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Haul Away Joe - Chords, Lyrics and Origins

Origins

To really appreciate this song, you need to hear it sung live in the right surroundings - acapello in a pub. After a few beers have been downed, the entire pub will join in with the lyrics. The chords are provided in case, like me, you're a little uncomfortable singing without accompaniment. In its origins, the song is a sheet shanty, which means that gangs of sailors would have sung it whilst they hauled on the ship's ropes to raise or lower sails, perhaps substituting the word 'Joe' at the end of the line with 'pull' or 'haul'.

Chords

Am                   Em
When I was a little lad

     Dm                   Em
Or so my mother told me.

Am             Em              Dm     E      Am
Way, haul away, we'll haul away Joe!

         Am             Em
That if I did not kiss the girls


      Dm                            Em
My lips would grow all mouldy.

Am             Em              Dm     E      Am
Way, haul away, we'll haul away Joe!

Lyrics

When I was a little lad
And so my mother told me,
Way, haul away, we'll haul away, Joe!
hat if I did not kiss the gals
Me lips would all grow moldy.
Way, haul away, we'll haul away, Joe!

Way, haul away, the good ship is a-bolding,
Way, haul away, we'll haul away, Joe!
Way, haul away, the sheet is now unfold-ing,
Way, haul away, we'll haul away, Joe!

King Louis was the king of France
Before the revolution
Way, haul away, we'll haul away, Joe!
But then he got his head cut off
Which spoiled his constitution
Way, haul away, we'll haul away, Joe!

Way, haul away, we'll haul for better weather
Way, haul away, we'll haul away, Joe!
Way haul away, we'll haul away together
Way, haul away, we'll haul away, Joe!

The cook is in the galley boys
Making duff so handy
Way, haul away, we'll haul away, Joe!
The captain's in his cabin lads
Drinking wine and brandy
Way, haul away, we'll haul away, Joe!

Way, haul away, I'll sing to you of Nancy
Way, haul away, we'll haul away, Joe!
Way, haul away, she's just my cut and fancy
Way, haul away, we'll haul away, Joe!

Way, haul away, we'll haul for better weather
Way, haul away, we'll haul away, Joe!
Way haul away, we'll haul away together
Way, haul away, we'll haul away, Joe! 

 

 

Traditional, arranged by Peter Webster.

Other English Folk Songs
Other Traditional Folk Songs