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The Sailboat Malarkey


A.L. Lloyd sang the boat-launching shanty The Sailboat Malarkey on the 1974 Topic anthology Sea Shanties. This track was also included in 2004 on the CD Sailors’ Songs & Sea Shanties. A.L. Lloyd commented in the latter album’s sleeve notes:

The tune and most of the words come from the Bahamas, from the singer Frederick McQueen. In the Bahamas it’s mostly used for boat-launching, but it serves equally well for capstan work. ‘Malarkey’ here is a mispronunciation of ‘Malachi’.

Jim Mageean sang The ‘Malarkey’ in 1978 on his Greenwich Village album Of Ships…and Men. He commented:

A capstan shanty of West Indian origin which was recorded in 1930 in the Bahamas where it was still being used to help when launching boats. The name is obviously a West Indian mis-pronunciation of ‘Malachi’.


A.L. Lloyd sings The Sailboat Malarkey

Please tell me, what is this sailboat’s name?
    It’s the sailboat Malarkey
Tell me now, what is this good boat’s name?
    It’s the sailboat Malarkey

Who is the man then who built this fine boat?
Richardson, Richardson built this fine boat

Well now, me boys, we are bound out to sea
Windward Caroline come down to me

She’s lovely aloft and she’s lovely below
But she’s best on her back as you very well know

The blackbirds sang and the crow did caw
For to set this sail be up half past four

Away, away in St George’s town
The rats come batting the houses down

I’d give the world, boys, and all that I know
To turn and roll with me Lucy-oh

You pick her up, boys, and lay her down
And hang on tight as she bounces around

Tell me, what is that sailboat’s name?
Tell me, tell me, what is her name?