Leave Her Johnny – Halyard

Interesting Facts about the Leave Her Johnny – Halyard

“Leave Her Johnny Leave Her – Halyard” was a shanty that was used at pumps or capstan, also sometimes used as a halyard shanty. This version Stan Hugill learned from Liverpool seamen, and it has a slightly different tune, and of course, as a halyard shanty, it doesn’t have the grand chorus. However, it was mostly not used during the voyage due to the risk of being accused of mutiny by the singers, which was quite a serious risk as it was the unwritten rule of the merchant fleet that no serious complaints aloud about the captain or the job was allowed.

So, due to the lyrics of this song (many verses are unprintable), it was especially used at the end of the voyage, when the (especially wooden) ship was in port, and all that was left was the final clearing and pumping out the water from the bilge, then the sailors could complain freely and it was accepted by the captain. This reconstruction will be a halyard shanty, I added 4 additional verses from the capstan version of this shanty to make some sensible length at least long enough for a better understanding of the melody (In the book is only one vers).

The source of this sea shanty

The music: “Shanties from the Seven Seas” by Stan Hugill (1st ed: p 297).
The lyrics: “Shanties from the Seven Seas” by Stan Hugill (1st ed: p 297).

The Record of the Leave Her Johnny – Halyard

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.

Leave her Johnny - Halyard Shanty

The musical notation

Leave Her Johnny - Halyard - music notation

The full lyrics

Leave her Johnny (Halyard)

Oh, I thought I heard the Ol’ Man say,
– LEAVE her, Johnny, LEAVE her!
Oh, I thought I heard the Ol’ Man say,
– It’s TIME for us to LEAVE her!

* 2 *

The work wuz hard an’ the voyage wuz long,
The sea wuz high an’ the gales wuz strong.

* 3 *

The grub wuz bad an’ the wages low,
But now once more ashore we’ll go.

* 4 *

The winds wuz foul, all work, no pay,
To Liverpool Docks from ‘Frisco Bay.

* 5 *

The Old Man swears an’ the mate swears to,
The crew all swear, an’ so would you.

Related to this sea shanty

Whisky Johnny D

Hanging Johnny

John Kanaka

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