Interesting Facts about the Jack All Alone
“Jack All Alone” forebitter mentioned by Stan Hugill on occasion to describe the “The New York Gals” shanty. The words of this song were well known in Liverpool, and occasionally some bits of lyrics were adapted to fit various shanties and forebitters. The traditional and origin name of this song was “The Shirt and the Apron”. The lyrics given by Stan Hugill come from Paddy Cunningham. Of course, the biggest issue with this song is that Stan Hugill doesn’t give us any music score, so after long research and with the huge help of one of my mentors Gibb Schreffler, I found the music notation in the “Songs and Ballads from Nova Scotia” by Helen Creighton (1932). On the mentioned book song was under the title “Barrack Street”.
The song will be reconstructed by myself as the Forebitter.
The source of this sea shanty
The music: “Songs and Ballads from Nova Scotia” by Helen Creighton (1932).
The lyrics: “Shanties from the Seven Seas” by Stan Hugill (1st ed: p 376-377).
The Record of the Jack All Alone
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
The full lyrics
Jack All Alone
Ye ‘prentice lads and seamen bold, come listen to me song,
An’ I’ll tell ye how I met me fate, when I was very young;
‘Twas on the day I came from sea, a flash gal I did meet.
She kindly axed me to a dance, ’twas up on Peter Street.
* 2 *
Sez I, ‘My charmin’ fair one, I can’t dance very well,
For Wigan town this night I’m bound, where all my friends do dwell;
Today I’ve just come in from sea, an’ I’ve saved eighty pound,
My parents are expectin’ me tonight in Wigan town.’
* 3 *
Sez she, ‘If you dance too well, ye still can have a treat,
I’ll give you rum and brandyhot an’ something nice to eat;
At ten o’click this very night I’ll meet you at the train,
If ye’ll consent, give me a call when ye come in town again.’
* 4 *
So finding her quite friendly, I then did hail a car,
To take us to a bar-room, boys, the distance warn’t too far;
Some gals passed by the other side, these words to me did say,
‘Oh, you young chap, ye’ll lose yer cap if you steer that way.’
* 5 *
And when we reached the bar-room, boys, the loquor was brought in,
And every man waltzed round the room as the dancing did begin;
Me and my love danced round the room, danced to a merry tune,
Sez she, ‘My dear, now we’ll repair to a chamber all alone.’
* 6 *
When the dancing it was over, we straight to bed did go.
‘Twas little did I ever think she’d prove my overthrow;
My watch and clothes and eighty pound with me fancy one they fleed,
And she left me there, Jack-all-alone, stark naked on the bed.
* 7 *
When I came to me senses, oh, nothing could I spy,
But a woman’s shirt an’ apron there upon the bed did lie;
I wrung me hands, I tore me hair, I yelled, ‘What shall I do?’
And said, ‘Farewell, O Wigan town, I’ll never more see yo.’
* 8 *
Oh, everything was silent, the hour was twelve o’clock,
I put the shirt and apron on and hauled for the dock;
My shipmate saw me come aboard, these words to me did say,
‘Well, well ol’ chap, you’ve lost yer cap, since last ye went away.
* 9 *
‘Is this the new spring fashion the ladies wear on shore,
Where is the shop that’s sellin’ it, have they got any more?’
The Ol’ Man cried, ‘Why, Jack me boy, to Wigan I thought ye’d gone,
A better suit I sure could buy than that for eighty pun.’
* 10 *
Sure I could buy a better suit if I’d only had the chance,
But I met a gal on Peter Street and she took me to a dance;
I danced to my destruction, got stripped from head to feet,
So I swore an oath I’d go no more to a dance on Peter Street.
* 11 *
Come, all ye lads an’ seamen bold, a warn’ take by me:
Be sure ye choose good company when you goes on the spree;
Beware of a dance on Peter Street, ye’ll surely rue a day,
With a woman’s shirt and apron, boys, they’ll fit ye out for sea!