> The Watersons > Songs > Three Day Millionaire

Three Day Millionaire

[Mike Waterson]

Mike Waterson sang his own song Three Day Millionaire on the Watersons’ 1975 album For Pence and Spicy Ale. This track was included in 2004 on the Watersons’ 4 CD anthology Mighty River of Song. It was also sung by Blue Murder (i.e. Waterson:Carthy with Coope, Boyes & Simpson) in 2002 on their CD No One Stands Alone. A.L. Lloyd noted on the original album:

Work like horses, spend like asses, is an old description of trawlermen. Exemplifying the adage, Mike Waterson wrote this song for a play by Phil Woods about the Hull fishing industry, called Settle Us Fore.

John Conolly sang Three Day Millionaire in 1998 on his and Pete Sumner’s Fellside CD Trawlertown. He noted:

Mike Waterson’s jaunty salute to the trawlermen of Hull recalls the amazing fishermen’s suits, which were obligatory wear for a night out on shore, with their ruck-back jackets, padded shoulders, wide lapels and flared trousers—not forgetting an impeccable white shirt and gallons of Brylcreem.

Kirk Ella is one of the leafier suburbs of Hull, where the more successful skippers tended to settle down.

Eliza Carthy played and sang Three Day Millionaire on the bonus CD of her 2017 album with the Wayward Band, Big Machine.

Martin Simpson sang Three Day Millionaire, followed by his own Don’t Put Your Banjo in the Shed Mr Waterson, in 2020 on his Topic album Home Recordings. He noted :

I had attempted to arrange Mike Waterson’s Three Day Millionaire for banjo when working with Andy Cutting and Nancy Kerr, but I couldn’t get the feel I wanted. A few months practise with fingerpicks and voilá.

Don’t Put Your Banjo in the Shed Mr Waterson was written for clawhammer style but it proved to be most entertaining to play with fingerpicks, and together these two pieces are amost respectful nod to the late lovely Mike.


Mike Waterson sings Three Day Millionaire

Why, I left school Friday
And I started work on Saturday
To catch the early tide
And be a galley boy’s me plan
On the fishin’ grounds to roam
Eighteen hundred mile from home
I couldn’t give a bugger, I’m a man

I shall get to deck a-learnin’
It’s the bonus I’ll be earnin’
And the money comes in handy
For the old ran tan
Brylcreme in me hair
Three day millionaire
I couldn’t give a bugger, I’m a man

I sh’ll get meself a suit made
To show I’m in the fishin’ trade
I’ll put me brothel-creepers on
And swagger when I can
All me pots are pint-sized
Watch me gettin paralysed
To show the younger buggers who’s a man

And when I get to skipper
I’ll get married, have a nipper
I s’ll take the lad to sea wi’ me
And teach him all I can
I’ll be a different sort of fella
Have a house out in Kirk Ella
And I’ll show the bleedin’ neighbours who’s a man

I’ll be a different sort of fellow
Have a house out in Kirk Ellow
And I’ll show the bleedin’ neighbours who’s a man


Thanks to Greer Gilman for the transcription.