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…’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

Let Me Go – Hannah M.


New song. And not TF2 filk this time! …Instead it’s Dragon Age II filk. Big difference. You can still enjoy it if you don’t play the game though.
I’m sorry, but Isabella is just too much of a BAMF to not have a song full of sexy sailing double entendres written about her.
Let Me Go © Hannah M./PhemieC/Hamsters 2011.

Give me a deep blue ocean

And an open sky

The fickle kiss of lady-luck

and forget father time

Give me a challenge

give me a ‘x’ to find

I will spend my days in salty sprays

of every kind

And if you want me then you’d better be a pirate

You have this look, I’m hooked, I’m pretty sure I like it

But I won’t be here forever

I’m a storm that can’t be weathered

A ship to which no port is tethered and

you’ll never have better

So let me go

I’ll come back running, if the sea says so

Let me go

And you’ll see me running to the sea shells, oh.

Be my first mate

Oh I can’t wait for you to let me go


Give me a laugh, lover

Give me a good tease

I’m more impressed by cleverness

than morality

So find a me a ship in a bottle

or a bottle of any kind

I will spend my days in wild ways

Until I go blind

And if you want me then you better be a scoundrel

I’ve got no time for little dogs that run around going

faster just to chase me

I prefer the other way, see

I like a little play

But at the end of the day you’ll have to

Let me go

I’ll come back running, if the sea says so

Let me go

And you’ll see me running to the sea shells, oh.

Be my first mate

oh, I can’t wait

for you to get with me

Maybe I’m shallow

But I’m not empty

I’m easy to catch, not to easy to keep

But I could drown in your eyes

They’re so and blue and deep

And I’m off to discover a land like no other

Your hand’s on my wheel, in command of your rudder

Love is a tempest, it’s wild but it passes

Love me like the ocean, endless and vast

Let me go…

Let me go…

The Maiden and the Selkie – Heather Dale

 ‘I have come in from the ocean
I have come in from the sea
And I’ll not go to the waves, love,
Lest ye come along with me.’

“The Maiden and the Selkie,” by Heather Dale
Since the only other selkie song is “The Great Selkie of Sule Skerry,” I’m not used to happy endings, but occasionally it seems to work out.
Lyrics available here