trials we bear for nigh four years,
Till the flying jib points for home.
We’re supposed for our toil to get a bonus of the oil,
And an equal share of the bone.

But we go to the agent to settle for the trip,
And we’ve find we’ve cause for lament.
For we’ve slaved away four years of our lives
And earned about three pound ten.



A Long Time Ago

A Long Time Ago (AKA Noah’s Ark) is a halyard chantey, collected by Cecil Sharp on the 3rd June,1914 from Capt. Hole, of Watchet, Somerset England.

I love how Noah put the dog to work plugging up the hole and that’s why dog’s noses are cold.

Lyrics

In Frisco Bay there were three ships
To me way, hey, hey-oh
In Frisco Bay there were three ships
A long time ago

And one of them ships was Noah’s old ark
To me way, hey, hey-oh
All covered all o’er wi’ hickory bark
A long time ago

They took two animals of every kind
To me way, hey, hey-oh
They took two animals of every kind
A long time ago

The bull and the cow they started t’ row
To me way, hey, hey-oh
The bull and the cow they started t’ row
A long time ago

Then said old Noah with a crack of his whip
To me way, hey, hey-oh
Come stop this row or I’ll scuttle the ship
A long time ago

But the bull struck his horn through the side of the ark
To me way, hey, hey-oh
The little black dog he started t’ bark
A long time ago

So Noah took the dog, shoved its nose up the hole
To me way, hey, hey-oh
And ever since then dogs’ nose has been cold
A long time ago

It’s a long, long time and a very long time
To me way, hey, hey-o
It’s a long, long time and a very long time
A long time ago

Talcahuano Gals

This is an alternative version of the English sea chantey “Spanish Ladies.” It refers to a ship off the coast of Chile. Camilla and i will be sailing on the Queen Mary 2 this month where I will be giving two lectures and a Q & A. Happy May!
Lyrics:
[G] Oh I’ve been a sea-cook, and [C]I’ve been a clipperman
[D] I can sing, I can dance, I can walk the jib-boom
[G]I can carve a good scrimshaw and [C]cut a fine figure
[G]Whenever I get in the ship’s [D]fo’c’sle [G]room

CHORUS:
And we’ll rant and we’ll roar like true-born young sailors
We’ll rant and we’ll roar on deck or below
Until we see bottom inside the two sinkers
And straight up the channel to Huasco we’ll go
CHORUS
I was in Talcahuano last year on a clipper
I bought some gold brooches for the gals in the Bay
I bought me a pipe and they called it a meerscum
And it melted like butter on a hot shiny day
CHORUS
I went to a dance one night in old Tumbes
There was plenty of gals there as fine as you’d wish
There was one pretty maiden a-chewing tobacco
Just like a young kitten a-chewing fresh fish
CHORUS
Here’s a health to the gals of old Talcahuano
A health to the maidens of far-off Maui
And let you be merry, don’t be melancholy
I can’t marry youse all, or in pokey I’d be
CHORUS X2

Don’t Forget Your Old Shipmate

Lyrics:
Don’t forget yer old shipmate

Safe and sound at home again, let the waters roar, Jack.
Safe and sound at home again, let the waters roar, Jack.

Chorus
Long we’ve tossed on the rolling main, now we’re safe ashore, Jack.
Don’t forget yer old shipmate, faldee raldee raldee raldee rye-eye-doe!

Since we sailed from Plymouth Sound, four years gone, or nigh, Jack.
Was there ever chummies, now, such as you and I, Jack?

Long we’ve tossed on the rolling main, now we’re safe ashore, Jack.
Don’t forget yer old shipmate, faldee raldee raldee raldee rye-eye-doe!

We have worked the self-same gun, quarterdeck division.
Sponger I and loader you, through the whole commission.

Long we’ve tossed on the rolling main, now we’re safe ashore, Jack.
Don’t forget yer old shipmate, faldee raldee raldee raldee rye-eye-doe!

Oftentimes have we laid out, toil nor danger fearing,
Tugging out the flapping sail to the weather earing.

Long we’ve tossed on the rolling main, now we’re safe ashore, Jack.
Don’t forget yer old shipmate, faldee raldee raldee raldee rye-eye-doe!

When the middle watch was on, and the time went slow, boy,
Who could choose a rousing stave, who like Jack or Joe, boy?

Long we’ve tossed on the rolling main, now we’re safe ashore, Jack.
Don’t forget yer old shipmate, faldee raldee raldee raldee rye-eye-doe!

There she swings, an empty hulk, not a soul below now.
Number seven starboard mess misses Jack and Joe now.

Long we’ve tossed on the rolling main, now we’re safe ashore, Jack.
Don’t forget yer old shipmate, faldee raldee raldee raldee rye-eye-doe!

But the best of friends must part, fair or foul the weather.
Hand yer flipper for a shake, now a drink together.

Leaving of Liverpool


Camilla and I will be sailing from Valparaíso, Chile to Buenos Aires this month too. I thought another English sea chantey from the 1860’s was in order. Why, because I love them!

I will be giving lectures on board the Silver Sea Muse. One of those lectures will be about sea chanteys.

Here’s a brief description of the trip from the Silver Sea website:

Voyage to the soaring mountain peaks, and slowly scraping glaciers, of Chile. See poetic Valparaiso sprawling bright colors, colonial architecture and history haphazardly across the hills, before sailing amid the finger-like mountains of the staggering Chilean Fjords. Tour the flicking tail of the continent’s southernmost tip, before dropping in on the Falkland Islands, Uruguay, and Argentina.

Lyrics:

Leaving of Liverpool

[D] Fare thee well to you, my [G] own true love,
[D] I am going far [A] away
[D] I am bound for [G] California,
[D] But I know that I’ll be [A] home some [D] day

[A] So fare thee well, my [D] own true love,
For when I return, united we will [A] be
[D] It’s not the leaving of Liverpool that [G] grieves me,
[D] But my darling when [A] I think of [D] thee

I am bound on a Yankee clipper ship,
Davy Crockett is her name,
And Burgess is the captain of her,
And they say that she is a floating shame

So fare thee well, my own true love,
For when I return, united we will be
It’s not the leaving of Liverpool that grieves me,
But my darling when I think of thee

Oh the sun is high on the harbour, love,
And I wish I could remain,
For I know it’ll be a long, long time,
Before you see me again

So fare thee well, my own true love,
For when I return, united we will be
It’s not the leaving of Liverpool that grieves me,
But my darling when I think of thee

Roll Alabama Roll


Camilla and I will be sailing from Valparaíso, Chile to Buenos Aires this month. I thought an English halyard sea chantey from the 1860’s would be appropriate. I will be giving lectures on board the Silver Sea Muse. One of those lectures will be about sea chanteys.

Here’s a brief description of the trip from the Silver Sea website:

Voyage to the soaring mountain peaks, and slowly scraping glaciers, of Chile. See poetic Valparaiso sprawling bright colors, colonial architecture and history haphazardly across the hills, before sailing amid the finger-like mountains of the staggering Chilean Fjords. Tour the flicking tail of the continent’s southernmost tip, before dropping in on the Falkland Islands, Uruguay, and Argentina.

Lyrics:

[F] When the Alabama’s keel was [C] laid
[C] Roll, [Bb] Alabama, [C] roll!
[F] It was laid in the yards of Jonathan [C] Laird
[Bb] Oh, [F] roll, [C] Alabama, [F] roll!

It was laid in the yards of Jonathan Laird
Roll, Alabama, roll!
It was laid in the town of Birkenhead
Oh, roll, Alabama, roll!

Down Mersey way she sailed and then
Roll, Alabama, roll!
Liverpool fitted her with guns and men
Oh, roll, Alabama, roll!

Down Mersey way she sail-ed forth
Roll, Alabama, roll!
To destroy the commerce of the North
Oh, roll, Alabama, roll!

To Cherbourg harbor she sailed one day
Roll, Alabama, roll!
To collect her share of the prize money
Oh, roll, Alabama, roll!

And many a sailor saw his doom
Roll, Alabama, roll!
When the yankee Kearsarge hove in view
Oh, roll, Alabama, roll!

And a shot from the forward pivot that day
Roll, Alabama, roll!
Blew the Alabama’s stern away

And off the three-mile limit, in sixty-four
Roll, Alabama, roll!
Well she sank to the bottom of the ocean floor
Oh, roll, Alabama, roll!

Deep Blue Sea


These lyrics can be found in many traditional songs. They may be from an old English ballad. The tune suggests West Indian origin. In any case it’s a woman who has lost her loved one to the sea and hopes he will return.

Lyrics:

[G] Deep [C] Blue [G] Sea, Baby, [C] Deep Blue [G] Sea
[G] Deep [C] Blue [G] Sea, Baby, [Am] Deep Blue [D] Sea
[G] Deep [C] Blue [G] Sea, Baby, [C] Deep Blue [G] Sea
It was [Em] Willy [G] what got [Em] drowned in the [G] Deep [D] Blue [G] Sea

Dig his grave with a silver spade (3x)

It was Willy what got drowned in the Deep Blue Sea

Lower him down with a golden chain (3x)

It was Willy what got drowned in the Deep Blue Sea

Wrap him up with a silken shroud (3x)

It was Willy what got drowned in the Deep Blue Sea

Deep Blue Sea, Baby, Deep Blue Sea (3x)

It was Willy what got drowned in the Deep Blue Sea

The Eclipse


Launched from Hall’s yard, Aberdeen, on 3rd January 1867 the ‘Eclipse’ cost almost $12,000, carried eight whale boats and a crew of 55 men.

“The Eclipse” was one of the first seafaring songs to grab my attention. It was on the album “Thar She Blows” By Ewan MacColl and A. L. Lloyd. It tells the true story of three ships whaling in Queen Victoria’s year of Jubilee 1887. The trip was a miserable failure.

A.L. Lloyd commented in the album’s liner notes:

In the year of Queen Victoria’s jubilee, 1887, the steamer Eclipse of Stonehaven went fishing in the Arctic with her sister ships the Eric and the Hope. Her captain, David Gray, was on one of the greatest of nineteenth century whaling skippers. By now the northern waters were nearly fished clean of right whales, and the Scottish fleet was taking whatever it could – white whales, narwhales, bottlenooses (David Gray was the first hunter of bottlenoose whale). The 1887 season was disastrous. The Erik caught one small whale, the Hope none at all. On June 21st, David Gray took a good fat 57-foot cow whose jawbones are still on show in London’s Natural History Museum, but even the Eclipse, that luckiest of whalers, came home light, and with a bonus of only one-and-threepence a ton for oil. Her crew felt the trip had hardly been worth the hardship, and they marched through the streets of Peterhead to tell the owners so. The Eclipse made her first voyage in 1867. When she finished whaling, she was sold to the Russians and, renamed the Lomonosov, she was still being used as a survey ship along the Siberian coast as late as 1939.

Lyrics:
[G] It was the twenty-first of [D] June, me boys it [G] being a glorious [D] day,
[G] The Eclipse she saw a [D] whale-fish and she [Em] lowered all hands away,

Chorus (after each verse):
[G] So blow ye winds of morning, blow ye winds [C] hi-ho,
[G] Clear away your [C] running gear and [G] blow, [C] boys, [G] blow.

The boats they pulled to leeward, went skipping over the sea,
And we killed this noble whale-fish for another jubilee.

Our Captain Davie Gray was kind and he gave his crew a treat,
And that was why we caught this whale that measured fifty feet.

The Eclipse she lies to windward, her colours she does flee,
And the Erik and the Hope also, and this is the jubilee.

The Erik caught a sperm-whale that measured forty-three,
But the Hope has none and shall get none this year of jubilee.

But when this trip is over we’ll not ship for one and three,
Because we didn’t get fair play in the year of jubilee.

We’ll march up to the Custom House where we do all sign clear,
And when we face old Bless-My-Soul we’ll tell him without fear.

We’ll tell him that we’ll never sign again for one and three,
And we’ll march through Commercial Street and sing the jubilee.

Chorus:
And so blew ye winds of morning, blow ye winds hi-ho,
Clear away your running gear and blow, boys, blow.