The Longest Song Wiki

Originally written by fellow Bristolian Ian "Nobby" Dye of the Harry Browns of Bristol, the Corncrake pays homage to a General Steam Navigation of London vessel which frequently brought brandy, port, and wines to the city docks of Bristol in the 1960s.


The Corncrake, or landrail, is a bird of the "rail" family whose sound is reportedly so loud and monotone that it is compared to "two cheese-graters rubbed together." Despite their name they do not, in fact, nest in corn fields.


These lyrics are based on the version performed by the Longest Johns in their Youtube video, the nearest source to the original lyrics (a transcription shared with a mudcatter by Ian himself) can be found here.

The summer sky, the setting sun
The Corncrake steams on the Bristol run
Brandy for the waiters tray
The sailors they have earned their pay

O'er the sea to Bristol Town
Loaded down the Brandy O
O'er the sea to Bristol Town
Loaded down the Brandy O, Brandy O


Rolling in the deep green lay
Towards the hills of Redcliffe Bay
The Corncrake steams upon her way
Through the moonlit night for the brake of day


Then the Captain I heard tell
That's the sound of the King's Road Bell
Down the reach to the Harbourside
Safe and sound from the Severn Tide


We then made fast both fore and aft
For the Corncrake, she's a pleasant craft
Now ashore to have some fun
Drinking from a bottle of rum

{Chorus in a round til finish}