Friday, August 17, 2012

What shall we do with the drunken sailor?

Perhaps it was the fog, or the fog horn warning sailors the whole night long into the early morning that caused Marash Girl to wake up with a sea shanty playing over and over in her head, and soon she was singing the shanty:

What do ya do with a drunken sailor,
What do ya do with a drunken sailor,
What do ya do with a drunken sailor,
Earl-eye in the morning!

Weigh heigh and up she rises
Weigh heigh and up she rises
Weigh heigh and up she rises
Earl-eye in the morning

It was the first song the children at 474/476 Lowell Avenue in Newtonville ever heard on a 78 rpm record, the record that came with their first electric phonograph in 1948.  They must have played that record hundreds of times . . .  Although Marash Girl hadn't heard the shanty since 1948,  it wouldn't go away; she couldn't stop singing about the drunken sailor until she made the decision to write about him this morning.  But it was not the drunken sailor alone that haunted her early morning hours.  There's another side to this story . . .

On the other side of the shiny black disc recording of the "Drunken Sailor" was the song, "Blow the Man Down". [On the other side it DID say somethin' (unlike the No Trespassing sign of Pete Seeger fame)]

Marash Girl still laughs as she remembers Johnnie (now the famous Dr. John Bilezikian) stumbling around the living room as the children tried to 'blow him down', all of them singing and screeching with joy, yes, the same children that called "Candy Man, Candy Man" after church on Sundays.



Oh, blow the man down, bullies, blow the man down
To me way aye blow the man down
Oh, blow the man down, bullies, blow him away,
Give me some time to blow the man down!

As I was a walking down Paradise Street
A pretty young damsel I chanced for to meet.

She was round in the counter and bluff in the bow,
So I took in all sail and cried, "Way enough now."

So I tailed her my flipper and took her in tow,
And yardarm to yardarm away we did go.

But as we were going she said unto me,
"There's a spanking full-rigger just ready for sea."
But as soon as that packet was clear of the bar,
The mate knocked me down with the end of a spar.

It's starboard and larboard on deck you will sprawl,
For Kicking Jack Williams commands the Black Ball.

So I give you fair warning before we belay,
Don't ever take head of what pretty girls say.


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