by Wellington Sea Shanty Society

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    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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  • Full Digital Discography

    Get all 5 Wellington Sea Shanty Society releases available on Bandcamp and save 35%.

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of Ahoy!, Now That's What I Call A Sea Shanty Podcast, NOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL SEA SHANTIES Vol II, NOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL SEA SHANTIES vol. 1, and The Cook Strait Demos. , and , .

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  • Limited Edition Compact Disc
    Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Jewel case CD with double sided A4 shanty sheet so you can sing along as you listen. Guitar chords also included!

    Includes unlimited streaming of NOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL SEA SHANTIES vol. 1 via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

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A drop of Nelson's Blood wouldn't do us any harm A drop of Nelson's Blood wouldn't do us any harm A drop of Nelson's Blood wouldn't do us any harm & We'll all hang on behind. & We'll roll the old chariot along & We'll roll the old chariot along & We'll roll the old chariot along & We'll all hang on behind. A can of Double Brown... A shot of single malt.. A little bit of loving... A penthouse suite... A feed of falafel...
John Kanak 03:02
*capo 2nd fret D On a whaling ship John woke today D A D John Kanak Kanak a too la aye D Just as some bloke called "anchors aweigh!" D A D John Kanak Kanak a too la aye Chorus D Ah too la aye ah too la aye D A D John Kanak Kanak a too la aye D Ah too la aye ah too la aye D A D John Kanak Kanak a too la aye They signed 'im up in a beer café Got him drunk for free but soon he'd pay Now he hoists the sail in the cold sea spray while the bastard captain he sips Mount Gay! Rounding Cape Horn John started to pray But god is cruel in a stormy way They look for whales or the live long day Ain't caught naught but the towering waves E John jumped 'a' ship down at Spirits Bay E B E John Kanak Kanak a too la aye Met a Maori girl from Whangarei Now John's content with his Wahine Swears to her he'll never whale again.
*capo 2nd fret Am Em When I was a little lad, Dm Em Or so my mother told me Am Em Way, haul away, Dm Em Am we’ll haul away,  Joe That if I did not kiss the girls My lips would grow all mouldy Way, haul away We’ll haul away, Joe. King Louis was the King of France Before the revolution But then he got his head cut off Which spoiled his constitution. Oh, once I had a Newtown girl And she was fat and lazy Then I got a Brooklyn gal She damn near drove me crazy. So I got a Tawa girl And she was kind and tender She left me for a Aucklander So young and rich and slender. Way, haul away I’ll sing to you of Nancy Way, haul away She’s just my cut and fancy. Oh, once I was in Napier Workin' at the New World But now I’m on the J'ville Line A-hauling suits and school girls. The cook is in the galley Making duff so handy And the captain’s in his cabin Drinkin’ wine and brandy. Way, haul away The good ship is a-bowling Way, haul away The sheet is now a-blowing. Way, haul away We’ll haul away together Way, haul away We’ll haul for better weather.
C F C I’ve traded with the Maori, Brazilians and Chinese F C G C I’ve courted dark-eyed beauties, beneath the kauri trees. C F C I’ve travelled along with a laugh and a song in the land where they call you mate F C G C Around the Horn and home again, for that is the sailor’s fate. Chorus Am Across the Line C The Gulf Stream F C I’ve been in Table Bay. Am Around the Horn C And home again Am G C For that is the sailor’s way. I’ve run aground in many a sound, without a pilot aboard Longboat lowered by lantern light, pushed off and gently oared. Row-lock creaking, a thumping swell and a wind that’d make you ache Who would sail the seven seas and share a sailor’s fate? We’ve sailed away to Northward, we’ve hauled away to East We’ve skimmed our sail in the teeth of a gale and stood in the calmest seas We’ve set our course by a Southern Star, by Stewart through the Strait Westward round by Milford Sound, for that is the sailor’s fate.
D Come all you tonguers and land-loving lubbers  A Here's a job cutting-in and boiling down blubbers  D A job for the youngster or old and ailing                                  A The agent will take any man for shore whaling Chorus:          D                     A I am paid in soap and sugar and rum                                    D For cutting in whale and boiling down tongue          G                             D The agent's fee makes my blood so to boil                              A            D I'll ... push! him in a hot pot of oil Go hang the agent, the company too  They are making a fortune off me and off you  No chance of a passage from out of this place  And the price of living's a blooming disgrace!!
Davy Lowston 02:51
G D G Oh my name is Davy Lowston, I did seal, I did seal.  G D G My name is Davy Lowston, I did seal. G Em C D Though my men and I were lost, though our very lives it cost  Em C D We did seal, we did seal, we did seal We were set down in Open Bay, we were set down, were set down  We were set down in Open Bay, we were set down  We were left we gallant men, never more to sail again  For to seal, for to seal, for to seal. Our Captain John Bedar he set sail, he set sail.  Our Captain John Bedar he set sail  “I’ll return, men, & not fail” - but she foundered in a gale And went down, and went down, and went down. We cured ten thousand skins for the fur, for the fur.  We cured ten thousand skins for the fur. Brackish water, putrid seal, we did all of us fall ill, For to die, for to die, for to die. Come all you sailor lads who sail the sea, sail the sea, Come all you jolly tars who sail the sea, Though the schooner Governor Bligh took on some who did not die  Never seal, never seal, never seal.
Am There was a ship that put to sea, Am The name of the ship was the Billy of Tea  Am The winds blew up, her bow dipped down, Em Am O blow, my bully boys, blow. Chorus F C Soon may the Wellerman come  Dm Am And bring us sugar and tea and rum. F C One day, when the tonguin’ is done,  Em Am We’ll take our leave and go. She had not been two weeks from shore  When down on her a right whale bore.  The captain called all hands and swore  He’d take that whale in tow. Before the boat had hit the water  The whale’s tail came up and caught her.  All hands to the side, harpooned and fought her  When she dived down below. No line was cut, no whale was freed;  The Captain’s mind was not of greed,  But he belonged to the whaleman’s creed;  She took the ship in tow. For forty days, or even more,  The line went slack, then tight once more.  All boats were lost (there were only four)  But still the whale did go. As far as I know, the fight’s still on;  The line’s not cut and the whale’s not gone.  The Wellerman makes his regular call  To the Captain, crew, and all.
*Capo 4th fret Am T'was an illustrious crew aboard the Manchester G Am All buccaneers o' the big blue and captained by Spencer Am F7 Em A chain o' gold or a wooden leg whatever, come what may Am Em Am the pirate oath 'll keep us true until judgement day! Refrain So Reagan Dougan and the sailor folk Hi Ho! Stand by to board! & then our hoard! will only grow & grow! Slay 'em all for the haul or your final hurrah 'll be to hang your neck in noose like a pompous bourgeois! T'was a sacred gang 'o scum sea farin' pirates all Scallywags each 'n every one, at daylight & night fall To steal & loot & stab & shoot it's our occupation For the gold you have to kill - it's no quarter given! Revelry, addled frenzy, no fear o' hangin' dead Your heart lives on dreams of sea, your hands are bloody red For a lass, or an affront, we'll fight another day We only dream of the hunt, for it's no prey means no pay! Hurrah the girls hurrah the fair we moor in the Caribees We're gonna drink up to forget great carnage of the seas. And in my final battle fought my arm got cut right off After one thousand coins were swiped from a stinkin' bourgeois toff!
*Capo 2nd fret Em D Lost patience for dry land Em D And this slow and powerless fate Em D Is this life guided by my hands? Em D Or the man, his coin and the state? G D And there’s some solace in sweethearts G D And in beer drunk among friends But the gloom grows in the daylight As we sell our souls to the scum There’s a glory just beyond our sight It’s been passed from father to son So we’ll set our sails tomorrow and tonight we’ll drink merrily With the wind there’s a way to find freedom on the waves of the great open sea…


The Sea Hates a Coward | A history of the W.S.S.S

"What comes first the sea or the shanty? For some, the shanty is their only way to relate the un-relatable: the foam of days – a life at Sea. For others, a shanty may transmit a maladie, something the sea alone can cure. Since time immemorial (1804), members of the Wellington Sea Shanty Society, however, have known there is no separating the salt from the spume.

They say the first W.S.S.S Shanteur was half man, half taniwha, half woman. Wasn’t so much born as broke upon the land, like a rogue wave, round Makara way. Had a voice like a porpoise in heat and moved like seaweed in the shallows. This mysterious progenitor 
soon had the whares and flophouses of Whanga-nui-a Tara awash with marine melodies. Wellington was officially a shanty town. 

The most affected began to meet secretly, after dark, at bring-a-bottle affairs on the bad side of Breaker Bay. The gatherings were frequented by visiting sailors from far and wide – and the regulars known as the finest (and drunkest) choir in the south seas. No surprise that when the law came to town, they were driven undergound.

BUT – the bottle is full again! The W.S.S.S have surfaced and can be heard singing once more. What's more, they can be sung with too! - without (much) fear of inprisonment. 

The current performing members, Lake Davineer & Vorn Dont le Père Etait Marin, have even been accorded the rank of Shanatee* -the highest honour the W.S.S.S can bestow.

It’s not often a group is at once our heritage and our future. With a shanty there’s a way to find freedom, on the waves of the great open sea..."

Lin Seal | Wellington Nautical History Monthly

*after the legendary group of manatees taught to sing shanties by 15th century sailors


released July 1, 2013

Vorn Dont le Père Etait Marin: Squeezebox, Bass, Vocals, Log Drum
Lake Davineer: Guitar, Vocals, Percussion
Ben Wood: Kick Drum, Tom Drums
Su Keates: Violin
Mike D: Double Bass

Recorded/mixed by Lake in the galley of an old abandoned barque.
Ahoy! and Thank you: Friends & family, People who sing at shows
and un Grand Merci à Croche Dedans!




Wellington Sea Shanty Society Wellington, New Zealand

Aotearoa New Zealand's Most 'Sea Worthy' Shanty Group™

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