> A.L. Lloyd > Songs > Do Me Ama
> Martin Carthy > Songs > Domeama / Jacky Tar
> Eliza Carthy > Songs > Jacky Tar
> Nic Jones > Songs > Jackie Tar

Do Me Ama / Jacky Tar

[ Roud 511 ; Laws K40 ; Ballad Index LK40 ; trad.]

This fo'c'sle song from probably the 18th century was recorded by A.L. Lloyd in 1956 for his and Ewan MacColl's albums The Black Ball Line (1957), Haul on the Bowlin' (1958), and Blow the Man Down (1963), and and on the compilations Sea Songs and Shanties (Topic Sampler No 7) and Sailors' Songs & Sea Shanties. Lloyd commented in the sleeve notes:

A fo'c'sle song that probably came into being during the 18th century. It derives its story from from an old chapbook tale of The Squire and the Farm Servant. The song has appeared in print a few times, most recently as Jack the Jolly Tar in the Penguin Book of English Folk Songs. It is still occasionally to be heard from traditional countryside singers, and may own its survival to the fact that in its story, the common sailor most cheekily gets the better of the squire—a theme for which country singers show lasting affection.

He recorded it again in 1957 on his and Ewan MacColl's album Blow Boys Blow where he added in the sleeve notes:

The tune, an unusual one in English folksong, may derive from some languorous melody heard on a Mediterranean trip.

Martin Carthy sung Domeama on his and Dave Swarbrick's 1967 album Byker Hill. He commented in the album notes:

When sailors were away on long voyages, the various deprivations must have put them under a colossal strain, but their imaginations appear to have been equal to it even if their bodies sometimes weren't. The mind at work on Domeama smacks strongly of seafaring, Chaucer, or Decameron and indeed it has a basic similarity with the English ballad Glasgerion. There is probably no direct connection between this and Domeama as the theme is very old and very widespread. It is, incidentally, the only song I have ever learned on one hearing only (without the aid of tape-recorder or pencil and paper). I've tried since but to no avail.

Martin Carthy sang it as Jackie Tar live in December 2004 at Ruskin Mill; and he and Dave Swarbrick recorded Jacky Tar for their 2006 album Straws in the Wind. This album's notes say:

On the face of it, there are enough similarities between Jacky Tar and the big ballad Glasgerion as far as the basic plot line goes, for it to be thought of as a gutter version of the latter song. Bowing to A.L. Lloyd's wider knowledge (and he was always clear that in his view it was simply not the case), I retain a feeling that these things cannot be entirely unconnected: I like the idea that people rework such themes over and over. Cecil Sharp met the singer William Nott in Meshaw in Devon in 1904 and it's his beautiful tune which I sing here. The words come from a friend called Neville—who refused to let me have the song in 1958 but whose entire rendition I remembered at home later that night as I sat furious with my guitar in bed: furious because of his refusal to part with the words.

His daughter Eliza Carthy sang this song as Jacky Tar on her 1996 album Heat Light & Sound and on the English folk anthology And We'll All Have Tea. She commented in her album's sleeve notes:

A Jacky Tar is a name for a sailor. This seems to be another “trick the lass and run off” song, except that he doesn't get the chance to run off. I learned it from my Dad and it appears in Cecil Sharp.

The Devil's Interval sang this song as Blow Me Jack in 2006 on their WildGoose album Blood and Honey. They commented in their liner notes:

John Kirkpatrick pulled our string with this cheeky little ditty! We arranged this song one night at Emily's house aided by a few bottles of raspberry wine—the result included a synchronised dance routine. Unfortunately we couldn't recreate this in the studio but Doug [Bailey] did insist on a swift half at the village pub before recording this track, for purely artistic reasons of course!

Bob Copper collected a version of this story, as The Squire's Lost Lady, in about 1954 from Ben Butcher in Popham, Hampshire—a song he had learnt from his father George Butcher in Storrington, Sussex: see Chapter Fourteen, pp. 114-122, of Songs and Southern Breezes for the details—and wonderful story about a shoot; see also the appendix for the words.

Nic Jones played Jackie Tar as an instrumental on his third album, The Noah's Ark Trap.

Lyrics

A.L. Lloyd sings Do Me Ama Martin Carthy sings Domeama

As a sailor was walking one fine summer day,
The squire and their lady were making their way.
And the sailor he heard the squire say,
“Tonight with you I mean to stay
With me do me ama, dee me ama, do me ama day.”

As Jack went out walking all on a fine day,
A squire and his lady came a-walking that way.
Jack heard him to the lady say,
“Tonight with you, love, I mean to lay
With me do me ama, dee me ama, do me ama day.”

“You must tie a string all around your finger,
With the other end of the string hanging out the window,
And I'll slip by and pull the string,
And you must come down and let me in
With me do me ama, dee me ama, do me ama day.”

“Just tie the string all around your finger
And let the other end dangle down from your window,
And I'll come by and I'll pull the string,
And you come down, love, and let me in
With me do me ama, dee me ama, do me ama day.”

Says Jack to himself, “I've a mind to try,
To see if a poor sailor he can't win that prize.”
So he stole up and he pulled the string
And the lady come down and she let old Jack in
With that do me ama, dee me ama, do me ama day.

Jack says to himself, “I've a mind for to try,
And see if a poor sailor he can't win that prize.”
So Jack walked by and he pulled the string
And she come down and she let old Jack in
With his do me ama, dee me ama, do me ama day.

Well the squire came by, he was humming a song,
Thinking to himself how it wouldn't be long.
But when he got there no string he found.
Behold, his hopes was all dashed to the ground
With that do me ama, dee me ama, do me ama day.

Now the squire he came a-riding, he was singing a song,
He was thinking to himself how it wouldn't be long.
But when he got to the window, no string he found.
Behold his hopes was all dashed to the ground
And his do me ama, dee me ama, do me ama day.

Well, early next morning, it was just getting light,
The lady jumped up the bed in a terrible fright.
For there lay Jack in his tarry old shirt,
Behold his face was all covered in dirt
And that do me ama, dee me ama, do me ama day.

It was early next morning, it was just getting light,
The lady sat up with a terrible fright.
For there lay Jack in his tarry old shirt,
And behold his face was all covered in dirt
And his do me ama, dee me ama, do me ama day.

“Oh what do you want, you tarry sailor,
Breaking in a lady's bedroom to steal her treasure?”
“Well no,” says old Jack, “I just pulled that string
And you come down, ma'm, and let me in
With me do me ama, dee me ama, do me ama day.”

“Oh what do you want, oh, you tarry sailor,
A-stealing in a lady's chamber to steal her treasure?”
“Oh no,” says Jack, “I just pulled your string
And you come down love and let me in
With me do me ama, dee me ama, do me ama day.”

The sailor he says, “Oh, forgive me I pray,
I'll steal away very quiet at the dawn of the day.”
“Oh no,” says the lady, “don't go too far
For I never will part from me jolly Jack Tar
And that do me ama, dee me ama, do me ama day.”

Jack says to the lady, “Your pardon I pray,
And I'll steal away very quiet at the break of the day.”
“Oh no,” she says, “don't you go too far
For I never will part from me jolly Jack Tar
And his do me ama, dee me ama, do me ama day.”

Eliza Carthy sings Jacky Tar Martin Carthy sings Jacky Tar

Well, a young Jacky Tar out one day a-walking,
He heard a squire and the lady talking.
Jack heard him to the lady say,
“Tonight with you, love, I mean to lay
Fol la la doo, right falero, right fol lol a doo.”

Young Jacky Tar, out one day a-walking,
Heard a squire and the lady talking.
Jack heard him to the lady say,
“Tonight with you, love, I mean to lay
Fol la la doo, right falero, right fol lol a doo.”

“Just tie a string all around your finger
Let the other end dangle down from your window,
And I'll come by, pull on the string
You come down and you'll let me in,
Fol la la doo, right falero, right fol lol a doo.”

“Just tie the string all around your finger
Let the other end dangle down from your window,
I'll come by, pull on the string,
You come down, love, you let me in
Fol la la doo, right falero, right fol lol a doo.”

“Damn me,” says Jack, “Oh, why don't I fetch her,
See if a poor sailor can't win this treasure.”
So he went by, pulled on the string;
She came down and she let him in,
Fol la la doo, right falero, right fol lol a doo.

“Blow me,” says Jack, “Well, why don't I fetch her,
See if a poor sailor can't win this treasure.”
So he went by, pulled on the string;
She came down and she let him in,
Fol la la doo, right falero, right fol lol a doo.

Jack never had seen such a sight before-a,
String round her finger was all she wore-a.
Opened up the door when he pulled on the string,
Pulled up the covers and she let Jack in
Fol la la doo, right falero, right fol lol a doo.

The squire came by, he whistling a song-a,
Thinking to himself how it wouldn't be long-a,
But when he got there, no string he found,
Behold, his hopes were all dashed to the ground,
Fol la la doo, right falero, right fol lol a doo.

Squire he come by, he was singing a song-o,
Thinks he to himself it's not going to be long-o,
When he got there no string he found.
Behold his hopes was all dashed to the ground
Fol la la doo, right falero, right fol lol a doo.

Jack lay in her arms all the livelong night-a
And she woke up in a terrible fright-a!
For there lay Jack in his tarry shirt
Behold, his face was all covered with dirt,
Fol la la doo, right falero, right fol lol a doo.

Jack lay in her arms all the livelong night-a
And she woke up in a terrible fright-a!
For there lay Jack in his tarry shirt
Behold, his face was all covered with dirt,
Fol la la doo, right falero, right fol lol a doo.

“Why what d'ya want, oh you nasty sailor
Stealing in my chamber to steal my treasure?”
“Oh no,” he says, “I pulled on the string,
You came down and you let me in
Fol la la doo, right falero, right fol lol a doo.”

“What do you want, oh you nasty sailor
Steal in my chamber for to steal my treasure?”
“No,” he says, “I pulled on the string,
You come down, love, you let me in
Fol la la doo, right falero, right fol lol a doo.”

And then, says Jack, “Why I beg your pardon
But I'll steal off quiet first thing in the morning.”
“Oh no!” she says, “Don't you go far
For I never will part from my little Jack Tar
Fol la la doo, right falero, right fol lol a doo.”

Jack says to her, “Pardon I pray-a,
I'll steal away at the break of day-a.”
“No,” she says, “don't you go far
For I never will part from me little Jack Tar
Fol la la doo, right falero, right fol lol a doo.”

(repeat first verse)

Acknowledgements

Transcribed by Garry Gillard and Reinhard Zierke.