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Blow the Man Down


This old song was originally a halyard shanty in Western Ocean
sailing ships. The tune is likely derived from an African-American
song called 'Knock a Man Down'. The Black Ballers back then
were fast packet ships of the American Black Ball Line that sailed
between New York and Liverpool in the second half of the 19th century.
The faster the ship reached it's destination, the quicker a sailor
could get paid. Therefore many sailors wanted to sail on these ships.
Life at sea in those days was rule with a fist, and the captains of
the Black Ballers had a reputation for being particularly brutal.
When a sailor said that a man was blown down, it meant that he was
knocked to the ground. With a fist, belaying pin, capstan bar or
whatever else was handy. Chief Mates then were known as "blowers",
second mates as "strikers" and third mates as "greasers". This song
was in fact about the harsh beating of sailors aboard these ships.
There are countless lyrical versions of 'Blow the Man Down'.

Music by - Unknown Artist


Lyrics

Come all ye young fellows that follow the sea,
to my way haye, blow the man down,
And please pay attention and listen to me,
Give me some time to blow the man down.

I'm a deep water sailor just in from Hong Kong,
to my way haye, blow the man down,
if you'll give me some grog, I'll sing you a song,
Give me some time to blow the man down.

'Twas on a Black Baller I first served my time,
to my way haye, blow the man down,
And on that Black Baller I wasted my prime,
Give me some time to blow the man down.

'Tis when a Black Baller's preparing for sea
to my way haye, blow the man down,
You'd split your sides laughing at the sites that you see.
Give me some time to blow the man down.

With the tinkers and tailors and soljers and all
to my way haye, blow the man down,
That ship for prime seaman on board a Black Ball.
Give me some time to blow the man down.

'Tis when a Black Baller is clear of the land,
to my way haye, blow the man down,
Our Boatswain then gives us the word of command
Give me some time to blow the man down.

"Lay aft," is the cry,"to the break of the Poop"!
to my way haye, blow the man down,
Or I'll help you along with the toe of my boot!
Give me some time to blow the man down.

'Tis larboard and starboard on the deck you will sprawl,
to my way haye, blow the man down,
For "Kicking Jack" Williams commands the Black Ball.
Give me some time to blow the man down.

Pay attention to order, now you one and all,
to my way haye, blow the man down,
For right there above you flies the Black Ball.
Give me some time to blow the man down.



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