Canadian Shanties: Barrett’s Privateers

October 28, 2008 at 1:24 am 5 comments

Why are there only sea shanties?  Why not, say, land shanties?  Is saying “sea shanty” redundant?  These are important questions.

Best Shanty Ever:

Oh, the year was 1778,
( “How I wish I was in Sherbrook now!”)
A letter of mark came from the King
To the scummiest vessel I’d ever seen.

God damn them all!
I was told we’d cruise the seas for American gold.
We’d fire no guns, shed no tears.
I’m a broken man on a Halifax Peer,
The last of Barrett’s Privateers.

Well, Elcid Barrett cried the town
( “How I wish I was in Sherbrook now!”)
For twenty brave men all fisherman who
Would make for him the “Antelope’s” crew


The “Antelopes” sloop was a sickening sight
( “How I wish I was in Sherbrook now!”)
She had a list to the port and her sails in rags
And the cook in the scuppers with the staggers and jags


On the king’s birthday we put to sea
(“How I wish I was in Sherbrook now!”)
It was ninety one days to Montigo Bay
Pumping like madmen all the way


On the ninety sixth day we sailed again
( “How I wish I was in Sherbrook now!”)
When a bloody great Yankee hove in sight
With our cracked four-pounders we made to fight.


the Yankee lay low down with gold
( “How I wish I was in Sherbrook now!”)
She was broad and fat and loose in stays
But to catch her took the Antelope two whole days.


Then at length we stood two cables away
( “How I wish I was in Sherbrook now!”)
Our cracked four-pounders made an awful din
But with one fat ball the Yank stove us in


the Antelope shook and pitched on her side
( “How I wish I was in Sherbrook now!”)
Well Barrett was smashed like a bowl of eggs
And the Maintruck carried off both me legs.


So here I sit in my twenty-third year
( “How I wish I was in Sherbrook now!”)
It’s been six years since I sailed away
And I just made Halifax yesterday


Entry filed under: canadian, culture, music, youtube. Tags: , , , , , , , .

Canadian Support: Vote Ahmnodt Heare. Canadian Conflict: Amoeba Battle

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Alex L.  |  October 28, 2008 at 4:36 am

    It also brings to question the whole ‘shanty town’ concept, I’ve been to plenty of them and there is definitely no singing of the sea and high adventure!

  • 2. C. Fraser  |  October 28, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    Ahhhh…another good question!

  • 3. Roger Chartier  |  November 25, 2008 at 2:52 am

    I LOVE IT! You guys are great! I have recorded 2 cd’s of sea shanties and usually am the only person doing all the work. HA! . At least I can offer you several hundred pages of old sea shanty lyrics in case you need some.
    My ancestors are all from Canada!
    I was able to spend some vacation there this past summer.
    I have bookmarked your blog … I’ll be back
    Thanks Roger chartier
    New Bedford, Ma USA The Whaling City

  • 4. C. Fraser  |  November 25, 2008 at 3:12 am

    Thanks for your comment Roger. Great site! Thanks for sharing the link.

  • 5. Tales of the Cocktail, Vancouver | Manolo's Food Blog  |  January 15, 2011 at 7:07 am

    […] presumably, put on Barrett’s Privateers, don a festive toque (our Northern fez substitute) and enjoy. Yes, this is going to take some […]


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