Go From Hence – Vanessa Cardui

“Go From Hence” by Canadian filker Vanessa Cardui, a deceptively upbeat song about going to ones’ execution.

It’s not explicitly about pirates, but I think it makes an excellent pirate song, regardless.

When I Was a Mermaid – Talis Kimberley

When I was a mermaid, my daughter, my dear
And a long time before I had you
I lived in the ocean a long way from here
And some of my stories are true

Apparently, Talis Kimberley’s daughter once pointed at a picture of a mermaid and said “That’s you when you were a mermaid”.

Filksong Genealogy: Black Flag

And you’ll regret that ever you fed
At the board of Anne Bonny…

A very earnest song about pirates (lyrics) by Annwn, and one to the same tune, performed by the same band, but with lyrics by Bob Kanefesky, which is…earnest in its own way.  Take care among pirates, they rarely wash the dishes.
From the liner notes of the Roundworm album:  “whey hay (/hwA ‘hA/) n. a fibrous yellow mold (Coloropus yukosporus) commonly found on expired cottage cheese. See also dairy down.”
Content warning, in case the above isn’t enough: the second song is about very, very unsanitary kitchen conditions.
(Series: Filksong Genealogy)
 

Captain Jack and the Mermaid – Meg Davis


“Captain Jack and the Mermaid” is often considered a filk classic, and I’m kind of surprised we haven’t already posted it.
It’s loads of fun to sing along to, but the backstory behind it is actually a bit sad. Meg Davis comments in the CD release notes:

The true story behind this particular song is that it was written in order for me to deal with the death of my older brother. I received the news while at school in England and I was pretty much in shock for several years after that (as I was unable to come home for the funeral). And so, I imagined that this must be what it was like for the ladies whose men went off to sea, never to return…..you’d never see your loved one again and, the odd thing is that, never having seen them buried, actually keeps them very much alive in your memory. Which is a good thing, I think. Captain Jack’s sweetheart faces the sorrow that many of us face in our lives…..having to love and then let go. By the way, this song is loads of fun to sing along with so, just because the reasons behind the writing are a bit sad, I certainly expect you all to continue to raise your glasses (bifocal or wine) and bellow on regardless. My brother would have wanted it that way !

Lyrics are available on the song’s Pegasus Award page.

Ishmael’s Oath – Leslie Fish

The wreckage now has vanished
The waves cavort and roll
I’m riding on a coffin and conversing with my soul
I understand completely now what Ahab tried to do
And if I live to get to land I’ll try and do it too

“Ishmael’s Oath,” by Leslie Fish

The Asgard II – Mark Heiman

To me weigh, heigh, the Asgard rolls,
Around the point and past the shoals,
With her ladies and her gentlemen,
She’ll soon be sailing home again

“The Asgard II,” a tongue-in-cheek sea shanty by Meg Davis, performed by Mark Heiman.  If Meg Davis’ version is online somewhere, I haven’t been able to find it, but for some reason I do have chords.

Chorus: C—/FCG-/FGC-/FG-C//
Verse: C—/F-CG/F-CG/FGCG//

Glashtyn Shanty – S. J. Tucker

When the tithe came callin’, where were you?
When the tithe comes callin’, there is nothing you can do.
Haul away, haul away, haul away

Do I really know what’s going on in this song?  No, because I haven’t read Catherynne M. Valente’s Fairyland novels, which are what this album is based on.  Do I mind?  No, because a creepy sea shanty is still a creepy sea shanty!
“Glashtyn Shanty,” by S. J. Tucker