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Sugar in the Hold

[trad.]

The Teacups sang Sugar in the Hold on their 2105 CD Of Labour and Love. They noted:

A steamboat work song, the origins of which are extensively debated online, but remain frustratingly unclear. According to the Illinois Museum, the J.M. White was an American vessel from Mississippi, launched in 1876. It seems to have been an unlucky one; although fast and powerful, it almost bankrupted the Captain, John W. Tobin, and was destroyed by fire in 1888.

This video shows them at The Poppy and Pint, West Bridgford, Nottingham on July 20, 2014:

Lyrics

The Teacups sing Sugar in the Hold

Well, I wish I was in Mobile Bay,
Screwing cotton all the day.
But I'm stowing sugar in the hold below,
Below, below, below.

Chorus (repeated after each verse):
Hey, ho, below, below
Stowing sugar in the hold below
Hey, ho, below, below
Stowing sugar in the hold below

The J.M. White, she's a new design,
Stern to stem she's mighty fine.
She can beat any boat on the New Orleans line,
Stowing sugar in the hold below.

“Tell the mate we got bad news:
Can't get no steam from the fire in the flue,”
The engineer he did bellow.
Stowing sugar in the hold below.

The captain's on the quarter deck,
Scratchin' away at his old neck.
“Heave the larboard lead, and let her go.”
Stowing sugar in the hold below.