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Let Her Go Down

Steeleye Span: Gone to America (Chrysalis CHS 2503)

Gone to America / Let Her Go Down
Steeleye Span

Chrysalis CHS 2503 (single, p/s, UK, March 1981)

[Steeleye Span]

This track from Steeleye Span's reunion album Sails of Silver. was also released as B-side of the single Gone to America. A live recording from the Royal Opera Theatre in Adelaide, Australia in 1982 was released on the rare Australian-only LP On Tour. Another live version from St. David's Hall, Cardiff on December 6, 1994 can be found on the video 25 Live: The Classic Twenty Fifth Anniversary Tour Concert.

Steeleye Span recorded this song a second time for the CD Present to accompany the December 2002 reunion tour.

Lyrics

Steeleye Span sing Let Her Go Down

Sometime in October
We sailed from New England's shore
When we sailed into a raging storm
Like I've never ever seen before
And all of the crew, they were brave men
But the captain, he was braver
He said: “Never mind the ship, me boys
There's none of us here can save her”

Chorus (after each verse):
Let her go down
Swim for your lives
Swim for your children
Swim for your wives
But let her go down
Just let her go down

Lost in the open ocean
There were some of the crew and me
While the captain steered our wounded ship
To the bottom of an angry sea
And with his dying breath we all heard him say
“Just the fortunes of a sailor”
And he said: “Never mind the ship, me boys
There's none of us here can save her”

He wondered if his shipmates
were ready just to pray and give in
So he called their names out one by one
But there was no-one else around but him
He saw the ship go down in the fading light
And he knew they couldn't save her
He said: “The captain lied when the captain cried
There's none of us here can save her”

Notes

According to Peter Knight's website, the original demo of this song had a different last verse as follows. But then the song was considered single material and the verse was changed to the above wording so that Maddy could sing it.

I wondered if my shipmates
Had been lost in that rolling sea
So I called their names out one by one
But there was no one else around but me
And as that ship went down in the fading light
I knew we could have saved her
The captain lied when the captain cried
“There's none of us here can save her”