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Sloop John B - Chords, Lyrics and Origins

Origins

In one sense, Sloop John B is very easy to play - there are only four chords - but, like many songs, it's hard to make a really good job of it.

A sloop is a small boat, about 16 feet long, typically with a crew of four or five. In the Bahamas - where 'Sloop John B' hails from - this kind of boat was used to carry food, livestock and small goods from one island to another. Although the song Sloop John B was popularised by the Beach Boys famous recording of it, its origins are much older. Wikipedia says that the John B. was an old sponger boat whose crew were in the habit of getting notoriously merry whenever they made port. It was wrecked and sunk at Governor's Harbour in Eleuthera, the Bahamas, in about 1900. "Nassau town", which is mentioned in the lyrics, is the capital of the Bahamas. Follow this link for more information about the song.

One possible variation to the arrangement below is to substitute a Dm7 for the D minor chord.  Try it.

Chords

Capo at 2nd Fret


      
C

We come on the Sloop John B,

      C
My grandfather and me;

C                                             G7
Around Nassau town we did roam.

                    
C
Drinking all night,

                  F         Dm 
Got into a fight.


           C                             G7
Well I feel so broke up:

                     
C
I want to go home.



Chorus

      C
So hoist up the John B sail,

C
See how the main sail sets,

C
Call for the captain ashore,

                 
G7
Let me go home.

                  C
Let me go home.


                      F                     Dm
I want to go home.  Yeah, yeah.

        
C                         G7
This is the worst trip


                          C
I've ever been on.

Lyrics

We come on the sloop John B -
My grandfather and me;
Around Nassau town we did roam.
Drinking all night,
Got into a fight.
Well I feel so broke up,
I want to go home.

 

Chorus

So hoist up the John B sail,
See how the mainsail sets,
Call for the captain ashore,
Let me go home,

Let me go home,
I wanna go home, yeah yeah.
Well I feel so broke up,
I wanna go home.

The first mate he got drunk,
And broke in the capn's trunk,
The constable had to come and take him away.
Sheriff John Stone,
Why dont you leave me alone? Yeah, yeah.
Well I feel so broke up, I wanna go home.

Repeat Chorus 

The poor cook he caught the fits
And threw away all my grits
And then he took and he ate up all of my corn.
Let me go home,
Why dont they let me go home? Yeah, yeah. 
This is the worst trip Ive ever been on.

Repeat Chorus

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