As I Went A-Walking Down Ratcliffe Highway

Interesting Facts about As I Went A-Walking Down Ratcliffe Highway

Here is the old forebitter “Ratcliffe Highway”; which was sometimes sung at the pumps and the capstan. This version mentioned by Stan Hugill comes from William Doerflinger’s “Shantymen and Shantyboys” (1951). Doerflinger mention about is that the same stanza words; were sung in the halyard shanty “Blow the Man Down”. Captain Tayluer believed this song; was composed about 1840; by an East India trader.
In Doerflinger’s book, we can find this song in the chapter “Deep-Water Songs”. I will try myself reconstruct by Me as a capstan shanty.
I would also like to thank Artur Pietrzykowski for the wonderful illustration that you can find at the beginning of the record.

The source of this sea shanty

The music: “Shantymen And Shantyboys” by William Main Doerflinger (1951).

The lyrics:  “Shantymen And Shantyboys” by William Main Doerflinger (1951).

Mentioned in: “Shanties from the Seven Seas” by Stan Hugill (1st ed p 201).

The Record of As I Went A-Walking Down Ratcliffe Highway

You also can find this record on my YouTube channel here or directly listen below. Additionally, if you want to share your opinion about the record or share your opinion you can do it in my Facebook forum here, or leave a comment at the bottom of this blog article.

The musical notation

As I Went A-Walking Down Ratcliffe Highway - music notation

The full lyrics

As I Went A-Walking Down Ratcliffe Highway

    *introductory verse*

Now, Come all you young sailors and listen to me,
Sure I’ll tell you a story all about the high sea,
Well it ain’t very short, nor it’s not very long,
It’s of a Flyin’ Fish sailor bound ‘ome from ‘Ong Kong.

– With you fol the did-dle lol did-dy, fol de did-dle lol did-dy,
– fol-the did-dle lol did-dy, hay, hay, hay,
– fol-the did-dle lol did-dy, fol de did-dle lol did-dy,
– fol the did-dle lol did-dy, hood-le dum day!

* 2 *

Now as we went a-walking down Rat’liffe Highway,
Well, a flash-lookin’ packet we chanced for to see,
She was bowling along with the waind blowing free,
And she clewed up her courses and waited for me.

* 3 *

Now, she ‘ad up no flags did she show;
She was round in the counter and bluff in the bow.
Were she did ‘ail from I could not tell,
But I threw out my flipper and we’re both bound to hell!

* 4 *

Now, into a snug little corner, oh soon we did moor,
Just be’ind the little table around the door.
We eat there and drank till we nearly did bust,
Then she let out first with her Irishman’s roar, etc…

* 5 *

I’ll bring you silk dresses and all that I know,
Fine gold rings and stones from the islands, you know.
I’ll bring you home plenty of money to spend,
If you’ll only wait till I do return,

(Final chorus, slower)

Related to this sea shanty

Sacramento – Norvegian English worded version

Heisevise (Norvegian Wergland version)

Bound To California

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