The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #61609   Message #2401418
Posted By: GUEST
30-Jul-08 - 12:36 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Maggie May (from A. L. Lloyd)
Subject: Lyr Add: MAGGIE MAY
This is the version I've always heard & sung. Taken from


Oh, Maggie, Maggie May, they have taken her away,
and she'll never walk down Lime Street any more.
Oh, she robbed those lime-juice sailors,
and the captains of the whalers,
That dirty robbing no-good Maggie May.

O gather round, you sailor boys, and listen to my plea,
And when you've heard my tale you'll pity me;
For I was a goddamn fool, in the port of Liverpool
the first time that I came home from sea.
I was paid off at the Home, from the port of Sierra Leone,
The three pounds ten a month that was me pay.
With a pocket full of tin, I was very soon taken in
By a girl with the name of Maggie May,. CHORUS.

Oh the first time I saw Maggie, she took my breath away,
she was cruising up and down old Canning Place.
She'd a figure so divine, like a frigate of the line,
so me, being a sailor, I gave chase, CHORUS;

In the morning I awoke, I was flat & stony broke.
No jacket, waistcoat, trousers could I find,
And when I asked her where; she said," My very good sir,
they're down in Kelly's pawnshop, number 9."

To the pawnshop I did go, no clothes there did I find,
And the police they took that girl from me away,
And the judge he guilty found her,
of robbing the homeward-bounder,
And paid her passage out to Botany Bay. CHORUS.

There are many variants to this song.
I have heard various amounts given as "the ££££ a month that was me pay" and after her "figure so divine", I first heard it as ..."and her voice was so refined."
I have used "frigate of the line" as it sounds more nautical, even though Liverpool sailors were much more likely to be Merchant Navy than RN.
and I have seen/heard " the judge he guilty found her, of robbing the homeward-bounder, " used as the middle lines of the chorus.

The song has quite a modern feel about it, and there's not much antique about the words, and I thought its "tradition" started about 1960. However, Herb Hughes (RN) heard it sung by Liverpool matelots around Plymouth as early as 1947.
Roger French, ex-pat scouser and mariner from Texas, writes;
" I first heard the song in 1958, sung by Stan Hugill when he was bo'sun at the Outward Bound Sea School in Aberdovey. A reasonable provenance, I'd think! He said, and I remember this very clearly, that Maggie May was originally a London lady and song, who got adopted by Liverpool. sailors. Canning Town became Canning Place, for example, Limehouse became Lime Street. Interestingly enough, when Stan sang the song back then, she cruised in Paradise Street, not Lime Street. His version was considerably more "raunchy" than most, with reference to Maggie's "old red flannel drawers" and other unmentionables.
Stan's chorus was:
"Oh Maggie, Maggie May, they have take her away,
for a slave upon that cruel devil's shore.
Oh she robbed many a whaler, and many a drunken sailor,
but she'll never cruise down Paradise Street no more."

The version you have is indeed, I think, a product of the early 60s and arose from the popularisation of Liverpool, both nationally and internationally".