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Tilbury Town

Originally titled Rolling down the River and written by Jack Forbes of the Hoy Shanty Crew for a radio programme about Tilbury in 1982, this song is oft misattributed as a traditional folk song. Largely, perhaps, due to how prolific it has become in the folk music community. It has been performed by countless bands worldwide at innumerable festivals, and, as Jack himself notes, has even been translated into Polish.

This song was the stream-opener of the Longest Johns Youtube stream of the 27th of November 2019. This was the result of a vote made on Discord. The band was joined by the Bristolian musician Natalie Holmes.

Factoids

The Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) is a type of shipping container used on cargo ships, and also often used as a (rather inaccurate) measure of capacity.

The port of Tilbury rests on the river Thames and is historically one of the most prominent shipping ports not just for London but for the whole of England. It is the largest deep water port on the Thames. It is estimated that Tilbury processes more than two millions tonnes of cargo yearly.

Lyrics

These lyrics are based on the version sung by the Longest Johns in their November 2019 Livestream.

When first I saw a TEU
{Rolling up and rolling down}
I wondered where the hell they stored the crew
{To go rolling down the river}
(Hey!)

{Chorus}
Rolling up and rolling down,
We'll all get drunk in Tilbury Town
Twenty four hours to turn around
and go rolling down the river

Well cargo it comes in TEUs
{Rolling up and rolling down}
A 20-foot box, boys, filled with booze
{To go rolling down the river}
(Whoo!)

{Chorus}

There's a Tilbury girl called Kettle Jane
{Rolling up and rolling down}
She's hot on the boil and off again
{To go rolling down the river}

{Chorus}

Well she's got a mate called Teapot Anne
{Rolling up and rolling down}
She gets well brewed, she likes her man
{To go rolling down the river}
(Hey!)

{Chorus}

Well Tilbury girls go round in pairs
{Rolling up and rolling down}
You won't catch them, boys, unawares
{To go rolling down the river}
(Hey!)

{Chorus}

Well we're the boys to kick her through
{Rolling up and rolling down}
To hell with the channel and the TEU
{Let's go down the river}
(Hey!)
{Chorus until finish}

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