The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #49738   Message #2065138
Posted By: Q (Frank Staplin)
31-May-07 - 03:22 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Blow the Man Down
Subject: RE: What does blow the man down mean?
I asked in a post 20 May 07 if 'blowers,' 'strikers,' had anything to do with the meaning of 'blow the man down;' The explanation still seems to be to raise sails and make way.

The many variants all stem from the chantey singer singing a story that will keep the crew interested and working in time with the task.

Here is a variant on DT 6 from "Cahiers de chants de marins," no. 2, in both English and French.


As I was a-rollin' down Paradise Street
Timme way hay blow the man down
I big Irish copper I chanced for to meet
Oh give me some time to blow the man down.

Says he yer a Black Baller by the cut of your hair
Says he yer a Black Baller for the clothes that you's wear

Says you've sailed in some packet that flies the Black Ball
Hey you've robbed some poor Dutchman of boots clothes and all

Oh policeman oh policeman you do me great wrong
I'm a flying fish sailor just home from Hong-Kong.

So I stoved in his face an' I smashed in his jaw
Says he young feller you're breaking the law.

Oh Liverpool ship with a Liverpool crew
A Liverpool mate and a scouse skipper too.

Oh we're Liverpool born and we're Liverpool bred
Big in the arm and thick in the head.

An' blow the man up bullies blow the man down
With a crew of hard cases from Liverpool town.

La Chasse-Marée/Armen, Oct. 1995. With musical score.

French to be posted later.
English John Wright and Paul Adamthwaite