Yangtze River Chantey

First written down  in the “Sailor with Banjo: Entertainment in Rhyme and Song by Hamish Maclaren the tune we use was created by Charlie Ipcar of Maine. Hamish served in the Royal Navy and was posted in Shanghai which may have been the inspiration. Shanghai is at the mouth of the Yangtze River and was a common stop for both American and European sailors. In fact for much of the 18th and 19th centuries it was one of the few places the Qing Dynasty allowed the “Barbarians” to dock and trade.  Sailors often tried to find comfort when possible with those on shore, often to the detriment of their finances.

Michael Hotkowski

My lotus lady I’ll see no more,
Away, boys, away-o
Since I left her on the China shore.
Away, boys, lift and walk away.

Away, boys, away-o
Blow me down that Yangtze River
Away, boys, lift and walk away.

When we first met she was like a queen,
Prettiest little thing that I’d ever seen.

She’d flashing eyes and long black hair,
All I could do was stand and stare.

I blowed my silver for to win her,
Now there’s nothing left but pork for dinner.

I bought her silks and a golden comb,
Trouble’s over now we’re headed home.

We’re outward bound, Cookie’s in the galley,
Farewell, young Moon of the Yangtze Valley.