The Longest Song Wiki

Sometimes mistaken as a Stan Rogers original due to his popularizing it in 1979, this song is actually a traditional folk piece from the mid 19th century, appearing first in a journal of a sailor aboard the Atkins Adams under a title "Rolling Down to Old Mohee."

This song appears as the sixth track on Written in Salt, and is one of the Longest John's more frequently sung songs.


These lyrics are based on the version performed by the Longest Johns on their album, Written in Salt the original lyrics can be found here.

{JD} It's a damned tough life, full of toil and strife
We whalermen undergo.
And we won't give a damn when the gales are done,
How hard the winds did blow.
For we're homeward bound from the Arctic Grounds
with a good ship taut and free,
And we won't give a damn when we drink our rum
(With the girls of old Maui)

Rolling down to old Maui, me boys,
Rolling down to old Maui.
We're homeward bound from the arctic grounds
Rolling down to old Maui.

Once more we sail with the northerly gales
Through the ice and sleet and rain.
Them coconut fronds, them tropical shores
We soon shall see again.
For six hellish months we've passed away
on the cold Kamchatka sea,
But now we're bound from the arctic ground,
(Rolling down to old Maui.)


Once more we sail with the northerly gales,
toward our island home.
Our whaling done, our main mast sprung,
and we ain't got far to roam
Our stuns'l bones is carried away
What care we for that sound?
A living gale is after us,
(Thank God we're homeward bound!)


How soft the breeze of the island trees,
Now the ice is far astern,
Them native maids, them tropical glades
is awaiting our return.
Even now their big brown eyes look out
Hoping some fine day to see
Our baggy sails running 'fore the gales
Rolling down to old Maui.