by Wellington Sea Shanty Society

  • Streaming + Download

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      $10 NZD  or more


  • 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 CD
    Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Classic jewel case CD with insert featuring the lyrics to the original shanties and how to play them on the guitar. PLUS a couple of WSSS tattoos! (while stocks last)

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

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In 2013 the W.S.S.S made waves with their first album - the Sunday Star Times called it "probably the best dance album of the year". Now, on June 29, 2015 the group will release a new collection of spume-filled anthems: NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL SEA SHANTIES Vol II.

Vol II sees the band exploring their NZ heritage and showcases the salty songwriting talent of Vorn and Lake. The album features 5 original songs that ‘shantify’ the stories of NZ historical figures such as Sam Parnell (credited with establishing the 8 hour working day in NZ), ‘Young Nick’ (supposedly awarded 5 gallons of rum by James Cook for sighting the promontory that would be named after him), and early European ‘Pakeha Maori’ Jacky Marmon (‘Cannibal Jack’) and George White (aka Barnett Burns).

With the translation of French classic ‘Le Corsaire Le Grand Coureur’, the South Pacific remix of ‘All For Me Grog’, and reworking of sealing classic ‘Blood Red Roses’, NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL SEA SHANTIES Vol II is truly a meaningful addition to sea song canon.


released June 29, 2015

Kia ora:
Friends and family, Croche Dedans (without whom we would not exist), Sprig & Fern Tinakori Rd, Southern Cross Bar, Rogue & Vagabond, Matthew and Golden Dawn crew, Radio stations that play us, and people who come to our shows and buy our music. Ahoy!

All songs recorded and mixed by Lake South and Vorn Colgan. All instruments played by Vorn Colgan and Lake South except violin by Su Keates and flute by Jess

Mastered by Joshua Lynn at Thinkt Studios




Wellington Sea Shanty Society Wellington, New Zealand

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

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Track Name: Le Corsaire Le Grand Coureur - (English Translation)
The corsaire the grand coureur
a vessel of disaster
when the fleet leave the shore
in pursuit of enemy
The wind, the waves, and the war
G Am Dm
turn against these men of sea

C'mon all hands hooray
C'mon all hands hoorah!

From Lorient to the great seas
with good waves
and good breeze
it tacks to portside fast
navigates the way with ease.
But alas a gust strikes the mast
Behold the state of our spars!

We must repair for the race
hoist the sails at a pace
whilst we work with good cheer
Look to the starboard, sail ho!
And sure enough a great
ship appears
Carronades signal our foe

It was an English ship it's true
with gunports and deadly crew
a trader in human souls
but we French know not fear.
Yes we will fight till the
death knell toll
The battle's why we're here.

With heavy fire danger grows
we return them blow for blow
and the beards of the brave
are steaming in the fight.
And then a mist does
drown us like a wave
And the enemy take flight!


And our swag after 6 months?
just three times they breached
our front
a fleet full of such loot
half-wrecked and but no defeat.
One boat was filled with
empty boots
Another packed with
rotten meat!

For the battles yet to come
we got feasts second to none
we've rancid lard & beans
vinegar in lieu of wine.
Rotten sea bread fit for a queen
A dose of camphor rise & shine!

If the story of grand coureur
does cause your heart to stir
we’ve one request, it's sincere
to drink, drink away.
Be it wine, be it rum, be it beer
Privateers will cheer hooray!
Track Name: Cannibal Jack
*Capo 3rd fret

Content to feast
on man or beast
they call him Cannibal Jack

You got the thirst
the grog he make
will put you flat on your back

He liked to fight
he fought to kill
he learned to cover his tracks

Be you warrior
be you sailor
none escape his wrath

Those folk who know
they know to hide
they see the dark top hat

So all you children
get to bed
before the sky turn black

Em D
“Lost faith in
my own race
C D Em
there’s no honour in their hearts
found more truthfulness
of man
in these people of the land”
Track Name: Hori Waiti (Barnet Burns)
Em D C D Em
Em D C Am Em

From these marks I earn my keep
I cannot work still I must eat
and when I look into the glass
for my family I weep

Born a sailor, born to work
down here they use me as a clerk
The sea it called, a call I heed
from Sydney’s shores I promptly fleed

Em D C
With Captain Brown mastered my trade
D Em
of flax and guns and regions gained
I learned the language of the coast
within one year I earned a post

A stranger in Mahia
one hundred miles from Pakeha
I slept my musket by my side
I feared each hour for my life.

I earned the trust of tribe and chief
my spirit grew, I gained belief
And so to bind me to the land
the chief offered his daughter’s hand

A ship was sent from Sydney town
with word I was to be shut down
For my friends and world I grieved
my wife with child I wouldn’t leave

It was time of war and death
my iwi swore they would protect
Pledged my honour to my tribe
fought with my brothers by my side

Armed with slaves in search of flax
one night Ngai Te Rangi attacked
We fought till every man was beaten
all but I was killed and eaten

The rival chief pled that I stay,
that I fight, and that I trade
The jealous said they’d eat my heart
they called for proof I’d play my part

For seven days they cut my face
then in the rain I fled in haste
Cries of joy when I appeared
musket shots revenge declared

100 toa I lead to war
in the siege of Kekeparoa
And with my moko entire
a rangatira or a liar

Two years I lived in happiness
the likes I will forever miss
Then the sea it called a call I heed
for this I’m cursed and now I bleed

The Bardester of Liverpool
would make land make me a fool
Sydney bound my wife I left
of brothers and of sons bereft

Every night I sell this story
for the coin more than the glory
No man’s known more regret
those distant islands haunt me yet

And the sea keeps us apart
across the sea I left my heart...
Track Name: All For Me Grog (South Pacific Remix)
well it's All For Me Grog me jolly jolly grog
all for me beer and tobacco
well I spent all me tin on the ladies drinkin gin
across the South Pacific I will wander

Well it's all for me boots me noggin noggin boots
gone for me beer and tobacco
well the heels are worn ot
and the toes are kicked about
and the sole is lookin out for better weather 


well it's all for me shirt me noggin noggin shirt
all for me beer and tobacco
well the collar it is worn
and the sleeves they are all torn
the tail is looking out for better weather 


Well I'm sick in the head and I haven't been to bed
since I've been ashore for me slumber
well I spent all me dough
on the ladies don't ye know
across the western ocean I will wander 

Track Name: Ballad of Young Nick
*Capo 3rd fret

Em D Em
I was born 10th of 10 in a town by the sea
Em D
And my father's heart died when my mother
died bearing me

Em G A
Dragged up in sorrow and always alone
G Bm
Still my heart did beat and my limbs did grow
Yo Ho
Em D
And when he'd grown tired of beating
me blue

Em D
My father said “I know who'll know what
to do with you”

Em G A
And off I was bundled to the Reverend's school
G Dm
Where the bullies were brutal
F# B
And the teacher was cruel
G Bm
And the switch did swing and the tears did flow
Yo Ho

Five years I suffered and fagged and was flogged
In the name of an absent and furious god
And I learned how to spell and I learned how to hide
And the bruises did heal but the scars did show
Yo Ho
And it came in the spring of my eleventh year
That I’d had all the beatings that one boy could bear
And I leapt out my window and ran through the night
With my hands all a-shake and heart pounding with fright
And the fear did spur and my heels did fly
Yo Ho
Plymouth’s ten miles from the place of my birth
But I wanted to run to the ends of the earth
So I hobbled on broken feet down to the docks
Where the night ladies flirt and the cutpurses flock
Yo Ho
I chose the first unguarded ship that I found
And I boarded though I knew not where she was bound
And I huddled my bones in a lifeboat astern
And I swore I’d not move, though the whole ship should burn
Till the anchors did weigh and the horizon did grow
Yo Ho
Three days from shore I was found by the crew
Huddled and starving and too weak to move
And I asked them all if I was going to die
And they told me “That’s for Captain Cook to decide”
Yo Ho
He said “By rights I should cast you straight overboard
You’re a spare mouth to feed that we can ill afford
But I’ll see that you’re fed if you’ll see that you earn it
And I pray for your sake you’ll be quick to learn
For the sea loves to feed on a sailor that’s slow”
Yo Ho
Now I’ve toiled like a dog from that day to this
I’ve seen times so hard that I tell you I’ve missed even
The rod of the Reverend and my father’s fists
When the cold waves did tower and the killer winds did blow
Yo Ho
I’ve looked on in horror as not once but twice
That mad captain drove us through oceans of ice
And he’d not change his order and he’d heed no advice
Though the sails set solid and the ropes were like iron
And the frozen air filled with the groans of the dying
Yo Ho
I’ve seen men marooned, glad to watch us set sail
I’ve seen a princess held hostage, seen spears fly like
I’ve seen good men go under while bad men prevail
Still my heart does beat and my limbs do grow
Yo Ho
I was born 10th of 10 in a town by the sea
And my father’s heart died when my mother
died bearing me
My heart still lives, and it longs to be home
And it fears that I’m destined forever to roam
Where the cold waves tower and the killer winds blow
Yo Ho
Track Name: Blood Red Roses (NZ Version)
Come all you sealers and listen to me,
A lovely song I'll sing to thee,
It was in 1803
That we set sail for the Southern Sea

Oh you Pinks and Posies
Come down you blood red roses come down!
Track Name: We’re Not In London Now (Sam Parnell’s Law)
*Capo 3rd fret
D Em C
Well a ship brought him from a far away land
D Em C
Where the labour worked in 14 hour stands
He docked in a place they called end of sand
& he said to Mary he’d thought himself a plan
D Em
We’re not in London now
We will not let them take all the light of our days
It could be 8 hours that we work here
8 hours for to sleep
Em C
8 hours with the family and the company you keep
As the boats sailed in to Port Nicholson
Sam Parnell gone welcomed all of them
And he called on all the women and all the men
To never work more than 8 hours again
We’re not in London now
It must be on these terms or be thrown in sea!
Yes it’s 8 hours that we work here
8 hours for to sleep
8 hours with the family and the company you keep
Track Name: Dry Land
When your skin is as dry and as cracked as old leather
Haul away all hands
And your eyes are burned red by the rum and the weather
Haul away to dry land

Dry land, boys, dry land
Am F
It’s the only place for a man
If I should die while I roam
Bury my bones on dry land

When the rum’s spun your head till you think down is up
Haul away all hands
And the devil wants paying for your last round of luck
Haul away to dry land

Dry land, boys, dry land
It’s the only safe place to stand
If I should die while I roam
Bury my bones on dry land
Track Name: NZ Whales
Come all of you whalemen who are cruising for sperm,
Come all of you seamen who have rounded Cape Horm;
For our captain has told us, and he says out of hand:
There's a thousand whales off th' coast of New Zealand/

Twas early one morning just as the sun rose
That a voice from the masthead cried out "There she blow".
Our captain cried "Where away and how does he lay?"
"Three points on our lee sir, scarce two mile away."

Then call up all hands and be of good cheer,
Get your lines and your rowboats and tackle-falls clear/
We sailed off the westwind and came up apace,
The whaleboats were lowered and set on the chase/

We fought him alongside, harpoon we thrust in.
In just over an hour he rolled out his fin.
The whale is cut in boys, tried-out and stowed down,
He's worth more to us boys than five hundred pound.

Our ship it is laden for home we will steer,
There's plenty of rum boys and plenty of beer.
We'll spend money freely for pretty girls ashore
And when it's all gone we'll go whaling for more!
Track Name: Mingulay Boat Song
Heel ya ho, boys, let her go, boys
Heave her head round to the weather
Heel ya ho, boys, let her go, boys
Sailing homeward to Mingulay

What care we though white the spray is
What care we for the wind and weather
Heel ya ho, boys, let her go, boys
Sailing homeward to Mingulay

Heel ya ho, boys, let her go, boys
Heave her head round to the weather
Heel ya ho, boys, let her go, boys
Sailing homeward to Mingulay

Wives are waiting by the pierhead
Or looking seaward from the heather
Heave her round boys and we'll anchor
Ere the sun sets on Mingulay

Heel ya ho, boys, let her go, boys
Heave her head round to the weather
Heel ya ho, boys, let her go, boys
Sailing homeward to Mingulay

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