Paddy Lay Back

Interesting Facts about the Yeo Heave Ho!

“Paddy Lay Back”, also called “Mainsail Haul”, was both capstan shanty and forebitter, according to Stan Hugill very popular, especially in Liverpool ships. Stan Hugill knows this song directly from two people, his father and John Connolly (Liverpool-Irish sailing-ship man), whose last line sang in fashion you can find in the lyrics. Stan Hugill tells us also that this song has two forms, the eight-line verse (forebitter form), and four-line verse (shanty pattern). This song will be reconstructed as the capstan shanty.

The source of this sea shanty

The music: “Shanties from the Seven Seas” by Stan Hugill (1st ed: p 321).
The lyrics: “Shanties from the Seven Seas” by Stan Hugill (1st ed: p 321 – 323).

The Record of the Yeo Heave Ho!

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.

Paddy, Lay Back - Capstan Shanty

The musical notation

And the full lyrics

Paddy, Lay Back

Twas a cold an’ dreary mornin’ in December, (December),
An’ all of me money it wuz spent, (it wuz spent)
Where it went to Lord I can’t remember, (remember),
So down to the shippin’ of fice went, (went, went),

– Paddy, lay Back (Paddy, lay Back)!
– Take in yer slack (take in yer slack)!
– Take a turn around the capstan – heave a pawl – heave a pawl!
– ‘Bount ship, stations, boys, be handy (be handy)!
– For we’re bound for Valaparaiser ’round the Horn!

* 2 *

That day there wuz a great demand for sailors (for sailors),
For the Colonies and for ‘Frisco and for France (an’ for France),
So I shipped aboard a Limey barque the Hotspur (Hotspur),
An’ got paralitic drunk on my advance (‘vance, ‘vance),

* 3 *

Now I joined her on a cold December mornin’,
A-frappin’ o’ me flippers to keep me warm.
With the south cone a-hoisted as a warnin’,
To stand by comin’ o’ a storm.

* 4 *

Now some of out fellers had bin drinkin’,
An’ I mmeself wuz heavy on the booze;
An’ I wuz on me ol’ sea-chest a-thinkin’
I’d turn into me bunk an’ have a snooze.

* 5 *

I woke up in the mornin’ sick an’ sore,
An’ knew I wuz outward bound again;
When I heard a voice a-bawlin’ at the door,
‘Lay aft, men, an’ answer to yer names!’

* 6 *

‘Twas on the quarterdeck where first I saw ’em,
Such an ugly bunch I’d niver seen afore;
For there wuz a bum an’ stiff from every quarter,
An’ it made me poor ol’ heart fell sick an’ sore.

* 7 *

There wuz Spaniards an’ Dutchmen an ‘Roosians,
An’ Johnny Crappos jist across from France;
An’ most o’ ’em couldn’t speak a word o’ English,
But answered to the name of ‘Minth’s Advance’.

* 8 *

I wist I wuz in the ‘Jolly Sailor’,
Along with Irish Kate a-drinkin’ beer;
An’ then I thought what jolly chaps were sailors,
An’ with me flipper I wiped away a tear.

* 9 *

I knew in me box I had a bottle,
By the boardin’-master ’twas put there;
An’ I wanted something for to wet me throttle,
Somethin’ for to drive away dull care.

* 10 *

So down upon me knees I went like thunder,
Put me hand into the bottom o’ the box,
An, what wuz me great surprise an’ wonder’
Found only a bottle o’ medicine for the pox.

* 11 *

I felt that I should skip an’ join another,
‘Twas plain that I had joined a lousy bitch;
But the chances wuz that I might join a worser,
An, we might git through the voyage without a hitch.

* 12 *

I axed the mate a-which a-watch wuz mine-O,
Sez he, ‘I’ll soon pick out a-which is which’;
An’ he blowed me down an’ kicked me hard a-stern-O,
Callin’ me a lousy, dirty son-o’-a-bitch.

* 13 *

Now we singled upan’ got the tugs alongside,
They towed us through the locks an’ out to sea;
With half the crew a-pukin’ o’er the ship’s side,
An’ the bloody fun that started sickened me.

* 14 *

Although me poor ol’ head wuz all a-jumpin’,
We had to loose her rags the followin’ morn;
I dreamt the boardin’-master I wuz thumpin’,
When I found out he’d sent me around the Horn.

* 15 *

I swore I would become a beachie-comber,
An, niver go to sea no ruddy more;
For niver did I want to be a roamer,
I’d shanghai the boardin’-master an’ stay ashore.

* 16 *

But when we got to bully ol’ Vallapariser,
In the Bay we dropped our mudhook far from shore;
The Ol’ Man he refused ter let us raise ‘er,
An’ he stopped the boardin’-master comin’ aboard.

* 17 *

I quickly made me mind up that I’d jump ‘er,
I’d leave the beggar an’ git a job ashore;
I swum across the Bay an’ left ‘er,
An’ in the English Bar I found a whore.

* 18 *

But Jimmy Wop he knew a thing or two, boys,
An, soon he’d shipped me outward bound again;
On a Limey to the Chinchas for guanner, boys,
An’ soon wuz I a-roarin’ this refrain.

* 19*

So there wuz I once more again at sea, boys,
The same ol’ ruddy business over again;
Oh, stamp the caps’n tound an’ make some noise, boys,
An’ sing again this dear ol’ sweet refrain.

Related to this sea shanty

Off To The Southard Well Go

Yeo Heave Ho!

Yo Heave Ho! – Smith