Sally Brown
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Lesley Nelson-Burns


Information
Lyrics
This capstan shanty is also known as Roll 'n' Go (Roll and Go). This version is cleaned up; there were evidently several obscene verses. Sally is usually referred to a 'bright mulatter' or a 'coloured lady.' The shanty is probably from Jamaica where it was often sung ashore. It was also used by American lumbermen and in the West Indies as an 'axe-cutting' song.*

According to Stan Hugill, the earliest reference to the shanty is in a description of a passage to America in the 1830s. Hugill has five variants of the tune including Walkalong, You Sally Brown and Tommy's on the Tops'l Yard.

I love a maid across the water,
Aye, aye, roll and go!
She is Sal herself, yet Sally's daughter
Spend my money on Sally Brown.

Seven long years I courted Sally,
Aye, aye, roll and go!
She called me 'boy and Dilly Dally,'
Spend my money on Sally Brown.

Seven long years and she wouldn't marry,
Aye, aye, roll and go!
And I no longer cared to tarry,
Spend my money on Sally Brown.

So I courted Sal, her only daughter,
Aye, aye, roll and go!
For her I sail upon the water,
Spend my money on Sally Brown.

Sally's teeth are white and pearly,
Aye, aye, roll and go!
Her eyes are blue, her hair is curly,
Spend my money on Sally Brown.

The sweetest flower of the valley.
Aye, aye, roll and go!
Is my dear girl, my pretty Sally,
Spend my money on Sally Brown.

Oh! Sally Brown, I had to leave you,
Aye, aye, roll and go!
But trust me that I'll not deceive you.
Spend my money on Sally Brown.

Sally Brown, I love your daughter,
Aye, aye, roll and go!
For her I sail upon the water,
Spend my money on Sally Brown.

Related Links
From Fifty Sailor's Songs or Chanties and
*Shanties from the Seven Seas
See Bibliography for full information.
And The Mudcat Cafe.