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Blow The Man Down - Chords, Lyrics and Origins

Origins

Blow the Man Down is a sea shanty, with a heritage that dates at least as far back as the 1860s.  In this version of the lyrics, as sung by the Irish Rovers, it tells the familiar story of a sailor on shore leave, who falls foul of the twin dangers of women and drink.  Sadly, he wakes in the morning to find himself on board an American clipper bound for Cape Horn - which would have been a particularly long, arduous and hazardous journey.

The phrase 'blow the man down' probably means to knock a man over by hitting him - something that would probably have happened relatively frequently onboard ships in the nineteenth century: discipline was tough, unforgiving, and sometimes unfair.  You can find another set of lyrics, plus more detail about the song here.

Chords

Capo at 6th Fret

Verse

C                 Am               C               Am
I'll sing you a song, a good song of the sea

C       Am  Dm                G
Way - hey, blow the man down.

  Dm                  G             Dm            G
I trust that you'll join in the chorus with me;

G7                                                 C
Give me some time to blow the man down.





Chorus

C                  Am              C                  Am

Blow the man down, bully, blow the man down;
     
C       Am  Dm                G
Way - hey, blow the man down.
    
Dm                G                       Dm        G

Blow the man down, boys, from Liverpool town;

G7                                                 C
Give me some time to blow the man down.

Lyrics

I'll sing you a song, a good song of the sea
Way - hey, blow the man down.
I trust that you'll join in the chorus with me;
Give me some time to blow the man down.

Chorus
Blow the man down, bully, blow the man down;
Way - hey, blow the man down.
Blow the man down, boys, from Liverpool town;
Give me some time to blow the man down.

As I was a-walking down Paradise street -
Way - hey, blow the man down.
A handsome young damsel I happened to meet -
Give me some time to blow the man down.

At the pub down on Lime street I then went astray -
Way - hey, blow the man down.
I drank enough stout for to fill Galway Bay -
Give me some time to blow the man down.

Chorus
Blow the man down, bully, blow the man down;
Way - hey, blow the man down.
Blow the man down, boys, from Liverpool town;
Give me some time to blow the man down.

The next I remember I woke in the dawn -
Way - hey, blow the man down.
On a tall Yankee clipper that was bound round Cape Horn.
Give me some time to blow the man down.

Come all ye young fellows who follow the sea -
Way - hey, blow the man down.
Beware of the drink whenever it's free -
Give me some time to blow the man down.

Chorus
Blow the man down, bully, blow the man down;
Way - hey, blow the man down.
Blow the man down, boys, from Liverpool town;
Give me some time to blow the man down.

Other English Folk Songs
Other Traditional Folk Songs