Gordon Bok Gordon Bok 2 16 2010-03-08T19:19:00Z 2010-03-08T19:19:00Z 2 336 1920 Timberhead 16 3 2357 9.6926

Stormy Weather



Bob Roberts collected this many years ago from men working the spritsail barges of the East Coast of England (often called Thames Barges). This is a compilation of three versions which he strung together to make a 'travelog' of a voyage from London to Greater Yarmouth, Published in Roy Palmer's Oxford Book of Sea Songs.


Gordon: 12-string guitar;?The January Men


We were laying in Surry Dock* one day

牋牋牋牋牋?(*at Ruthorhide, England)

And the mate knew it was time to get underway

牋牋 And it's stormy weather, boys, stormy weather, boys

牋牋 When the wind blows, the barge will go.

He's homeward bound but he's out of luck

'Cause the skipper's half drunk in The Dog and Duck.*?(*a pub)

牋牋 Well the skipper comes aboard with a girl on hi arm

牋牋 He's going to give up barging and take on a farm

So the mate ran forward and the cook fell in the dock

And the skipper's caught his knackers in the mainsheet block.

牋牋 So the mate's at the wheel but he's gybed her twice

牋牋 'Cause the skipper's got his knackers in a bowl of ice

At last we're off down the Lime House Reach

When our leeboard knocked on the Greenwich Beach

牋牋 The barge went ashore and scared our whore

牋牋 And she says "Chuck this, I'm off ashore!"

We shoved her off and away we did go

But the skipper's got a bottle of beer below

牋牋 She fills away with a roar and a crack

牋牋 But there ain't no bargemen up on the deck

There's a crash and a bump and we're ashore

And the mate says "Christ, we're on the Noire"*

牋牋牋牋牋?(*shoal off mouth of Thames)

牋牋 Then up comes a mermaid covered in mud

牋牋 The skipper says I think we're off the Whittaker Spit"*

牋牋牋牋牋?(*sandbank off the Essex coast)

Then up comes another one covered in slime

So we took her down the fo'c'sle and had a good time

牋牋 On the top of the tide the barge did fleet*

牋牋牋牋牋?(*old word for sail)

牋牋 When the mate sees a ghost on the topsail sheet

So away we go and the ghost did steer

And the cook drank the dregs of the Old Man's beer

牋牋 We layed close-hauled off Orford Ness*

牋牋牋牋牋?(*East coast headland)

牋牋 When the wind backed round to the South-southwest

We reached our port all safe and sound

And tied her up in Yarmouth Town

牋牋 So after all our fears and alarms

牋牋 We all ended up in The Druid's Arms.*?(*a pub)



Stormy Weather is recorded on the album Gatherings