Johnny Come Down To Hilo

Interesting Facts about The Johnny Come Down To Hilo

“Johnny Come Down To Hilo” shanty was given by many collectors: Sharp, Terry (who even make it popular in schools), and Doerflinger. According to Stan Hugill tune is Irish in origin and the lyrics are a mixture of the Negro catch-phrases, lines from Negro minstrel ditties, and other bits and pieces from other shanties, e.g. “Poor Old Man” or “The gal With the Blue Dress”. The normal environment for “Johnny Come Down To Hilo” was the work at the capstan.

The source of this sea shanty

The music: “Shanties from the Seven Seas” by Stan Hugill (1st ed: p 266).
The lyrics: “Shanties from the Seven Seas” by Stan Hugill (1st ed: p 266, 267).

The Record of The Johnny Come Down To Hilo

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.

Johnny Come Down To Hilo - Capstan Shanty

The musical notation

Johnny Come Down To Hilo - music notation

The full lyrics

Johnny Come Down To Hilo

I niver seed the like, since I bin born,
Ooh, a big buck nigger wid his sea boots on

– Oh, Johnny come down to Hilo,
– (Oh) poor old man!
– Oooh! wake her!
– Oh, shake her!
– Ooooh! wake that gal wid the blue dress on!
– When Johnny comes down to Hilo,
– (Oh) poor old man!

* 2 *

I love a little gal across the sea,
She’s a ‘Badian beauty, an’ she sez to me

Wuz ye never down in Mobile Bay,
A-screwin’ cotton for a dollar a day?

* 3 *

Ooh, there once wuz a nigger an’ his name wuz Uncle Ned,
An’ he had no yarns on the top o’ his head.

* 4 *

Did ye ever see the ol’ plantation boss,
An’ his long-tailed filly, an’ his big, black hoss?

* 5 *

Oh, go fetch me down me riding cane,
For I’m off to see me sweetheart Jane.

* 6 *

Ooh, Sally in the garden, pickin’ peas,
An’ the hair of her head hangin’ down to her knees.

Related to this sea shanty

The Gals O’ Chile

Larry Marr

The Lowlands Low (B)

Leave a Comment