High Barbary



Jack Sulanowski sings this accompanied by Tom Goux's trio of bass recorders (played simultaneously) on their Folkways album, Born of Another Time.  He says they found it in Stan Hugill's Shanties from the Seven Seas.  I love the contrast between, and the compliment of, the mournful tune and the oft-told tale of battle sea.  C.K.


C: steel 6-string                                       GB: cellamba


There were two lofty ships from old England come

            Blow high, blow low, and so sailed we

One was the Prince of Luther and the other Prince of Wales

            All a'cruising down the coast of the High Barbary


Aloft there, aloft there, our bully bosom cried

Look ahead, look astern, look to weather and alee


There's naught upon our stern, sir, there's naught upon our lee

But there's a lofty ship to windward and she's sailing fast and free


Then hail her, oh, hail her, our gallant captain cried

Are you a man of war or a privateer, cried he


Oh no, I'm not a man of war nor privateer, cried he

But I'm a salt pirate all a'looking for my fee


Then broadside and broadside, a long time they lay

Til at last the Prince of Luther shot the pirates' mast away


Oh quarter, oh, quarter, those pirates they did cry

But the quarter that we give 'em was to sink them in the sea


With cutlass and gun, well, we fought for hours three

The ship it was their coffin and their grave it was the sea



High Barbary is recorded on the album Neighbors