Blow Boys Blow


This topsail halyard shanty, Blow Boys Blow, originated on the West African run, during the days of the slave trade. Later, with the Congo River stanzas dropped, it passed into use aboard Atlantic packets. The skipper’s name is given variously as Bully Hayes, Bully Sims, and One-Eyed Kelly. The stanza about the packet-ship firing its gun may date from the Civil War, or may refer to an anti-slavery patrol. (source)


1. A yankee ship came down the river,
Blow, blow, blow,
HerĀ masts and spars they shone like silver,
Blow, my bully boys, blow.

2. Who do you think is the captain of her?
Blow boys blow.
Why, Billy Hayes is the captain of her,
Blow, my bully boys, blow.

3. And what do you think they’ve got for dinner…
Pickled eel’s feet and bullock’s liver…

4. And how do you know she’s a Yankee liner?…
The Stars and Stripes float out behind her…

See also


Extras forĀ Plus Members

  • Song with chords (PDF)
  • MIDI file
  • Listen

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on reddit
Share on tumblr

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top