> The Halliard > Songs > A Thousand Miles Away
> Spiers & Boden > Songs > Blow the Winds High-O

Ten Thousand Miles Away / Blow the Winds High-O

[ Roud 1778 ; G/D 6:1102 ; Ballad Index MA084 ; Bodleian Roud 1778 ; Joseph Bryan Geoghegan (c. 1816-1889)]

Ten Thousand Miles Away is a shanty printed in Stan Hugill's Shanties from the Seven Seas, pp. 312-313.

Sarah Makem sang it as Blow ye Winds Hi-O in two recording made by Diane Hamilton in 1956 and by Paul Carter and Sean O'Boyle in 1967. Both were included in 2011 on her Musical Traditions anthology As I Roved Out. Rod Stradling commented in the accompanying booklet:

Written for the Music Hall by Joseph B. Geoghegan (1816-1889). He was born in Barton upon Irwell, Lancs, and probably wrote his songs while manager of the Star and Museum Music Hall in Bolton. More usually known as Ten Thousand Miles Away, it's found—though infrequently—all over the English-speaking world, with 47 Roud entries. Stan Hugill has a shanty version of it in Shanties from the Seven Seas, and few sound recordings are known: Robert Cinnamond, Hugh McAlindon, Louie Hooper and Fred Smale, both from Sussex, and the only one available on CD, Walter Pardon [see below].

The Halliard sang this shanty as A Thousand Miles Away on their album The Halliard : Jon Raven, originally published in 1968 and reissued on CD in 1997. Later, this recording was also included in the Halliard's CD Broadside Songs. The Halliard's version is somewhat different to Hugill's, it just shares two verses and half of Hugill's chorus.

Tony Hall sang Ten Thousand Miles Away during the recording sessions for his 1977 Free Reed album Fieldvole Music. This recording was finally published in 2002 on the Free Reed anthology This Label Is Not Removable, and in 2007 on the original album's CD reissue.

Walter Pardon sang Blow the Winds I-O in a recording made by Mike Yates in June 1978. It was published in 1983 on his Home Made Music album Bright Golden Store: Songs and Music from Knapton in Norfolk and in 2000 on his Musical Traditions anthology Put a Bit of Powder on It, Father.

Brian Peters and Gordon Tyrrall sang Blow the Winds I-O in 1996 on their Harbourtown duo album, Clear the Road.

Jon Boden sang a version quite similar to Hugill's as the September 25, 2010 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day, though he chose to call it Blow the Winds High-O after the first chorus line.

A few years earlier, John Spiers and Jon Boden sang an abbreviated form of Blow the Winds High-O with just two verses, bookended by two John Spiers tunes (Holly's Reel and The Pork Pie Polka), on their 2005 Fellside CD Tunes. They commented in their sleeve notes:

The first tune is a rant John wrote for his new niece who came to her first gig before she was born and the last one is a heel & toe polka that he wrote after running around the unlit Welsh countryside with The Folk Mutants. In the middle is a nautical ditty.

Bellowhead recorded 10,000 Miles Away in 2012 for their album Broadside.

Please note that A.L. Lloyd's song A Thousand Miles Away is a quite different song about the cattle runs of outback Queensland.

Lyrics

Walter Pardon sings Blow the Winds I-O Sarah Makem sings Blow the Winds Hi-O (1956)

Hey ho for a gay and gallant barque
A brisk and lively breeze
A valiant crew and a Captain, too,
To carry me over the seas
To carry me over the seas, my boys
To my sweetheart, young and gay
She's taken a trip on a sailing ship
Ten thousand miles away.

Cold and stormy was the night
When first I met me Peg;
She'd a government band around each hand
And another one round her leg,
She'd another one round her leg, me boys,
And while I sing I pray
Well, she's doing it grand in a distant land,
Three thousand miles away.

Chorus (repeated after each verse):
Blow the winds I-O, roving I will go
I'll stay no more on England's shore
So let your music play
I'm off by the morning train
To cross the raging main
I'm on the move to my own true love
Ten thousand miles away.

Chorus (repeated after each verse):
Blow ye winds hi-ho, roving I will go,
I'll stay no more round England's shore
So let the music play.
I'll be off on the morning train
For to cross the stormy main,
I'll be on the move to me own true love
Three thousand miles away.

My sweetheart she is beautiful
My sweetheart she is fair
Her eyes are blue as the violet's hue
And golden is her hair
And golden is her hair, my boys
And while I sing this lay
She doing the grand in a foreign land
Ten thousand miles away.

My love she is beautiful
My love she is young
My love she is beautiful
And silver sounds her tongue
Silver sounds her tongue, me boys,
And while I sing I pray
Well, she's doing it grand in a distant land
Three thousand miles away.

I wish I were a captain bold,
And then I do declare
I'd hire a boat and away I'd float
To my own true-love so dear
To my own true-love so dear, my boys
Where the fishes lark and play
The whales and sharks are having larks
Ten thousand miles away.

The sun may shine through the thickest fog
The rivers run bright and clear
The ocean's brine be turned to wine
Before I forget my beer
I'll never forget my beer, my boys
While I have means to pay
I'll never part with my own sweetheart
Ten thousand miles away.

Jon Boden sings Blow the Winds High-O
on A Folk Song a Day
Jon Boden sings Blow the Winds High-O
on Tunes

It's of a brave and a gallant ship
With a fair an' a fav'ring breeze,
And a goodly crew and a captain too,
For to carry me over the seas.
For to carry me over the seas, my lads,
To my true love far away;
I'm taking a trip on a Government ship
Ten thousand miles away!

Chorus (repeated after each verse):
And sing blow the winds high-o,
A-roving I will go.
I'll stay no more on England's shore
For to hear the music play,
For I'm off on the morning train
And I won't be back again.
For I'm taking a trip on a Government ship
Ten thousand miles away.

Oh, my true love she was beautiful,
My true love she was young;
Her eyes were like the diamonds bright
And silvery was her tongue.
And silvery was her tongue, my lads,
As the big ship left the bay
She said, will you remember me
Ten thousand miles away?

Oh, my true love she was beautiful,
My true love she was fair;
Her eyes were like the diamonds bright
And silvery was her hair.
And silvery was her hair, my lads,
As the big ship left the bay
And I said that I'd be true to her
Ten thousand miles away!

Oh dark and dismal was the day
When last I saw my Meg,
She'd a Government band around each hand
And another one around the leg.
And another one around the leg, my lads,
As the big ship left the bay,
I said that I'd be true to her
Ten thousand miles away.

Oh the sun may shine through a London fog
And the river run quite clear,
And the ocean's wine turn into brine
And I'll forget my beer.
and I'll forget my beer, my lads,
And the landlord's quarter-day
Before I'll forget my own dear Meg
Ten thousand miles away.

Now the sun may shine through the London fog
Or the river run quite clear,
Or the ocean's brine turn into wine
Or I forget my beer.
Or I forget my beer, my lads,
And the landlord's quarter-day
Before I'll forget my own delight
Ten thousand miles away.

Chorus:
And sing blow the winds high-o
A-roving I will go
I'll stay no more on England's shore
For to hear the music play
For I'm off on the morning train
And I won't be back again
For I'm taking a trip on a Government ship
Ten thousand miles away.

The Halliard sing A Thousand Miles Away  

Sing oh for a brave and a gallant barque,
A brisk and a lively breeze,
A little crew and a captain too,
To carry me over the seas.

Chorus (repeated after each verse):
And sing blow, ye winds, hi-ho,
A-roving I will go.
I'll stay no more on England's shore:
So let the music play.

Oh my love she is beautiful,
My love she is young.
Her eyes are as blue as the violet's hue
And delicately then she smiles.

Oh that was a dark and a dismal day
When we left the strand;
She bid goodbye with a tearful eye
And sadly waved her hand.

If I were but a bosun bold
Or maybe a bombardier,
I'd hire a boat and hurry afloat;
Straight to my love I'd steer.

So straight to my love steer, me boys,
Though the dancing dolphins play.
Though the whales and the sharks are having their larks,
It's a thousand miles away.

Though the sun may shine through a London fog,
The Thames run bright and clear.
Though the ocean's brine be turned to wine,
I'll ne'er forget my dear.

Acknowledgements and Links

See also the Mudcat Café thread Lyr. Add: Ten Thousand Miles Away.

Thanks to Garry Gillard for the Halliard's verses.