Rolling Down to Old Maui


Gale Huntington's Songs the Whaleman Sang has a song
Rolling Down to Old Mohee which was taken from the 1858
log of the ship Atkins Adams out of New Bedford. It appeared
earlier in Joanna Colcord's Songs of American Sailormen (1938),
but Colcord could not find a tune for it. Huntington found a
tune for the words in Frederick Harlow's Chanteying Aboard
American Ships (1962). The words are clearly related to the
Huntington version. As with many shanties and folksongs,
it is possible the words were sung to various tunes or
they had an earlier common source.


Lyrics

It's a damn tough life full of toil and strife
We whalemen undergo.
And we don't give a damn when the day is done
How hard the winds did blow.
For we're homeward bound from the Arctic ground
With a good ship, taut and free
And we don't give a damn when we drink our rum
With the girls of Old Maui.

Rolling down to Old Maui, me boys
Rolling down to Old Maui
We're homeward bound from the Arctic ground
Rolling down to Old Maui.


Once more we sail with a northerly gale
Through the ice and wind and rain.
Them native maids, them tropical glades,
We soon shall see again.
Six hellish months have passed away
One the cold Kamchatka Sea,
But now we're bound from the Arctic ground
Rolling down to Old Maui.

Rolling down to Old Maui, me boys
Rolling down to Old Maui
We're homeward bound from the Arctic ground
Rolling down to Old Maui.


Once more we sail with a northerly gale
Towards our island home.
Our mainmast sprung, our whaling done,
And we ain't go far to roam.
Our stuns'l bones is carried away
What care we for that sound?
A living gale is after us,
Thank God we're homeward bound.

Rolling down to Old Maui, me boys
Rolling down to Old Maui
We're homeward bound from the Arctic ground
Rolling down to Old Maui.


How soft the breeze through the island trees,
Now the ice is far astern.
Them native maids, them tropical glades
Is a-waiting our return.
Even now their soft brown eyes look out
Hoping some fine day to see
Our baggy sails runnin' 'fore the gales
Rolling down to Old Maui.

Rolling down to Old Maui, me boys
Rolling down to Old Maui
We're homeward bound from the Arctic ground
Rolling down to Old Maui.




MAIN MENU / NEXT SONG