Leben mit Herman Melville

Rogue’s Gallery: The Art of the Siren, #13

with 5 comments

For starters into a new year, a whaling-related one again: The show continues. Happy 2009.

Song: Sting: Blood Red Roses (2:45 minutes)
from Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys, ANTI- 2006.
Buy CD in Germany and elsewhere.
Image: Herbert James Draper: The Water Nymph, c. 1900.


My boots and clothes are all in pawn —
Get down you blood red roses, get down!
It’s flaming drafty round Cape Horn
Get down you blood red roses, get down!

Chorus: Woe! You pinks and posies —
Get down you blood red roses, get down!

My dear old mother she said to me:
My dearest son come home from sea!

It’s around Cape Horn where I must go,
I’ve chased the whales through the frost and snow.

You’ve got your advance and to sea you’ll go,
Tae chase the whales through the frost and snow.

It’s around Cape Horn you’ve got to go,
For that is where the whalefish blow.

It’s growl you may, but go you must,
If you growl too much your head they’ll bust.

Just one more pull and that will do,
For we’re the boys to kick her through.

Explanatory liner notes by ANTI-:

This halyard chantey was popular in Cape Horn ships out of Liverpool. It is most probably based on a family of Irish and English folk songs concerning the Napoleonic Wars. The “blood red roses” may be a reference to British redcoat soldiers, or it may be the capitol cities of Europe, referred to as the “bonnie bunch of roses” that Napoleon tried to gather and lost, in an Irish song of that name.

Be sure to participate in the
December Contest
before Sunday, January 11th!

Written by Wolf

1. January 2009 at 12:01 am

Posted in Siren Sounds

5 Responses

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  1. A few lyric edits…

    Our boots and clothes are all in pawn
    It’s flamin’ drafty ’round Cape Horn

    If you growl too much your head they’ll bust

    For we’re the boys to kick ‘er through

    Sting’s version appears to be derivative of recordings by A.L. Lloyd. Of course, Lloyd can be seen singing this chantey in the Moby Dick film:


    Hulton Clint

    14. January 2009 at 5:54 am

  2. Aye — thank you! The lyrics are edited.

    And would you ever have noticed that you solved the puzzle in’s-gallery-the-art-of-the-siren-12 ? Youtube keeps throwing my comment out (in my own clip…), so I hope you find the great news here. If you like to pick up your prize, feel free.


    14. January 2009 at 6:04 am

  3. Dear Wolf,

    First, let me apologize for communicating in English on this site. Unfortunately, I don’t understand so much German.

    I just chanced upon these pages through the link on YouTube. (I regularly search for new postings with keyword “chantey”.) I happened to see your lyrics request, then I looked to see if you had any other with lyrics I might be able to help with. Sorry if my comments were brief and without much context!

    So you say there is a prize :) That is OK, I don’t require a prize; someone else should have it! However, thank you very much for putting a link to my site. And, if I may take this opportunity to mention my chanteys project: Stan Hugill’s text has a few hundred chanteys; so far I have learned (by memory) over 100. “Dan Dan” is in that text, so eventually I will try to record my interpretation of it, and maybe at that time you could post a link to that.

    “Dan Dan” is a rare chantey. In all probability, David Thomas has based his recording directly from a recording by singers from Mystic Seaport (in my home state of Connecticut, U.S.A.). THEIR version, I would guess, is their unique re-creation based off of Hugill’s text. The text is not very explicit, so they probably had to use a lot of imagination to develop it from such scanty notes.


    P.S. On YouTube, if you type a URL in a comment, they will not allow you to post it. Perhaps that is why they were throwing out your comment?

    Hulton Clint

    16. January 2009 at 12:13 am

  4. Not requiring an advertised reward, that’s what I call generosity :o)

    New recommendation: Stan Hugill: Shanties and Sailors’ Songs, 1969.


    16. January 2009 at 12:46 am

  5. […] by Hulton “Ranzo” Clint from the comments: “Dan Dan” is a rare chantey. In all probability, David Thomas has based his recording directly […]

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