71 - Row, bullies, row (Liverpool judies)

Words by Traditional
Tune by Traditional

Another sad story of kidnapping-this time the sailor escapes Liverpool for San Francisco but soon gets sent home again. We've gone for a version without the deceitful sex-worker trope. 'Judies' is scouse slang for women, so the chorus here is similar in meaning to the one in 'Towrope Girls' but presumably more embittered, as the sailor was hoping not to see the Liverpool judies again.

From Liverpool to Frisco a-roving I went
To live in that country it was my intent;
But drinking strong liquor like other damned fools,
I soon got transported back to Liverpool.

And it’s row, row bullies row,
Them Liverpool judies has got us in tow.

I joined the ‘Alaska’ lying out in the bay,
A-waiting a fair wind to get under way.
Her crew was all weary, so sick in the head,
They’d had too much liquor and they wished they were dead.

Then up stepped the mate in a hell of a stew,
Looking for work for the sailors to do.
“It’s foretops’l halyards!” he loudly do roar,
“And lay aloft Paddy you son of an whore!”

One night off Cape Horn I shall never forget,
And oftimes I sighs when I thinks of it yet;
She were making twelve knots wi’ her main skys’l set
And diving bows under with the whole of us wet.

We was hauling and pumping the whole bloody way,
By Jesus on that trip we sure earned our pay,
The mate was a cow-son, the bosun was worse,
With brass knuckles they added some weight to a curse.

Here’s a health to Captain Samuels wherever he be,
A friend to a sailor on land or on sea,
But as the the first mate when his life do pass,
I hope that he hangs from the yard by his brass.