57 - Paddy West

Words by traditional
Tune by traditional

The most notorious was Paddy West, a Liverpool Irishman, was a notorious boarding house master who trained up new sailors by having them step across an old rope and walk around a cow's horn so that he could claim that they had “crossed the line and rounded the horn.” Paddy's “able seamen” were soon demoted once at sea and “Paddy Wester” is still a term of derision for useless seamen.

As I went walkin’ down London Road, I come to Paddy West’s house,
He gave me a meal of American hash and he said it was Liverpool scouse,
He said, “There’s a ship, she’s wantin’ hands, and on her you must sign,
Oh, the mate’s a bastard, the bosun’s worse, but she will suit you fine.”

So take off your dungaree jacket, and give yourselves a rest,

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And we’ll think on them cold nor’westers that we had at Paddy West’s.

And it’s when the meal was over, boys, the wind began to blow.
Paddy sends me to the attic, the main-royal for to stow,
But when I got to the attic, why, no main-royal could I find,
So I turned myself 'round to the window, boys, and I furled the window blind.

Now Paddy he calls all hands on deck, their stations for to man.
And his wife she stood in the doorway with a bucket in her hand;
Paddy sings out, “Now let ‘er rip!” and she flings the water our way,
Sayin’, “Clew in the fore t’gan’sl, boys, she’s takin’ in the spray!”

Now that seein’ we’re bound for the south’ard, boys, to Frisco we was bound;
Paddy he calls for a length of rope, and he lays it on the ground,
We all stepped over, and back again, and he says to me, “That’s fine,
Now if ever they ask were you ever at sea you can say you crossed the line.”

And there’s one more thing that you must do before you sail away,
Just step around the table, boys, where the bullock’s horn do lay.
And if ever they ask, “Was you ever at sea?” you can say, “Ten times 'round the Horn.”
And Bejesus but I’m an old sailor man since the day that I were born.

Last chorus:

So put on yer dungaree jacket and walk up lookin’ yer best,

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And just tell 'em that you’re an old sailor man that’s come from Paddy West’s.