A-Rovin’ (A)

Interesting Facts about the A-Rovin’ (A)

Source of the sea shanty

This is another sea shanty I do recreate here is the version I took from the book “Shanties from the Seven Seas” by Stan Hugill, the name of the version of this shanty is “A-Rovin’ (A)”, which is printed on page 46 of the mentioned book (US Edition published in 1994 by Mystic Seaport).

W. B. Whall, Master Mariner in his “Ships, Sea Songs and Shanties(Glasgow, James Brown & Son, Publishers, 1910), mentioned is that: “The motive of this favorite sea song is very old indeed, and appears (in slightly varying forms) in many writings, e.g., in Thomas Heywood’s Rape of Lucrece (first performed in London in 1630).

About the title is worth mentioning that A-Rovin’ also is known under the title “Maid of Amsterdam”, the roots of this song are as old as the possible origin of this beautiful shanty, which is the narrative poem “The Rape of Lucrece” by Thomas Heywood, dated on 1630.

Distinguish record

Additionally worth noting, Stanley Slade with a male chorus sang A-Roving in the BBC recording 6018 made in Bristol on 2 July 1943. This track was included in 1955 in the “Columbia anthology The World Library of Folk and Primitive Music: England”, certainly one of the most beautiful, (from the musical point of view), performances of this song ever.

Additionally, as far as I’m aware, unfortunately for us, Stan Hugill did not leave us the record of this song. Also, the oldest record I found is A-Rovin’ (Recorded 1947) by Leonard Warren.

… As has been noted, A-Rovin was originally sung at the pumps and old-fashioned windlass. In both labors – at the pump and at the windlass – two long leavers were worked up and down by the men: a back-breaking job. … Stan Hugill.

The source of this sea shanty

The music: “Shanties from the Seven Seas” by Stan Hugill (1st ed p 48, 49).

The lyrics: “Shanties from the Seven Seas” by Stan Hugill (1st ed p 48, 49).

The Record of the A-Rovin’ (A)

Afterward here record of this beautiful shanty, recorded by me on the 6th of June 2020, and this was my first conscious tryout of the sang shanty as authentically and genuinely as possible.

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

a-rovin-a - sea shanty musical notation

The full lyrics

A-Rovin’ (A) – Pump Shanty

In Amsterdam there lived a maid,
– Mark well what I do say!
In Amsterdam there lived a maid,
An’ she wuz mistress of her trade,
– We’ll go no more a-ro-o-vin’ with you fair maid.

A-rovin’, a-rovin’,
– Since rovin’s bin my ru-i-in,
– We’ll go no more a-rovin’,
– With you fair maid.

* 2 *

One night I crept from my abode,
– Mark well what I do say!
One night I crept from my abode,
To meet this fair maid down the road.
– We’ll go no more a-ro-o-vin’ with you fair maid.

– A-rovin’, a-rovin’…

* 3 *

I met this fair maid after dark,
An’ took her to her favourite park.

* 4 *

I took this fair maid for a walk,
An’ we had such a lovin’ talk.

* 5 *

I put me arm around her waist,
Sez she, “Young man, yer in great haste!”

* 6 *

I put me hand upon her knee,
Sez she, “Young man, yer rather free!”

* 7 *

I put my hand upon her thigh,
Sez she, “Young man, yer rather high!”

* 8 *

I towed her to the Maiden’s Breast,
From south the wind veered wes’sou’west

* 9 *

An’ the eyes in her head turned east an’ west,
And her thoughts wuz as deep as an ol’ sea-chest.

* 10 *

We had a drink – of grub a snatch,
We sent two bottles down the hatch.

* 11 *

Her dainty arms wuz white as milk,
Her lovely hair wuz soft as silk.

* 12 *

Her heart wuz poundin’ like a drum,
Her lips wuz red as any plum.

* 13 *

We laid down on a grassy patch,
An’ I felt such a ruddy ass.

* 14 *

She pushed me over on me back,
She laughed so hard her lips did crack.

* 15 *

She swore that she’d be true to me,
But spent me pay-day fast and free.

* 16 *

In three weeks’ time I wuz badly bent,
Then off to sea I sadly went.

* 17 *

In a bloodboat Yank bound round Cape Horn,
Me boots an’ clothes wuz all in pawn.

* 18 *

Bound round Cape Stiff through ice an’ snow,
An’ up the coast to Callyo.

* 19 *

An’ then back to the Liverpool Docks,
Saltpetre stowed in our boots an’ socks.

* 20 *

Now when I got back home from sea,
A soger had her on his knee.

Related to this sea shanty

A-Rovin’ (A2)

A -Rovin’ (B)

A- Rovin’ (C)

A-Rovin’ (D)

Go Roving (Capstan Song for the Christiania Packet)