Barnacle Bill the Sailor

Often requested but not so often known, this lovely example of raw ribaldry has been cited by some musicologists as dating to the late 19th century in the form entitled “Abram Brown” or “Abraham Brown”.  By the 1920s is appears in print as “Bolakee Bill the Sailor” and it’s variant “Bollocky Bill.  It is a sailor’s forebitter – not a chantey – sung for the amusement of those around the singer, and has as many variations as there are presenters of the ditty!  Cleaned up versions have been recorded and even Popeye & Olive sing a version in 1935.  At one point at least the melody was as commonly familiar as “Drunken Sailor” and the tune “Sailor’s Hornpipe” remains today.  It is sing as a conversation between the “fair young maiden” and the sailor… I suspect that you can easily tell which is which from verse to verse; the maiden part is sung gently while the sailor part is rousing and coarsely sung.

Louis Jordan lyrics

Who’s that knocking at my door?
Who’s that knocking at my door?
Who’s that knocking at my door?
Said the fair young maiden

Well, it’s only me from over the sea
Said Barnacle Bill the Sailor
I’m all lit up like a Christmas tree
Said Barnacle Bill the Sailor
I’ll sail the sea until I croak
Drink my whiskey, swear, and smoke
But I can’t swim a bloody stroke
Said Barnacle Bill the Sailor

Tell me when we soon shall wed
Tell me when we soon shall wed
Tell me when we soon shall wed
Said the fair young maiden

Uh-oh
I got me a wife in every port
Said Barnacle Bill the Sailor
The handsome gals is what I court
Said Barnacle Bill the Sailor
With my false heart and flattering tongue
I courts ’em all both old and young
I courts ’em all, but marries none
Said Barnacle Bill the Sailor

So good-bye
Good-bye
So long, toots
I’ll see you again

 

 

More commonly utilized lyrics (an example of many variations) and NOT for the impressionable among us – warning

Who’s that knocking at my door?
Who’s that knocking at my door?
Who’s that knocking at my door?
said the fair young maiden

Well

Open the door ya fuckin’ whore
said Barnacle Bill the sailor
Open the door ya fuckin’ whore
said Barnacle Bill the sailor

Shall we go to the dance?
Shall we go to the dance?
Shall we go to the dance?
said the fair young maiden

Well

To hell with the dance and down with your pants
said Barnacle Bill the sailor
To hell with the dance and down with your pants
said Barnacle Bill the sailor

What’s that thing between your legs?
What’s that thing between your legs?
What’s that thing between your legs?
said the fair young maiden

Well

It’s only me pole to stick up your hole
said Barnacle Bill the sailor
It’s only me pole to stick up your hole
said Barnacle Bill the sailor

What’s that stuff around your pole?
What’s that stuff around your pole?
What’s that stuff around your pole?
said the fair young maiden

Well

It’s only me grass to tickle your ass
said Barnacle Bill the sailor
It’s only me grass to tickle your ass
said Barnacle Bill the sailor

What’s that dripping down your leg?
What’s that dripping down your leg?
What’s that dripping down your leg?
said the fair young maiden

Well

It’s only a shot that missed your twat
said Barnacle Bill the sailor
It’s only a shot that missed your twat
said Barnacle Bill the sailor

What if we should have a boy?
What if we should have a boy?
What if we should have a boy?
said the fair young maiden

Well

He’ll go to sea and f**k like me
said Barnacle Bill the sailor
He’ll go to sea and f**k like me
said Barnacle Bill the sailor

What if we should have a girl…

Well we’ll dig a ditch and bury the bitch
said Barnacle Bill the sailor
We’ll dig a ditch and bury the bitch
said Barnacle Bill the sailor

What if Ma and Pa should come home early?
What if Ma and Pa should come home early?
What if Ma and Pa should come home early?
(and find us screwing our brains out on the living room floor)
said the fair young maiden

Well

I’ll f**k your Ma and blow your Pa
said Barnacle Bill the sailor
I’ll f**k your Ma and blow your Pa
said Barnacle Bill the sailor

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