> Folk Music > Songs > I Once Was a Fisherman

I Once Was a Fisherman

[Barry Dransfield]

Barry Dransfield sang his own song I Once Was a Fisherman in 1994 on his Rhiannon CD Be Your Own Man. This track was also included in 2009 on the Folk for M.S. charity CD, Generosity. He commented in his album's notes:

Restrictions on fishing are forcing people to give up this traditional living. I live in Hastings now and have seen this first hand, prompting me to write this song.

Jon Boden sang I Once Was a Fisherman—swapping the last two verses—as the November 19, 2010 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day.

Lyrics

There's gold in the channel when the sun lights the sea,
But the boats are all pulled up and stranded like me.
I once was a fisherman, now come ashore
'Cause they won't let us go to sea anymore,

Chorus (after each verse):
To sea anymore,
No they won't let us go to sea anymore.

In the old town of Hastings the people can see
Our sheds and our tackle—it puts them at ease.
And we make a fine sight from above Rock-a-Nore
But they won't let us go to sea anymore,

And isn't it crazy—when we are so strong,
That we can't fight the bullies that are doing us wrong?
But you can't fight the faceless—the ghosts of the law
And they won't let us go to sea anymore,

Now I have a son and he's nearly sixteen,
A fishing family we always have been,
And it fills me with sorrow that he'll stay ashore
'Cause they won't let us go to sea anymore,