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Sailor Home from the Sea (Cock of the North)

[Dorothy Hewett]

Martyn Wyndham-Read wrote the tune to Australian poet Dorothy Hewett's verses Sailor Home from the Sea in about 1964 and played it to audiences in Britain on his return in 1967. He sang the song in 1973 on his Argo LP Harry the Hawker Is Dead, in 1997 on his Fellside CD Beneath a Southern Sky, and, with the title Cock of the North, in 1984 on his Greenwich Village album A Rose from the Bush.

A previously unreleased 1975 recording of Linda Adams was included in 1999 on Jolly Jack & Friends' CD Rolling Down to Old Maui.

Pat Ryan sang Cock of the North in 1977 on her Folk Heritage album Leaboy's Lassie.

Australian singer Margaret Walters sang Sailor Home from the Sea to music set by Chris Kempster in 1990 on her CD For the Future and the Past.

The Fagans sang The Sailor Home from the Sea in 2002 on their CD Turning Fine.

Danny Spooner sang Cock of the North on his 2007 CD of fairly contemporary Australian songs, Emerging Tradition. He noted:

This combination of Dorothy Hewett's words and a tune fashioned by Martyn Wyndham-Read prompts a recollection of a wonderful old sailor who had gone to sea first as a boy aboard the Polly Woodside. When I met him some twenty years ago, he and his wife were very old and frail but every wall of their cottage held reminders of his voyages and homecomings. Well into their eighties they were a wonderful pair.

Lyrics

Danny Spooner sings Cock of the North

O Cock of the North with a dream in his hand,
My love has come home to this beautiful land.
He bursts through the door with his eyes like the sun,
And his kitbag stuffed full of the treasures he's won.

A coral from Broome and a tall Darwin tale,
A clam and a pearl and the tooth of a whale.
My kitchen is filled with the smell of the sea
And the leaping green fishes my love brought to me.

Come tumble your treasures from Darwin and Broome
And fill with your glory this quaint little room.
With the sun of the morning ablaze on his chest
My love has come home from the north of north-west.

And deep in our bed we'll lie and we'll be,
We'll kiss and we'll listen to the rain on the sea.
As warm as the summer we'll live winter long,
My love has come back like King Solomon's Song.

O Cock of the North with a dream in his hand,
My love has come home to this beautiful land.