Drunken Sailor

The shanty was sung to accompany certain work tasks aboard sailing ships, especially those that required a bright walking pace. It is believed to originate in the early 19th century or before, during a period when ships’ crews, especially those of military vessels, were sufficiently large to permit hauling a rope whilst simply marching along the deck. With the advent of merchant packet and clipper ships and their smaller crews, which required different working methods, use of the shanty appears to have declined or shifted to other, minor tasks. (source)

Lyrics

1. What shall we do with a drunken sailor,
What shall we do with a drunken sailor,
What shall we do with a drunken sailor
Early* in the morning.

2. Put him in a long boat ’til he’s sober…

3. Keep him there and make him bail her…

4. Hoist him aloft with a runnin’ bowling’…

*Often pronounced er-lie”

Links

Song pdf with chords & midi below

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