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Barney Buntline / Sailor’s Consolation

[ Roud 12825 ; Ballad Index Hugi460A ; Charles Dibdin]

Gordon Bok sang Charles Dibdin’ song A Sailor’s Consolation on his 1992 album Schooners. He noted:

Dibdin wrote many ‘sailors’ songs’ back in the 1700s in England. Not many have gone into tradition. Bob Zentz of Norfolk, Virginia, sent me this one last summer; he had set it to the tune of The Recruited Collier, which it fits handsomely. He played it on a concertina, which the cellamba here reflects. Thanks for another good one, brother Bob.

Hughie Jones sang Barney Buntline in 1999 on his Fellside album Seascape. He commented:

Barney Buntline and Billy Bowline converse about a howling Nor’wester extolling the easy living at sea in a sailing ship compared with the lot of less fortunate landsmen.

Danny Spooner sang The Sailor’s Consolation as the title track of his 2014 album, Sailor’s Consolation. He noted:

This song was written by Charles Dibdin and can be found in his Sea Songs and Ballads (1863). I got it from the singing of an American, Bob Zentz, who had recorded it on a CD Hove-to, and Drifting …. He set it to the tune of The Recruited Collier, which is not the tune Dibdin used.


Gordon Bok sings A Sailor’s Consolation

One night came on a hurricane
The sea was mountains rolling,
When Barney Buntline turned his quid,
And said to Billy Bowline:
“A strong nor’wester’s blowing, Bill,
Hark! Don’t you hear it roar now?
Lord help them! How I pities all
Unhappy folks on shore now.

“Foolhardy chaps that live in towns;
What dangers they are all in,
And now lie shaking in their beds
for fear the roof should fall in.
Poor creatures, how they envy us
And wishes, I’ve a notion,
For our good luck in such a storm
To be upon the ocean.

“And as for them who’re out all day
On business from their houses,
And late at night are coming home
To cheer their babes and spouses;
While you and I, Bill, on the deck
Are comfortably lying,
My eyes! What tiles and chimney-pots
Around their heads are flying!

“And very often have we heard
How men are killed and undone
By overturns of carriages,
By thieves and fires in London.
We know what risks all landsmen run
From noblemen to tailors;
Then Bill, let us thank Providence
That you and I are sailors.”