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Outward/Homeward Bound

[ Roud 1104 , 18905 ; Ballad Index Hugi541 ; VWML RoudFS/S157339 , RVW2/3/101 , SBG/1/2/305 ; Bodleian Roud 1104 ; trad.]

Ralph Vaughan Williams collected Homeward Bound in January 1905 from Mrs Betty Howard of King's Lynn, Norfolk [VWML RVW2/3/101] . Roy Palmer included this version in 1983 in his book Folk Songs collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams and Alan Helsdon did it in 2014 in his digital book Vaughan Williams in Norfolk. Palmer noted:

“In sailing ship days this song was a prime favourite, and was sung all the world over”, wrote Captain W.B. Whall (Sea Songs and Shanties, 1910, p. 5). The name of the docks mentioned varies with the home port of the vessel, but the Dog and Bell public house remains constant. This is one of the very few shanties to have been printed on broadsides. Unusually, too, for a shanty, this version was sung by a woman, Mrs Betty Howard.

The Ian Campbell Folk Group sang Homeward Bound on their 1963 album This Is the Ian Campbell Folk Group.

Cyril Tawney sang Outward Bound in 1963 on his Argo album A Mayflower Garland. He noted:

This ditty from the days of sail says much the same as the modern American song Nobody Needs You When You're Down and Out. At the end of a voyage a sailor was a comparatively wealthy man in a seaport and friends were easy to come by, friends who steadily evaporated as the ‘chink’ disappeared. Soon it was time to “go to sea for more”, a situation so common that in time the phrase ‘outward bound’ actually came to mean ‘broke’ among sailors.

Our version here was collected by the Rec. S. Baring-Gould from Will Huggins of Lydford, Devon [VWML SBG/1/2/305] .

John Faulkner sang Outward Bound in 1966 on the Critic Group's Argo album Sweet Thames Flow Softly.

Ewan MacColl sang Homeward Bound in 1966 on his Topic album The Manchester Angel. This track was also included in 1998 on the Topic anthology of traditional songs of sailors, ships and the sea, Round Cape Horn, and in 2003 on MacColl's compilation The Definitive Collection. MacColl commented in his album's liner notes:

This wry and down-to-earth appraisal of the sailor’s status ashore is, in its own way, a model of the English protest song. In the last days of sail it was used both as a shanty and as a forebitter.

Danny Spooner sang both Outward Bound and Homeward Bound on his 1988 album We'll Either Bend or Break 'Er.

Frank Kidson printed the tune of Outward Bound, “picked up from sailors by Mr Charles Lolley” together with words from a broadside in his 1981 book Traditional Tunes. [VWML RoudFS/S157339] . Pete Coe sang this version in 2014 on his and Alice Jones's album of songs published by Kidson, The Search for Five Finger Frank.

Lyrics

Mrs Betty Howard sings Homeward Bound

To Liverpool Docks we bid adieu,
To Suke and Sall and Kitty too.
Our anchor's weighed, our sails unfurled;
We're bound to cross the wat'ry world.

Chorus (after each verse):
Don't you see we're homeward bound?
Don't you see we're homeward bound?

And when our three years they are out,
'Tis jolly near time we went about.
And when we're home and once more free
O won't we have a jolly spree?

The wind blows from the east-nor-east;
Our ship will sail ten knots at least.
The purser will our wants supply,
So while we live we'll never say die.

And should we touch at Malabar
Or any other port so far,
the purser he will tip the chink
And just like fishes we will drink.

And now we're hauled into the docks
When the pretty girls they come in flocks,
and one unto the other will say,
“Here comes Jack with his three years' pay.”

When we arrive at the Dog and Bell,
The very best liquor they do sell.
In comes the landlord with a smile,
Saying, “Drink up lads! It's worth your while.”

Now your money is well-nigh spent,
There's none to be borrowed, none to be lent;
In comes the landlord with a frown,
“Get up, my lad, let Bill sit down.”

Cyril Tawney sings Outward Bound

To Katherines Dock I bid farewell,
To charming Sue and lovely Nell,
With our anchor heaved and our sails all furled
We are bound to cross the watery world,
    For the seas we're outward bound,
    For the seas we're outward bound.

The wind blew hard, the wind blew east,
Our good ship sailed nine knots at least.
And at the spaniards we let fly,
While we have grog we'lle never say day.
    For the seas we're outward bound,
    For the seas we're outward bound.

When we returned to London docks
The fair pretty maids came down in flocks.
The maids did skip, the maids did say,
“O here comes Jack with his three years pay,
    From the seas he's homeward bound,
    From the seas he's homeward bound.

Now when we come to the Dog and Bell
Where all good liqours are to sell,
In comes Arch with his sweetest smile,
Says, “Drink merry lad, it is worth your while,
    From the seas you were homeward bound,
    From the seas you were homeward bound.

Now when our money is gone and spent
When none is borrowed for none is lent,
Then in comes Arch with his sorriest frown,
Says, “Stand up, Jack, and let John sit down,
    For Jack is outward bound
    And John is homeward bound.

O when each lad shall have touched his chink
O then as fishes we'll sit and drink.
And the fair pretty maids with kisses sweet
Will John desert and Jack will greet,
    For Jack is homeward bound
    And John is outeward bound.

Ewan MacColl sings Homeward Bound

At the Blackwall Docks we bid adieu
To Kate and Polly and Sal and Sue.
Our anchor's weighed and the sails unfurled,
We've bound outway across the world,
    Hoorah we're outward bound,
    Hoorah we're outward bound.

The wind it blows from east-nor'east,
Our ships she sails nine knots at least.
And the girls stand on the docks and cry.
While there's grog we'll ne'er say die,
    Hoorah we're outward bound,
    Hoorah we're outward bound.

At last the captain comes aboard,
Our sails are bent and we're manned and stored.
And the Peter's hoisted at the fore,
Goodbye to the girls we'll see no more,
    Hoorah we're outward bound,
    Hoorah we're outward bound.

One day the man on the lookout,
“There's a sail to the wind'ard,“ he will shout,
She's a pilot standing out from the land
And it's up on deck comes every man.
    Hoorah we're homeward bound,
    Hoorah we're homeward bound.

Now when we get to the Blackwall docks
Them pretty young girls come down in flocks.
And one to the other you'll hear 'em say,
“Oh, here comes Jack with his ten months pay.
    For I see you're homeward bound,
    I see you're homeward bound.”

And when we get to the Dog and Bell
Where there's good pizon for to sell,
In comes old Grouser with a smile,
Saying, “Drink my lads, it's worth your while,
    For I see you're homeward bound,
    Hoorah we're homeward bound.”

But when your money's all gone and spent,
And there's none to be borrowed and none to be lent,
In comes old Grouser with a frown,
Saying, “Get up, Jack, let John sit down,
    For I see you're outward bound,
    Hoorah we're outward bound.”

Then poor old Jack must understand
The ships in the docks are wanting hands.
So he ups his gear as he's done before
And he says goodbye to his native shore
    For he is outward bound,
    Hoorah we're outward bound.

Danny Spooner sings Outward Bound

From the Liverpooll docks we bid adieu
To Kate and Sally and Kitty and Sue,
Our anchor's weighed and the sails unfurled
And we're bound half way across the world.
    For we are outward bound,
    Hoorah we're outward bound.

The wind it comes from the nor'nor'east,
And the ship can make ten knots at least,
The pusser will our needs supply,
And while we've grog, we'll never say die.
    For we are outward bound,
    Hoorah we're outward bound.

And if we touch at Malabar
Or any other port as far,
The pusser he will chip the clink,
And like the fishes we will drink.
    For we are outward bound,
    Hoorah we're outward bound.

At last the old man comes on board,
And dhe sails are bent, we're manned and stored.
The Peter's hoisted at the fore,
Farewell, farewell to me Liverpool whore.
    For we are outward bound,
    Hoorah we're outward bound.

Danny Spooner sings Homeward Bound

And when our cargo they've turned out,
We'll quickly put the ship about,
And when we're home and once more free
Oh won't we have a jolly old spree;
    For we are homeward bound,
    Hoorah we're homeward bound.

One day the man in the lookout,
“There's a sail to the wind'ard,“ he do shout,
It's a pilot standing out from the land
And up on deck comes every man.
    For we are homeward bound etc.

And when we gets to the Liverpool Docks,
Them pretty gals come down in flocks,
One to the other ye'll hear 'em say,
“Here comes Jack wiv eight months pay.
    For I see he's homeward bound etc.

And then we'll haul to the Dog and Bell
Where there's good pizon for to sell,
In comes Grouser with a smile, saying,
“Drink up lads it's worth yer while,
    For I see you're homeward bound etc.