In cart Not available Out of stock

According to my English shantymate Peter, this is a traditional windlass and capstan shanty that was one of the most popular of shanties on British merchant ships when leaving port and pulling up the anchor. Not surprisingly therefore, the traditional words are about saying goodbye. Departure was a big deal back in those days, because the chances of a sailor not returning were much greater.

Like most traditional songs, there are variations on both the the words and the melody floating around. I've stayed with the melody that I've heard most often recorded and sung at festivals. As for the lyrics, maybe it was due to the long dark northern winter "blahs", but I decided to start with a couple of traditional verses, and follow with some of my own (which nonetheless borrow snatches from traditional verses I've heard sung), to make the song a circular story. That is, not merely the uncertainty of leaving, but also the joy of sea voyaging, and the hope of returning. Yes, I have taken artistic liberties. I hope King Neptune will be Ok with it.

Fair Warning!
Both Banjo and Accordion (actually Concertina) are present in this recording!

The musical arrangement is deliberately "schmaltzy". You are welcome to make cow-milking gestures while listening to it.

P.S. In case you are wondering, the Rio Grande in this song is not the one along the US-Mexico border, but rather a port in the most southerly state of Brazil, which was and still is an important sea trading port.

Lyrics

I shall sing ye a song of the fish of the sea
Away for Rio
I shall sing ye a song of the fish of the sea
For I'm bound for the Rio Grande

And it's away, my love, away
Away for Rio
Fare you well, my pretty young girl
I am bound for the Rio Grand

I said farewell to Kitty my dear
Away for Rio
She waver her small hand
As we left the south pier
Bound for the Rio Grand

And it's away, my love, away
Away for Rio
Fare you well, my pretty young girl
I am bound for the Rio Grand

Now out ship's gone a-sailing
Out over the bar
Away (Hey!) for Rio
And we've pointed her nose
To the southern star
We are bound for the Rio Grande

And it's away, my bullies, away
Away for Rio
Fare you well, our Liverpool girls
We are bound for the Rio Grande

And what shall we do here
My bully boys all?
Away down Rio
We shall laden this ship
As the seagulls call
Down on the Rio Grand

And sail away, bullies, away
We're away from Rio
Oh wait for us, ye Liverpool girls
We are bound from the Rio Grand

And it's away, my love, away
I'm away for Rio
Oh fare you well, my pretty young girl
I am bound for the Rio Grande