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The Dogger Bank

[ Roud 18836 ; Ballad Index OSY1021 ; Bodleian Bod11748 ; trad.]

Norfolk singer Sam Larner sang The Dogger Bank in a recording made by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger in 1958-60, who printed it in their book The Singing Island. The first verse of it was spliced into the radio ballad Singing the Fishing (at the end of track 4 of the Topic CD) and the whole song was included on Larner's Folkways anthology, Now Is the Time for Fishing. The album's liner notes commented:

This is possibly an English parody of the American song Cruise of the Bigler [ Roud 645 ; Laws D8 ; Ballad Index LD08 ], and probably is of music hall origin. The reference to the Knickerbocker Line in the last chorus is almost certainly an echo from the very popular music-hall song which greeted the inauguration of the Boston street-car service known as The Knickerbocker Line. Another song, which has for its refrain the final chorus of the song printed here, was collected by Cecil Sharp in 1911 at Shipton, Somerset (Sharp MS 2620). The tune appears to be fairly wide distributed in both Scotland and Ireland. Mr Larner learned his version of the song in 1890 from a trawler fisherman in Great Yarmouth.

Peter Bellamy learned The Dogger Bank from the singing of Sam Larner and sang it in 1969 on his second LP, Fair England's Shore. He commented in his album's sleeve notes:

The Dogger Bank is another of Sam Larner's fishing songs, but this one probably began life in America, to come over with the “Coon Shows”, go into the music-halls and eventually find its way to the fishermen who adapted it (drastically) to their own needs.

Johnny Collins with Dave Webber and Pete Watkinson sang The Dogger Bank on his 1996 CD Shanties & Songs of the Sea.

Jim Eldon sang The Dogger Bank in 1997 on his and Lynette Eldon's eponymous CD Jim & Lynette Eldon.

Lyrics

Sam Larner sings The Dogger Bank Peter Bellamy sings The Dogger Bank

O, sailing over the Dogger Bank
O, wasn't it a treat?
The wind a-blowing 'bout east north east,
So we had to give her sheet.
You ought to see us rally,
The wind a-blowing free,
A passage from the Dogger Bank
To Great Grimsby.

Sailing over the Dogger Bank
Oh, wasn't it a treat?
The wind a-blowing 'bout east north east,
We had to give our sheet.
You should to see us rally,
The wind a-blowing free,
A passage from the Dogger Bank
To Great Grimsby.

Chorus:
So watch her, twig her,
The proper juber-jus,
Give her sheet, let her rip,
We're the boys to put her through.
You ought to see us rally,
The wind a-blowing free,
A passage from the Dogger Bank
To Great Grimsby.

Chorus:
So watch her, twig her,
She's a proper juber-ju.
Give her the sheet and let her rip,
We're the boys to see her through.
You should to see us rally,
The wind a-blowing free,
A passage from the Dogger Bank
To Great Grimsby.

Now our captain he's a shangaroosh
He likes a drop of good ale,
Our mate he is a road-stone inspector,
He's been seen in many a jail.
Our third hand he's a bush ranger,
He comes from the African Isles,
And you give a look at the poor old cook,
He is so hoppity wild.

Now the captain he's a shangaroosh
And he loves a drop of good ale,
The mate he is a road-stone inspector,
He's been seen in many a jail.
The third hand he's a bush ranger,
He comes from the African Isle,
And take a look at the poor old cook,
He gets the bugger wild.

(Chorus)

(Chorus)

Now, we are the boys to make a noise
When we come home from sea,
We get right drunk, we roll on the floor,
And cause a jubilee;
We get right drunk and full of beer
And roll all over the floor,
And when our rent it is all spent,
We'll go to sea for more.

Now, we are the boys to make a noise
When we come home from sea,
We get right drunk, we roll on the floor,
We have a jubilee;
We get right drunk and full of beer
We roll all over the floor,
And when the rent it is all spent,
We'll go to sea for more.

(Chorus)

Final chorus:
So watch her, twig her,
The piperay she goes;
High heels, painted toes,
Jinnie is all the go;
She is one of the flash girls,
Can't she cut a shine?
She can do-a the double shuffle
On the Knickerbocker Line.

So it's watch her, twig her,
It's down the street she came;
With high heels and painted toes
Good Jinnie is on the game
She is one of them flash girls,
Can't she cut a shine?
She can do a double shuffle
On the Knickerbocker Line.

(Chorus)

(spoken) There's something human about a sailing boat… how they answer to the helm and… you know… how they… they do. And if you treat 'em kindly they'll tread you kindlier. Don't punish 'em. Some of them punish 'em too much, give 'em too much sail and they'll labour and all that. You've gotta… you've gotta study what your ship want, what sail she want and how… how to handle her. That's the main thing o' sailing o' boats.

Links

See also the Mudcat Café thread Juberju/Juber ju/Ju bi ju.