The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #132198   Message #2989221
Posted By: Phil Edwards
18-Sep-10 - 10:31 AM
Thread Name: Origins/ADD: The Dolphin
Subject: Lyr Add: The Dolphin
On another thread (above), Dave Bishop wrote:

[The Dolphin is on] 'A Sailor's Garland' by Ewan MacColl & A.L. Lloyd, XTRA 5013, 1966. Ewan learned 'The Dolphin' from Sam Larner, of Winterton, Norfolk, who, in turn, learned it from his shipmate, 'Old Larpin' (James Sutton). Sutton was from an earlier generation than Sam and also from Winterton.

Sam can be heard singing the song on the recording, 'Now is the Time for Fishing' collected and edited by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger. This was originally issued by Folkways, in the 1960s, in the US, but Topic released a version of it in 1999 (Topic TSCD511). Ewan and Peggy's note to the song says that "[it is] known under several aliases as 'The Bold Pirate', 'The Pirate Song', 'The Irish Captain' and 'The London Man o' War', it has been collected from singers in Sussex, Norfolk, Dorset, Somerset and Nova Scotia."

However, The Dolphin isn't in the DT - or anywhere else online, as far as I can tell. It's basically the same song as Warlike Seamen (DT / Mainly Norfolk) but with different phrasing in every single verse - the folk process at work!

So here it is, transcribed from Tony Capstick's recording.


Our ship she lay in harbour
In Liverpool Dock she lay
Awaiting for fresh orders
And our anchor for to weigh
Bound down for the coast of Africa
Our orders did run so
O we're going to sink and destroy, me boys,
No matter where we go.

Well, we had not been sailing
Scarce fifty leagues and more
When we espied a tall lofty ship
Come down on us she bore
O she hailed us in French colours
And she asked us from whence we came
O we've just come down from Liverpool town
And the Dolphin is our name.

"O are you a man of war, sir?
Pray tell me what you be."
"I am no man of war, sir,
But a pirate ship you see,
O come heave up your fore and your main yards
And let your ship come to
For our tackle's overhauled and our boats are all lowered,
Or else we will sink you."

O our captain stood on the quarterdeck
He was brave and fearless too.
"It's three to one against us," he cried
All to our jovial crew
And if it hadn't been for my younger brother
O this battle would never have been tried,
But let every man stand true to his guns
And we'll give to them a broadside.

Now broadside to broadside,
Which caused us all to wonder
For to see them lofty tall ship's masts
Come rattling down like thunder
O we shot them from our quarterdeck
Until they could no longer stay
O our guns being smart and we played the best part
And we showed them Liverpool play.

Now that lofty tall ship was taken
And in Liverpool Dock was moored
We fired shots with our own sweethearts
And them fancy girls on shore
O we lowered down the French colours
And we hoisted the red, white and blue
And we'll drink a success to the Dolphin
And all of her jovial crew.