The Longest Song Wiki
Advertisement

Originating as a shanty on the Black Ball Line, a ferry line between New York and Liverpool, this song is dated to the 19th century by Doerflinger. It is a widely sung chanty and has a wide variance in lyrics and order of verses. A half-dozen or more versions exist on record in the Mudcat Cafe song database, and countless versions in songbooks besides.

Blow the Man Down appears as the the twelfth track on Between Wind and Water

Factoid:
The Longest Johns have had occasion to include an additional verse referencing a certain cartoon character.

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea
(Wey hey, blow the man down)
Absorbant, and yellow and porous is he
(Give me some time to blow the man down)

Lyrics

These lyrics are based on the version performed by the Longest Johns on their album Between Wind and Water. Too many variations of this song exist to even guess at an original version of the lyrics.

Come all ye young fellows who follow the sea,
(to me! Wey hey, blow the man down)
And pray pay attention and listen to me
(Give me some time to blow the man down)

I'm a deep water sailor just in from Hong Kong
(to me! Wey hey, blow the man down)
If you buy me a drink, then I'll sing you a song
(Give me some time to blow the man down)

{Chorus} Blow the man down, bullies, blow the man down
Wey hey, blow the man down
Blow him right back into Liverpool town
Give me some time to blow the man down

There's tinkers and tailors and soldiers and all
(To me! Wey hey, blow the man down)
They all ship for sailors on board the Black Ball
(Give me some time to blow the man down)

You'll see those poor devils how they will all scoot
(Wey hey, blow the man down)
Assisted along by the toe of a boot
(Give me some time to blow the man down)

{Chorus}

It's starboard and larboard on deck they will sprawl
(To me! Wey hey, blow the man down)
For kickin' Jack Williams commands the Black Ball
(Give me some time to blow the man down)

Lay aft now, ya lubbers, lay aft now I say
(To me! Wey hey, blow the man down)
I'll none of yer dodges on my ship today
(Give me some time to blow the man down)

{Chorus}

So I'll give you fair warning before we belay
(To me! Wey hey, blow the man down)
Don't ever take heed of what chantymen say
(Give me some time to blow the man down)

{Chorus til finish}

Advertisement