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Origins: Windy Old Weather

07 Feb 13 - 05:54 AM (#3476666)
Subject: Lyr Add: Windy Old Weather
From: Uncle Tone

Bob Roberts variant 1958

As we were a-fishing off Haisborough* light
Shooting and hauling and trawling all night

It was windy old weather
Stormy old weather
When the wind blows
We all pull together

When up jumped the herring, the queen of the sea
Says now, "Oh skipper, you cannot catch me"

In this….

We sighted the thresher a-slashing his tail
"Time now old skipper to hoist up your sail"

In this….

Then up jumps a slip-sole as strong as a horse
Says now, "Old skipper your miles off your course"

In this….

Then along comes a plaice who's got spots on his side
Says, "Not much longer these seas you can ride"

In this….

Then up rears a conga as long as a mile
"Winds coming easterly", he says with a smile

And its….

I think what these fishes are saying is right
We'll haul up our gear now and steer for the light

Cos its…..

*Happisburgh (pronounced Hazeboro') light, now disused, lies on the north coast of Norfolk


07 Feb 13 - 06:03 AM (#3476668)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Windy Old Weather
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)

Bob Roberts' tune is used with the version from Palmer Oxford Book of Sea Songs in DT: FISHES LAMENTATION or WINDY OLD WEATHER


07 Feb 13 - 06:07 AM (#3476669)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Windy Old Weather
From: GUEST,John from "Elsie`s Band"

From my days in "Four Square Circle", thanks to Robin Gray.

"Up popped a sardine, all little and thin.
He said I`m that way so I fits in a tin.

And it`s......"

07 Feb 13 - 08:03 AM (#3476713)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Windy Old Weather
From: GUEST,Lighter

Where's Bob's mermaid verse?

07 Feb 13 - 09:22 AM (#3476749)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Windy Old Weather
From: Snuffy

The obituary for Happisburgh Lighthouse was premature: it was saved by the local community who got an Act of Parliament to allow them to run it. It is the oldest working light in East Anglia, and the only independently operated lighthouse in the UK

07 Feb 13 - 11:16 AM (#3476784)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Windy Old Weather
From: Steve Gardham

Up jumped the mackerel with stripes on his back,
He cried out, ole skipper, come square yer main tack.

Up jumps the sprat the smallest of all
Cries out, me boys, let yer reef tackle fall.

That's a lotta people dancing in that conga! Sorry, couldn't resist it.

There's a 19thc broadside called 'The Fishes'

11 Dec 14 - 04:44 AM (#3684558)
Subject: RE: Origins: Windy Old Weather
From: Joe Offer

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

Windy Old Weather

DESCRIPTION: Chorus: "In this windy old weather, Stormy Old weather, When the wind blows We'll all pull together." Various fish jump from the sea and exhort the crew, e.g. "Up jumps the herring, the king of the sea, He laps on the foredeck and says, Helm's-alee"
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1950s (recording, Bob Roberts)
KEYWORDS: ship fishing nonballad storm shanty
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South, West)) Canada(Mar)
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Copper-SoBreeze, pp. 204-205, "Stormy Ol' Weather" (1 text, 1 tune)
Creighton/Senior, pp. 232-233,"Stormy Weather Boys" (1 text plus 1 fragment, 1 tune)
Creighton-SNewBrunswick 112, "Stormy Weather" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT, WINDYWEA* (with a first verse from "Yea Ho, Little Fish" or the like) WINDYWE2*

Roud #472
Tom Brown, "Windy Old Weather" (on Voice12)
Sam Larner, "Haisboro Light Song" (on SLarner01); "Windy Old Weather" (on SLarner02)
Bob Roberts, "Windy Old Weather" (on LastDays, FieldTrip1)

cf. "Stormy Weather Boys" (tune & metre)
Boston Come-All-Ye
NOTES: I do not know that the two Larner recordings are in fact different -- these two compilations drew from the same collection of field tapes -- but as the titles are given as different I thought it prudent to separate them. - PJS
File: CoSB204

Go to the Ballad Search form
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The Ballad Index Copyright 2014 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.

11 Dec 14 - 04:46 AM (#3684560)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Windy Old Weather
From: Joe Offer

This ought to be here:

hread #137101   Message #3231582
Posted By: Ross Campbell
30-Sep-11 - 07:23 AM
Thread Name: Fleetwood & Fishing: Songs of the Trawling Trade

Windy Old Weather

Then up gets the codfish with his great old head
He jumped on the foredeck to get a cast of lead.

        Windy old weather, stormy old weather,
        When the wind blows, we'll all pull together.

Then up gets the gurnard with spines on his back;
He jumped on the poop deck to work on the jib deck.

Then up gets the herring the king of the sea;
He says to the Skipper, "Look out to your lee!"

Then up jumps the sprat he's the smallest of all,
He says to the Skipper, "Haul, haul the men's trawl."

Then up jumped the coley, as black as the coal,
He says, come on Skipper, "Ice me down below."

Sung by Dick Gillingham. Not sure where he got this version, it's different from the one in the DT (coll MacColl) and from Bob Robert's (Hapsborough Banks) version.

11 Dec 14 - 04:48 AM (#3684561)
Subject: RE: Origins: Windy Old Weather
From: Joe Offer

....and this one:

Thread #60602   Message #970094
Posted By: GUEST,.gargoyle
21-Jun-03 - 03:53 AM
Thread Name: Wanted: songs about underwater life

(Windy Old Weather)

Used to be in the DT. Perhaps, the MC search engine is screwy after its "stroke". (

It will give your children more than enough fish to explore for a summer:
You and the kids have FUN!!

SONG IN AMERICA. Burl Ives, Waryfarer Music Co., 1962, p.60

Come all you bold fishermen, listen to me,
While I sing to you a song of the sea.

CHORUS: Then blow ye winds westerly, westerly blow,
We're bound to the southward, so steady we go.

First comes the blue-fish a-wagging his tail,
He come up on the deck and yells: "All hands make sail!" CHORUS

Next comes the eels, with their nimble tails,
They jumped up aloft and loosed all the sails. CHORUS

Next come the herrings, with their little tails,
The manned sheets and halliards and set all the sails. CHORUS

Next comes the porpoise, with his short snout,
He jumps on the bridge and yells: "Ready, about!" CHORUS

Next comes the swordfish, the scourge of the sea,
The order he gives is "Helm's a-lee!" CHORUS

Then comes the turbot, as red as a beet,
He shouts from the bridge: "Stick out that foresheet!" CHORUS

Having accomplished these wonderful feats,
The blackfish sings out next to: "Rise tacks and sheet!" CHORUS

Next comes the whale, the largest of all,
Singing out from the bridge: "Haul taut, mainsail, haul!" CHORUS

Then comes the mackerel, with his striped back,
He flopped on the bridge and yelled: "Board the main tack!" CHORUS

Next comes the sprat, the smallest of all,
He sings out: "Haul well taut, let go and haul!" CHORUS

Then comes the catfish, with his chuckle had,
Out in the main chains for a heave of the lead. CHORUS

Next comes the flounder, quite fresh from the ground,
Crying: "Damn your eyes, chucklehead, mind where you sound!" CHORUS

Along came a dolphin, flapping his tail,
He yelled to the boatswain to reef the foresail. CHORUS

Along came the shark, with his three rows of teeth,
He flops on the foreyard and takes a snug reef. CHORUS

Up jumps the fisherman, stalwart and grim,
And with his big net he scooped them all in. CHORUS


11 Dec 14 - 06:44 AM (#3684608)
Subject: RE: Origins: Windy Old Weather
From: Brian Peters

A few broadsides on the Bodleian site, under the title The King of the Sea, in which our doughty denizens of the deep take on a French privateer.