Nelson's Blood
Download Midi File
John Renfro Davis

Information
Lyrics
This shanty is also known as We'll Roll the Old Chariot Along, Roll the Old Chariot and The Golden Chariot. One version is sung to the tune Drunken Sailor.

Like Drunken Sailor, it was a stamp and go shanty, used at the capstan and other jobs at sea where a runaway chorus was needed. Verses could be added as long as necessary to complete the job. Verses were added with hout scouse, fresh sea-pie, new plum duff and glass of whisky hot.*

The song is African-American in origin and in some versions a golden wheel is used in place of the chariot. According to Hugill, it was sung around the Dismal Swamp in Georgia at corn shucking and log rollings. Doerflinger writes that it was based on the words of a Salvation Army hymn, and the tune is a Scottish reel.

Legend has it that grog aquired the nickname "Nelson's Blood" after Trafalgar (1805). To preserve Lord Nelson's body, it was placed in a barrel of rum. Legend has it that when the sailor's learned of this, they drank the rum. From that time on, grog was also known as "Nelson's Blood."

Oh, a drop of Nelson's blood wouldn't do us any harm
Oh, a drop of Nelson's blood wouldn't do us any harm
Oh, a drop of Nelson's blood wouldn't do us any harm
And we'll all hang on behind.
So we'll roll the old chariot along
An' we'll roll the golden chariot along.
So we'll roll the old chariot along
An' we'll all hang on behind!


Oh, a plate of Irish stew wouldn't do us any harm
Oh, a plate of Irish stew wouldn't do us any harm
Oh, a plate of Irish stew wouldn't do us any harm
And we'll all hang on behind.
So we'll roll the old chariot along
An' we'll roll the golden chariot along.
So we'll roll the old chariot along
An' we'll all hang on behind!


Oh, a nice fat cook wouldn't do us any harm
Oh, a nice fat cook wouldn't do us any harm
Oh, a nice fat cook wouldn't do us any harm
And we'll all hang on behind.
So we'll roll the old chariot along
An' we'll roll the golden chariot along.
So we'll roll the old chariot along
An' we'll all hang on behind!


Oh, a roll in the clover wouldn't do us any harm
Oh, a roll in the clover wouldn't do us any harm
Oh, a roll in the clover wouldn't do us any harm
And we'll all hang on behind.
So we'll roll the old chariot along
An' we'll roll the golden chariot along.
So we'll roll the old chariot along
An' we'll all hang on behind!


Oh, a long spell in gaol wouldn't do us any harm
Oh, a long spell in gaol wouldn't do us any harm
Oh, a long spell in gaol wouldn't do us any harm
And we'll all hang on behind.
So we'll roll the old chariot along
An' we'll roll the golden chariot along.
So we'll roll the old chariot along
An' we'll all hang on behind!


Oh, a nice watch below wouldn't do us any harm
Oh, a nice watch below wouldn't do us any harm
Oh, a nice watch below wouldn't do us any harm
And we'll all hang on behind.
So we'll roll the old chariot along
An' we'll roll the golden chariot along.
So we'll roll the old chariot along
An' we'll all hang on behind!


Oh, a night with the gals wouldn't do us any harm
Oh, a night with the gals wouldn't do us any harm
Oh, a night with the gals wouldn't do us any harm
And we'll all hang on behind.
So we'll roll the old chariot along
An' we'll roll the golden chariot along.
So we'll roll the old chariot along
An' we'll all hang on behind!


Related Links
From *Shanties from the Seven Seas and
Songs of the Sailor and Lumberman
See Bibliography for full information.