> Cyril Tawney > Songs > The Candlelight Fisherman

The Candlelight Fisherman

[ Roud 1852 ; Ballad Index K219 ; trad.]

Phil Hammond of Morston, Norfolk, sang The Candlelight Fisherman to Peter Kennedy on November 3, 1952 (BBC recording 18703). This recording was also included on the anthology Jack of All Trades (The Folk Songs of Britain Volume 3; Caedmon 1961; Topic 1968).

John Goodluck sang Candlelight Fisherman in 1976 on his Sweet Folk & Country album Speed the Plough.

Thames barge skipper Bob Roberts sang The Candlelight Fisherman on his 1978 Topic album Songs from the Sailing Barges. This track was also included in 1996 on the Topic anthology Hidden English. A.L. Lloyd commented in the original album's sleeve notes:

Among the songs coming from the repertory of fishermen are the sly Candlelight Fisherman (put a candle out of the window; if the flame blows out there’s too much wind for fishing; if it doesn’t there isn’t breeze enough; in either case, go back to bed) and Windy Old Weather, a favourite song of the old Norfolk fisherman Sam Larner, though Bob Roberts’s words are somewhat different from Sam’s.

Cyril Tawney sang The Candlelight Fisherman in 1992 on his Neptune cassette of sea songs for children, Little Boy Billee.

Jim Eldon sang The Candlelight Fisherman on the 1997 album Jim & Lynette Eldon.

John Roberts sang Candlelight Fisherman on his 2007 CD Sea Fever. He noted:

Candlelight Fisherman comes from Bob Roberts, master of the Cambria, the last of the Thames sailing barges. He had a great repertoire of sea songs, many of them humorous, and a lot of them have become staples of the folk clubs.

Danny Spooner sang The Candlelight Fisherman on his 2014 CD Sailor's Consolation. He noted:

I got this from the singing of my old skipper Bob Roberts and I think he might have written it but while he had a great sense of humour, he knew the reality to be very different.

Lyrics

John Roberts sings The Candlelight Fisherman

Now my dad was a fisherman bold
And he lived till he grew old
For he'd open the pane and pop out the flame
Just to see how the wind do blow.

And he'd oftentimes tell to me
You be sure before you go
Do you open the pane and pop out the flame.
Just to see how the wind do blow.

When the north wind roughly blow
Then I lie snug below
But I open the pane and pop out the flame.
Just to see how the wind do blow.

When the wind comes in from the east
It's no good for man nor beast
But I open the pane and pop out the flame
Just to see how the wind do blow.

When the wind back into the west
It'll blow in hard at best,
But I open the pane and pop out the flame
Just to see how the wind do blow.

But when the south wind softly blow
It's then I love to go
But I open the pane and pop out the flame
And there's not enough wind to go.

Now my wife she says to me
We shall starve if you don't go
So I open the pane and I pops out the flame
Just to see how the wind do blow.

So come all you fishermen bold
If you'd live till you grow old
Do you open the pane and pop out the flame
Just to see how the wind do blow.