The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #34080   Message #3697942
Posted By: Joe Offer
28-Mar-15 - 05:26 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Blood Red Roses (what's it mean?)
Subject: Origins: Blood Red Roses (what's it mean?)
I'm working on lyrics for this song for the upcoming Rise Again Songbook. I'm thinking of using these lyrics from the Digital Tradition. I think they come from Lou Killen, but I can't find a Killen recording to verify that.


Our boots and clothes are all in pawn
     Go down, you blood red roses, Go down.
And it's flamin' drafty 'round Cape Horn,
     Go down, you blood red roses, Go down.

Oh, you pinks and posies,
     Go down, you blood red roses, Go down.

My dear old mother said to me,
My dearest son, come home from sea.

It's 'round Cape Horn we all must go
'Round Cape Horn in the frost and snow.

You've got your advance, and to sea you'll go
To chase them whales through the frost and snow.

It's 'round Cape Horn you've got to go,
For that is where them whalefish blow.

It's growl you may, but go you must,
If you growl too much your head they'll bust.

Just one more pull and that will do
For we're the boys to kick her through.

Recorded by Louis Killen- 50 South, also MacColl and LLoyd
@sailor @whaling
filename[ BLOODRED

Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry on this song:

Blood Red Roses

DESCRIPTION: Shanty. Characteristic lines: "Come/go down, you blood red/bunch of roses, Come down... Oh you pinks and posies, come down...." The verses generally refer to life at sea, with perhaps floating verses on other themes
AUTHOR: unknown
KEYWORDS: shanty ship flowers
REFERENCES (7 citations):
Doerflinger, pp. 22-23, "Come Down, You Bunch of Roses, Come Down" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hugill, pp. 365-367, "Bunch O' Roses," "Ho Molly!" (3 texts, 3 tunes - includes a fragment of text titled "Ho Molly! which seems to follow the same meter and rhyme) [AbrEd, pp. 275-277]
Scott-BoA, pp. 132-134, "Blood Red Roses" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-FSNA 27, "Blood Red Roses" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 90, "Blood Red Roses" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Frederick Pease Harlow, _The Making of a Sailor, or Sea Life Aboard a Yankee Square-Rigger_, 1928; republished by Dover, 1988, p. 124, (no title) (1 fragment, 1 tune, probably this)

Roud #931
A. L. Lloyd, "Blood Red Roses" (on Lloyd3, Lloyd7)
Henry Lundy & David Pryor, "Come Down, You Roses" (AAFS 511 A1, 1935; on LomaxCD1822-2)

cf. "O Mary, Come Down!" (lyrics)
NOTES: Doerflinger comments of this piece, "I doubt that the movie version, with a 'blood red roses' chorus, is authentic folklore." However, that's the version I've always heard (including even an alleged New Zealand version), so I've adopted that title. Doerflinger also thinks the "bunch of roses" refers to Napoleon. Obviously that is the case in other "roses" songs, but I can't see any connection here. - RBW
Last updated in version 3.3
File: Doe022

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