> Folk Music > Songs > Across the Western Ocean

Across the Western Ocean

[ Roud 8234 ; Ballad Index San412 ; trad.]

Songs of American Sailormen

Pete Coe sang Across the Western Ocean in 1997 on his album Long Company. He noted:

Gold was discovered in California in 1848 (yes I thought it was 1849 too). The song was originally a sea shanty telling of the emigrants from Ireland fleeing from famine to seek their fortune in America. Sailors adapted the song and it later developed into Leave Her Johnny, Leave Her—the final pumping shanty.

Aaron Jones sang Across the Western Ocean on Claire Mann's and his 2005 album Secret Orders. They noted:

Aaron learned this song from musician/singer Ewan MacPherson who plays with the Scots band Malinky. Having lived near Liverpool, Aaron loved the melody and references to the city, a place he still visits on the occasional Saturday!

Jim Moray sang Across the Western Ocean in 2008 on his CD Low Culture.

Lyrics

Aaron Jones sings Across the Western Ocean

Oh the times were hard and the wages low
    Amelia, where you bound?
Oh the Rocky Mountains are my home
    Across the Western Ocean
    Across the Western Ocean

It’s a land of plenty there you’ll see
    Amelia, where you bound?
I am off across the Western Sea
    Across the Western Ocean
    Across the Western Ocean

To Liverpool I’ll make my way
To Liverpool that seaboard town

There’s Liverpool Pat with his sailors hat
And Yankee John, the packet rat

Beware those packet ships I pray
They’ll steal your gold and your stores away