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Roll Boys Roll


This song was a West Indian halyard shanty. It is one of the best of the
many 'Sally Brown' shanties. The lyrics shown below are from a version Stan
Hugill had. According to Hugill, the earliest reference to this shanty was
in the 1830s. As with many old shanties, there were evidently several obscene
verses in some of the 'Sally Brown' songs. Sally is usually referred to then
as a 'bright mulatter' or a 'coloured lady'. The second verse line below
"with a bone in her mouth, boys" refers to one of the sails which is slung
low in the front of a ship. If you are looking at a ship head on when that
sail is up it looks like the figurehead is holding something in her mouth.
The phrase "with a bone in her mouth, boys" became a specific reference
to heading southward with all sails up. The beginning of a voyage.

Music by - Nils Brown, Michiel Schrey, Sean Dagher


Lyrics

Sally Brown, she's the girl for me, boys
Roll boys, roll boys roll
Sally Brown, she's the girl for me, boys
Way high, Miss Sally Brown

Oh way down South, way down South boys
Roll boys, roll boys roll
Oh bound away, with a bone in her mouth boys
Way high, Miss Sally Brown

Oh we're rollin' down to Trinidad to see Miss Sally Brown
Roll boys, roll boys roll
Oh rollin' down to Trinidad to paint the bleedin' town
Way high, Miss Sally Brown

She's lovely up aloft, an' she's lovely down below
Roll boys, roll boys roll
She's lovely all the way, me boys, it's all you want to know
Way high, Miss Sally Brown

She's lovely on the foreyard, lovely on the main
Roll boys, roll boys roll
She's lovely in the summertime, she's lovely in the rain
Way high, Miss Sally Brown

Ol' Captain Baker, how do you store yer carga
Roll boys, roll boys roll
Some I stow for'ard, boys, an' some I stow aft'er
Way high, Miss Sally Brown

Oh, there's forty fathom or more below, boys
Roll boys, roll boys roll
Oh, forty fathom or more below, boys
Way high, Miss Sally Brown

Oh, way high ya, an' up she rises
Roll boys, roll boys roll
Oh, way high ya, the blocks is different sizes
Way high, Miss Sally Brown

Oh, one more pull, don't ya hear the mate a-bawlin?
Roll boys, roll boys roll
Oh, one more pull, that's the end of all the hawlin'
Way high, Miss Sally Brown



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