Randy Dandy-O

A traditional shanty dating to the late 18th century, and one of the earliest of its kind. This song reportedly influenced a number of others. Captain John Robinson dates the earliest version of the song in its current form to Canada in 1917, under the title "Galloping Randy Dandy O."

This song is one of the Longest Johns most common performances, with over a dozen video appearances, and it appears as the eighth track on the album Written in Salt.


The popular version of the song sung today by The Longest Johns (and others) was first recorded by The Young Tradition on their album Chicken on a Raft in 1967.

Rollicking is a stand-in word, sometimes replaced with 'galloping', but both take the place of bollocking, extremely informal slang meaning a 'dressing down' or a 'telling off.' The original lyrics are suggested to have been an unsubtle mockery of ships officers, with randy-dandy referring to "Dandies" (see also 'fops'), as naval officers were often required to maintain uniform dress at sea. Effectively, every verse and the chorus ends in a (sometimes not so) subtle mockery of the authority of the ship's officers.

The Horn - Cape Horn
Pawl - A short bar of Iron that prevents the capstan or windlass from turning back, heaving a pawl likely refers to turning around the capstan, this is, after all, a capstan shanty.
Parish Rigged - Slang meaning poorly equipped, a ship that was said to be parish rigged usually had a miserly captain, a sailor who was parish rigged usually ended up onboard with nothing but the clothes on his back.
Vallipo Bay - Valparaíso, Chile. A common stop for ships that voyaged around Cape Horn.


These lyrics are based on the version performed by the Longest Johns on their album, Written in Salt.

Now we are ready to head for the Horn
(Way hey, roll and go!)
Our boots and our clothes, boys, are all in the pawn
(To me, rollicking randy dandy-o!)

Heave a pawl, and heave away!
Way hey, roll and go!
The anchor's on board and the cables all stored
To me rollicking randy dandy-o!

Man the stout capstan and heave with a will!
(Way hey, roll and go!)
Soon we'll be driving her 'way down the hill!
(To me, rollicking randy dandy-o!)

Soon we'll be warping her out through the locks,
(Way hey, roll and go!)
where the pretty young girls all come down in flocks
(To me, rollicking randy dandy-o!)

We're outward bound for Vallipo Bay
(Way hey, roll and go!)
Get crackin' me lads, 'tis a hell of a way.
(To me, rollicking randy dandy-o!)

{Chorus til Finish}

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.