Leben mit Herman Melville

Rogue’s Gallery: The Art of the Siren, #4

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Song: Nick Cave: Fire Down Below (2:50 minutes)
from Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys, ANTI- 2006.
Buy CD in Germany and elsewhere.
Image: MyFlyAway: Goddamn, September 2, 2008.


She was the parson’s daughter with red and rosy cheeks.
(Way, hey, hee, hi, ho!)
She went to church on Sunday and sang the anthem sweet
and there’s fire down below.

The parson was a misery, so scraggy and so thin
(Way, hey, hee, hi, ho!)
Look here you motherfuckers if you lead a life of sin
and there’s fire down below.

He took his text from Malachi and pulled a weary face
(Way, hey, hee, hi, ho!)
and I fucked off for Africa and and there I fell from grace
’cause there’s fire down below.

The parson’s little daughter was as sweet as sugar candy
(Way, hey, hee, hi, ho!)
I said to her us sailors would make lovers neat and handy
’cause there’s fire down below.

She says to me: You sailors are a bunch of fucking liars
(Way, hey, hee, hi, ho!)
And all of you are bound to hell to feed the fucking fires
’cause there’s fire down below.

Well there’s fire down below, my lads, so we must do what we oughtta
(Way, hey, hee, hi, ho!)
Cause the fire is not half as hot as the parson’s little daughter
And there’s fire down below.

Explanatory liner notes by ANTI-:

A popular pumping chantey, this was actually the last chantey sung aboard a commercial British square-rigger, by Stan Hugill in 1929, as the barque Garthpool was pumped out for the last time. There are a number of versions, and in some the fire down below is more explicitly a reference to venereal disease.

Written by Wolf

1. November 2008 at 12:01 am

Posted in Siren Sounds

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