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back to home pageSeven Seas
Song Lyrics

Reviews | Song Information and Liner Notes

 

High Barbaree
Oh Mary, Come Down!
The Mary Stanford of Rye
Billy Boy
Lost
The Packet Rat
Cheerily Man
The Wild Goose Shanty
Heaven's a Bar

High Barbaree
Traditional

There were two lofty ships from Old England did sail
Blow high Blow low and so sailed we
One was the Prince Rupert and the other the Prince of Wales
Cruising down along the coast of High Barbaree

"Aloft there! Aloft there!" our jolly bosun cries,
"Look ahead, look astern, look a-weather and a lee."

"There's none upon the stern, there's none upon the lee,
But there's a lofty ship to windward, she is sailing fast and free."

"Oh hail her, oh hail her," our gallant captain cried,
"Are you a man-of-war or a privateer?" said he.

"I am no man-of-war -- no privateer," said she,
But I am a salt-sea pirate, and I'm looking for my fee!"

"If you are a jolly pirate, I'd have you come this way!
Bring out your quarter guns, boys; we'll show these pirates play."

It was broadside to broadside a long time they lay
Until the Prince Rupert shot the pirate's masts away.

"Oh quarter! Oh quarter!" these pirates did cry
But the quarter that we gave them was to sink them in the sea.

There were two lofty ships from Old England came
Blow high Blow low and so sailed we
One was the Prince Rupert and the other Prince of Wales
Cruising down along the coast of High Barbaree

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Oh Mary, Come Down!
Traditional

Oh Mary
Come down with your bunch of roses
Come down when I call oh Mary
Oh Mary come down

The Mary Stanford of Rye
Allen Maslen

When master John Stanford of London town died
They read out his will and his legacy spied
It said take this bequest for to build me a craft
So that with it my name shouldn't die
And give it to the R.N.L.I.

So they fashioned a lifeboat of Liverpool class
38 feet from the stem to the aft
With a close reefed mainsail on a 20 foot mast
And to grant the last wish of his life
Named it Mary after his wife

She went into service in 1916
And 63 times from the boathouse she screamed
Cross the shale of Rye Bay
Through the teeth of the storm
And into the mouth of the waves
All sailors lives there to save

Johnny come home they all sing from the pier
On the 15th day of November each year
And one day the sea she will give up her dead
And home will come young Johnny Head
Home will come young Johnny Head

Young Johnny Head
Had just turned seventeen
And to serve on the lifeboat was
Young Johnny's dream
His father was the coxswain
His brother in the crew
And to serve he was willing to die
On the Mary Stanford of Rye

On November 15th
With the storm at its height
The Alice of Riga was losing her fight
Seven miles from Dungeness
She was drifting and lost
And the crew prayed and cried
To the moon
That's when they heard the maroon

It was four in the morning
When young Johnny Head
On hearing the signal
He leapt from his bed
With his father and brother
They ran like the wind
That whipped up the furious waves
But there were lives to be saved

To haul out the lifeboat
Took blood, sweat and tears
It took them two hours
Must have seemed like two years
Exhausted and spent, they set her afloat
And into the barbarous waves
Rowed Mary to Alice's aid

It was 6:45 when the shoremen lost sight
of the Mary
As she pitched out into the night
And at 6:51 the coastguard he rang,
Saying "Stand down your lifeboatmen
brave
For the Alice is already saved."

Nobody knows from that day to this,
Why the coastguard got word
At eleven past six
But the message he kept forty minutes
or more
While seventeen brave men of Rye
Rowed into the tempest to die

It was almost noon on the terrible morn
And the families and launch crew had
Waited since dawn
When suddenly somebody
Pointed and cried
And there in the surf and the spray
The Mary Stanford she lay

Her body was battered
Her keel was upright
No close-reefed mainsail
No crewman in sight
They hauled her ashore
And they knelt round and prayed
Then gazed out again at the main
And the tears they ran like the rain

Then one by one
The sea gave up her dead
First Willie Clark then young Jimmy Head
Then Albert and Rob, the two Cutting boys
And three from the Pope family
And nine more sons of the sea

But young Johnny Head
He never came home
He lies out somewhere in the ocean alone
His comrades lie buried
In the churchyard at Rye
And they keep him a space for his bed
Once day they'll find Johnny Head

So the next time you sail
Around Hastings and Rye
Look to the distance and keep out an eye
And if you see a young man from the R.N.L.I.
Standing guard over the foam
You'll know that Johnny's come home
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Billy Boy
Traditional

Where have you been all the day, Billy Boy, Billy Boy?
Where have you been all the day, my Billy Boy?

I've been walkin' on the quay with me charmin' Nancy Lee,
She's the Nancy of me fancy, A sailor's pride an' joy!

Can she cook and can she clean my Billy Boy, Billy Boy?
She can cook and can she clean while she plays the tamborine.

Can she make a feather bed clean my Billy Boy, Billy Boy?
She can she make a feather bed fit for any sailor's head.

Does she sleep close unto thee, Billy Boy, Billy Boy?
Aye, she sleeps close unto me, like the bark is to the tree.

Is she fit to be yer wife, Billy Boy, Billy Boy?
Aye, she's fit to be me wife as the fork is to the knife.

Where have you been all the day my Billy Boy, Billy Boy?
Where have you been all the day my illy Boy?

I've been walkin' on the quay with me charmin' Nancy Lee,
She's the Nancy of me fancy, A sailor's pride an' joy!
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Lost
Ron Baxter
Tune: Ross Campbell

Cormoran and Hildina;
Cresswell, Exmouth, Malaga;
The Briarlynn and the Salmonby;
Winooka and the Sulby.
Lost off Tiree or Oversay;
Kildas, Lewis or Islay;
The Bahama Bank or the Minches' race;
Rockall or the cold North Cape.

Angle, Swan, Cartagena;
Doris, Goth, Clarabella;
San Sebastian
, the Hondo;
The Gaul, and the Kodama.
Lost off Cape Wrath or Fair Isle;
Bloody Foreland or Rathlin's Isle;
Muckle Flugga or Skerryvore;
Colonsay or Latrabjorg.

Evelyn Rose and Belavar;
William Humphries, Alcazar;
Barbara Robertson, Our Monica;
King Eric, and Merisia ­
Lost off Argyll or Liverpool Bay
Lost off Iceland or Galloway
Lost in the Humber or Onundafjord;
Lost off Barra with all on board.

Thomas Deas, the Dhoon, and the Kincorth;
The Ashlynn and Fanny, they all went forth;
Benghazi and the Phrontis;
The Gallinule and the Lois;
Lost to black ice, or run down;
Lost on rocks or never found;
Lost on reefs or lost on shoals;
Lost where the endless waters roll.

The Lady Love, Red Falcon;
Oona Hall, Bostonian;
Michael Griffith, the Nordale;
Lowdock, Onida, the Wellvale;
Lost in peacetime, lost in war
Lost to mines or by foul trawls;
Lost in the gale's wild hellish blast;
Lost to U-boats ...or just lost.
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The Packet Rat
C. Fox Smith

When I leave this Western ocean, to the South'ard I will steer
In a tall Colonial clipper, far an' far enough from here,
Down the channel on a bowline, through the Tropics runnin' free
When I've done wi' the Western Ocean­ an' when it's done wi' me!

An' I'll run my ship in Sydney, an' then I'll work my way
To them smilin' South Seas Islands where there's sunshine all the day,
An' I'll sell my chest an' gear there, as soon's I hit the shore,
An' sling away my last discharge an' go to sea no more.

It's a pleasant time they have there­they've easy, quiet lives­
They wear no clo'es to speak on­they've a bunch of browny wives;
An' they're bathin' all the day long, or baskin' on the sand,
All along wi' them Kanakas as naked as your hand.

An' I'll lay there in the palm shade, an' take my ease all day,
An' look across the harbour to the shippin' in the bay,
An' watch the workin' sailormen­the bloomin' same as me,
In the workin' Western Ocean, afore I left the sea.

I'll hear 'em at the capstan bars, a-heavin' good an' hard:
I'll hear 'em tallyin' on the fall, an' sweatin' up the yard,
Hear 'em lift a halliard shanty, hear the bosun swear an' shout,
An' the thrashin' of the headsheets as the vessel goes about.

An' if the fancy takes me­as it's like enough it may­
Just to smell the old ship smells again, an' taste the salt an' spray,
I can take a spell o' pearlin' or a tradin' trip or two
Where it's none but golden weather an' a sky that's always blue.

But I'll do no sailorizin' jobs I'll walk or lay at ease,
Like a blessed packet captain just as lordly as you please,
With a steward for my table an' a boy to bring my beer,
An' a score or two Kanakas for to reef an' furl an' steer.

An' when I'm tired o' cruisin' up an' down an' here an' there,
There'll be kind Kanaka women wi' the red flowers in their hair,
All a-waitin' there to welcome me when I come in from sea,
When I've done wi' this here oceanbut that'll never be.

For I'd hear the parrots screamin', an the palmtrees' drowsy tune,
But I'd want the banks in winter, an the smell of ice in June,
An' the hard-case mates a-bawlin', an the strikin' of the bell,
God! I've cursed it oft an' cruelbut I'd miss it all like hell!

Yes I'd miss the Western Ocean where the packets come an' go,
An' the grey gulls wheelin', callin', an' the grey skies hangin' low,
An' the blessed lights of Liverpool a-winkin' in the rain,
For to welcome us poor packet rats come back to port again.

An' if I took an' died out there, my soul'd never stay
In them sunny Southern latitudes to wait the Judgement Day,
All across the seas from England I should hear the ol' life call,
An' the bloomin' Western Ocean it'd get me after all.

I'd go flyin' like a seagull, as they say dead shellbacks do,
For to see the ships I sailed in an' the shipmates that I knew,
An' the tough old North Atlantic where the winds do always blow,
An' the Western Ocean packets all a-plyin' to an' fro.

An' I'd leave the Trades behind me, an' I'd leave the Southern Cross,
An' the mollymawks an' flyin' fish an' stately albatross,
An' I'd steer through wind and weather an' the sea fogs white as wool,
Till I sighted old Point Lynas an' the Port o' Liverpool.

Then I'd fly to some flash packet when the 'ands was bendin' sail,
An' I'd set up on the main-truck doin' out my wings an' tail,
An' I'd see the tug alongside, an' the Peter flyin' free,
An' the pilot come aboard her for to take her out to sea.

An' I'd follow down to Fastnet light, an' then I'd hang around,
There to watch them out to Westward an' to greet 'em homeward bound
For I know it's easy talkin'­an' I know when all is said
It's the bloomin' Western Ocean what'll get me when I'm dead!

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Cheerily Man
Traditional

Haul all together, aye yeo
Cheerily man
Haul for good weather, aye yeo
Cheerily man
She's light as a feather aye yeo
Cheerily man oh
Hauley aye yeo
Cheerily man

To the cathead, aye yeo
Cheerily man
We'll raise the dead, aye yeo
Cheerily man
She's heavy as lead aye yeo
Cheerily man oh
Hauley aye yeo
Cheerily man

We'll haul again, aye yeo
Cheerily man
With might and main, aye yeo
Cheerily man
Pay out more chain aye yeo
Cheerily man oh
Hauley aye yeo
Cheerily man

Oh, haul and sing, aye yeo
Cheerily man
Chain stopper bring, aye yeo
Cheerily man
Pass through the ring, aye yeo
Cheerily man oh
Hauley aye yeo
Cheerily man

She's up to the sheeve, aye yeo
Cheerily man
At the cathead we'll leave, aye yeo
Cheerily man
Soon the tackle unreeve aye yeo
Cheerily man oh
Hauley aye yeo
Cheerily man

Oh sing and haul, aye yeo
Cheerily man
On the ol' catfall, aye yeo
Cheerily man
An' then belay all aye yeo
Cheerily man oh
Hauley aye yeo
Cheerily man
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 The Wild Goose Shanty
Traditional

Did you ever see a wild goose sailing over the ocean?
Ranzo, Ranzo way hay

It's just like those pretty girls when they gets the notion
Ranzo, Ranzo way hay

As I was a walkin' one morning by the river
Ranzo, Ranzo way hay

I spied a pretty fair maid with her tops'ls all a quiver
Ranzo, Ranzo way hay

I says to her "My pretty fair maid and how are you this morning"?
Ranzo, Ranzo way hay

She says "None the better for the seeing of you sir."
Ranzo, Ranzo way hay

Did you ever see a wild goose sailing over the ocean?
Ranzo, Ranzo way hay

It's just like those pretty girls when they gets the notion
Ranzo, Ranzo way hay
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Heaven's a Bar
Tim Laycock

Heaven's a bar down by the dock
Where the liquor is free they keeps a great stock
There's always a place, always a smile
For a sailor come home from sea
For a sailor come home from sea

Girls are beauties they dance and they sing
They'll treat an old tar like a lord or a king
Heaven's a bar down by the dock
Where there's liquor for all and it's free

There in the snug drinking with me
Shipmates return from seven salt seas
Tarry tailed tars, gold buckled shoes
The cream and the dregs of the crew

Just sailors on shore with a dream in their eyes
Who saw the world's end where the sea meets the sky
Vision remains, wonders recalled
By the trinkets that hang on the walls

Heaven's a bar down by the dock
Where the liquor is free they keeps a great stock
There's always a place, always a smile
For a sailor come home from sea

Late in the night clouds hurry past
The moon winks and goes
The doors are barred fast
The charts are laid out, the contraband found
The crossbones marked out on the ground

The figurehead does it, and she never gets tired
She beckons a breeze from her berth by the fire
The songs roll around the waves hit the bar
'Til the bottles wash up on the shore

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