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Ben Backstay

This is a fierce Ben Backstayish sort of a sea shanty


courtesy of

Ben Backstay was our boatswain A very merry boy

For no one half so merrily Could pipe all hands ahoy

And when unto his summons We did not well attend

No lad than he more cheerily Could handle the ropes end

Singing chip chow cherry chow  Fol de riddle ido

Singing chip chow cherry chow  Fol de riddle ido

While sailing once our Captain Who was a jolly dog

Served out to all our company A double share of grog

Ben backstay he got tipsy  All to his hearts content

And he being half seas over Why overboard he went

A shark was on the larboard bow Sharks don't on manners stand

But grapple all they come near Just like your sharks on land

We heaved Ben out some tackling Of saving him some hope's

But the shark had bit his head off So he couldn't see the ropes

Without his head his ghost appeared All on the briny lake

He piped all hands ahoy and cried Lads warning by me take

By drinking grog I lost my life So lest my fate you meet

Why never mix your liquors lads But always take them neat  

The author of this website has put a lot of time and effort into gathering the greatest collection of sea shanties for the world to enjoy - There are songs that have been to sung to a job of work at sea for many, many years and collecting them has been a great endeavour. - Roger Chartier has made the effort out of his own interest and the requests that he has gotten to do this work from fellow musicians who wanted a good source of sea shanties to draw on and learn from. He has been told that for this effort he is a remarkable man.