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Around Cape Horn / Round Cape Gorn

[ Roud 2048 ; Ballad Index CAFS1049 ; trad.]

Gale Huntington sang Round Cape Horn in 1957 on his Folkways album Folksongs from Martha's Vineyard. A much longer version with 15 verses, A Song on the Nantucket Ladies, is in his book Songs the Whalemen Sang (pp. 165-167). The album notes commented:

This little known foc'sle song has a theme common in many sailor's songs—the false lover who barely waits for her sailor to leave before she starts ‘cruising’ on her own. Short voyage sailors might expect something better of their women, but whalers knew better than to expect their sweethearts to remain true for the two to four years that they might be at sea. Certainly this was the case with the whalers who rounded Cape Horn for the sperm whales of the Pacific Ocean. Atlantic or Greenland whalers hat it much easier and their trips where usually considerably shorter than those of the Pacific whalers.

This version of Round Cape Horn was learned from Welcome Tilton who had forgotten several more stanzas to the song.

Peter Bellamy learned Around Cape Horn from Gale Huntington. He recorded it in 1979 for his Topic LP Both Sides Then.

Lyrics

Gale Huntington sings Round Cape Horn Peter Bellamy sings Around Cape Horn

Chorus (repeated after each verse):
Right fal day, faddle diddle day,
Right fal rido, faddle diddle day

Round Cape Horn the young men go.
When the young men go away,
Then the young girls dress up neat
And they go a-cruisin' down the street.

Around Cape Horn all the young men go.
When the young men go away
Then all the young girls dress up neat,
They go a-cruisin' down the street.

Chorus (repeated after each verse):
Right fal day, faddle diddle day,
Right fal rido, faddle diddle day

Far from the fields are the young men gone,
Far from home and all forlorn.
Wish to God they'd never been born
For to go a-cruising round Cape Horn.

Now far from the fields are the young men gone,
They're far from home and all forlorn.
They wish to God they'd never been born
To go a-cruisin' round Cape Horn.

When those young men do get home
This is the story that they hear:
“Oh, come along, you need not fear
For no one's courted me, my dear.”

Now when those young men do return
This is the story they do hear:
“Come along with me, you need not fear
For no one has courted me this year.”

Sweet false smile they like for to wear
Long false curls and long false hair,
White satin slippers with a silken bow,
To take those young men all in tow.

Then a fine false smile they likes for to wear
With their long false curls, their long false hair,
Fine satin slippers with a silken bow,
They take those young men all in tow.