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The Bob Zentz Songbook

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A Dog’s Life

From Closehauled on the Wind of a Dream

Adapted from the poetry of C. Fox Smith (1882-1954)

Music traditional;  additional lyrics © 2003, 2007 Bob Zentz

 

 

     “Oh, a sailor’s life’s a dog’s life, an’ that’s the truth,” says Bill  (C-F-C-G7-C)

     “A sailor’s life’s a dog’s life, look at it how you will  (C-F-C-G7-C)

     You break your back a’workin’ for half a coolie's pay  (F-C-D7-G)

     A sailor’s life’s a dog’s life, look at it how you may”  (C-F-C-G7-C)

 

1.  “There’s mates to kick an’ haze you (an’ you dursn’t hit ‘em back)

There’s cold to freeze your innards, heat to burn you black

Salt junk as tough as green heart, an’ weevils in the bread

An’ fistin’ frozen canvas till you’re wishin’ you was dead”  (chorus)


2.  “But you bet I’m goin’ to quit it next time I jump ashore

Well, the next time I hit ‘Frisco, you won’t see me no more

I’ll plot a course sou’westward to an island as I know

Where we laid once loadin’ copra – must be twenty years ago”

 

3.  “And I’ll lie out on the beach there where the sun is good an’ hot

An’ I won’t need no more trousies when I’ve wore out these I’ve got

With a gunny round me middle an’ a soul to call my own

Well, I would not change my fortune for the King’s upon his throne”  (chorus)

 

4.  But when we’d finished loading and sailing day come round

The pilotboat alongside and the mud hook off the ground

The towboat cast the hawser off and left us with a cheer

Why, there’d be Bill complainin’ as he’d done for twenty years  (chorus)

 

     He’d say, “A sailor’s life’s a dog’s life, an’ that's a fact, me son

     His pay’s no more’n a coolie’s, and his work is never done

     You can bet I’m goin’ to quit it next chance as comes my way

     For a sailor’s life’s a dog’s life, look at it how you may”

 

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