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Deep Blue Sea

[ Roud 3119 ; Ballad Index PSAFB076 ; trad.]

Pete Seeger sang Deep Blue Sea at a Ballads and Blues concert at St. Pancras Town Hall Theatre on October 4, 1959, that was released in 1963 on the Folklore Records album Pete Seeger in Concert, and in 2016 on the Fellside CD Pete Seeger in England.

Jon Boden learned Deep Blue Sea in Forest School Camp and sang it as the October 3, 2010 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day.

Vic Shepherd and Sheafknot sang Deep Blue Sea in 2015 on her and John Bowden's Hallamshire Traditions CD Still Waters. They noted:

This song consists of a collection of ‘floating verses’—pun intended!—reminiscent of General Taylor, Stormalong John and other shanties. The chorus may make it sound like a song ‘what’ Ernie Wise wrote but in fact it has only been collected in North America. It was made popular thanks to a recording by Pete Seeger in 1955 who thought it a fragment of an old English ballad or sea song that might have passed through West Indian musical idioms.

Hannah Sanders and Ben Savage with Emily Mae Winters sang Deep Blue Sea with quite different verses on their 2016 album Before the Sun. Ben Savage noted:

One of those fascinating songs that leaves us all feeling as though we have sung a chorus together, when in fact there has been no chorus at all. Similarly, a song that pulls us all together and lifts us despite its poignant subject matter.

This video shows them at the album launch at the Green Note, Camden, in September 2016:

Lyrics

Jon Boden sings Deep Blue Sea

Deep blue sea, Willie, deep blue sea,
Deep blue sea, Willie, deep blue sea,
Deep blue sea, Willie, deep blue sea.
It was Willie what got drownded in the deep blue sea.

Dig his grave with a silver spade,
Dig his grave with a silver spade,
Dig his grave with a silver spade.
It was Willie what got drownded in the deep blue sea.

Sew his shroud with a silken thread,
Sew his shroud with a silken thread,
Sew his shroud with a silken thread.
It was Willie what got drownded in the deep blue sea.

And lower him down on a golden chain,
Lower him down on a golden chain,
Lower him down on a golden chain,
It was Willie what got drownded in the deep blue sea.

(repeat first verse)

Hannah Sanders and Ben Savage sing Deep Blue Sea

Deep blue sea, honey, deep blue sea,
Deep blue sea, honey, deep blue sea,
Deep blue sea, honey, deep blue sea,
Stole my heart and took it down into the deep blue sea.

Wrap him up in a silken shroud,
Wrap him up in a silken shroud,
Wrap him up in a silken shroud,
Stole my heart and took it down into the deep blue sea.

Hear his voice in a windy night,
See his face in the pale moonlight,
Hear his voice in a windy night,
Stole my heart and took it down into the deep blue sea.

Lower him down with a golden chain,
Lower gin down with a golden chain,
Lower hint down with a golden chain,
Stole my heart and took it down into the deep blue sea.

Golden sun, bring him back to me
Golden sun, bring him back to me
Golden sun, bring him back to me
Stole my heart and took it down into the deep blue sea.

(repeat first verse)

Links

See also the Mudcat Café thread Lyr Req: Deep Blue Sea.