Poor Old Reuben Ranzo

Interesting Facts about the Poor Old Reuben Ranzo

Now, Poor Old Reuben Ranzo is a shanty built around the dirtiest “sailor” who ever shipped – Reuben Ranzo. This Halyard shanty was one of the most rousing of all of the halyard shanties. This shanty due to the some of the themes was very popular amongst whalers.
This version comes from Cecil J. Sharp – “English Folk-Chanteys” (1914), is in Sharps’s book in the chapter “Pulling Chanteys” on page 37. Here oryginal comment from Sharp’s book:

No. 32. POOR OLD REUBEN RANZO.
Sung by Mr. John Short, at Watchet. This chantey is a very generally known one, and versions of it are to be
found in all the chief Collections. Who Reuben Ranzo was no one seems to
know ; Mr. Whall suggests that ” Ranzo ” may be a corruption of ” Lorenzo.”

* It is possible that English chanteymen learned the name from Scandinavian sailors, for I am told that Danish sailors often sing about Daniel Rantzau (1529-69), who commanded the Danish forces in the seven-years (or three- crown) war with Sweden (1563-70).

The source of the Poor Old Reuben Ranzo

The music: “English Folk Chanteys” by Cecil Sharp (1914).

The lyrics:  “English Folk Chanteys” by Cecil Sharp (1914).

Mentioned in: “Shanties from the Seven Seas” by Stan Hugill (1st ed p 242).

The Record of the Poor Old Reuben Ranzo

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

Poor Old Reuben Ranzo - notation

The full lyrics

Poor Old Reuben Ranzo. (Cecil Sharp)

O poor old Reuben Ranzo,
– RANZO, boys, RANZO!
O poor old Reuben Ranzo,
– RANZO, boys, RANZO!

* 2 *

O ! Ranzo was no sailor.
O ! Ranzo was no sailor.

* 3 *

He shipped on board a whaler.
He shipped on board a whaler.

* 4 *

He shipped with Captain Taylor.
He shipped with Captain Taylor.

* 5 *

The man that shot the sailor.
The man that shot the sailor.

* 6 *

He could not do his duty.
He could not do his duty.

* 7 *

He couldn’t boil the coffee.
He couldn’t boil the coffee.

* 8 *

The Captain being a good man.
The Captain being a good man.

* 9 *

He taught him navigation.
He taught him navigation.

* 10 *

We took him to the gratings.
We took him to the gratings.

* 11 *

And gave him nine and thirty.
And gave him nine and thirty.

* 12 *

O! That was the end of Ranzo.
O! That was the end of Ranzo.

Related to this sea shanty

Blow Boys Blow (Norwegian)

Reuben Ranzo II – Doerflinger

Roll The Cotton Down (F)

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