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The Bob Zentz Songbook

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The Tow-Rope Girls

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

 

 

1.  Oh, a ship in the tropics, rolling along (D-F#m)

With every stitch drawing, the trade blowing strong (G-D-Em-A)

And the white caps around her, breaking in spray (D-F#m)

The girls have got hold of our tow-rope today! (G-D-Em-A)

 

     And it’s haul away, girls, steady and true

     Polly and Dolly and Sally and Sue

     Mothers and sisters, sweethearts and all

     Haul away, all the way, haul away, haul!

 

2.  She’s logging sixteen as she speeds from the south

With the wind in her royals, with a bone in her mouth

With a wake like a mill-race, she rolls on her way

The girls have got hold of our tow-rope today!

 

3.  The Old Man he stood on the poop at high noon

He paced fore and aft and he whistled a tune

He put by his sextant, and thus he did say

“Them girls have got hold of our tow-rope today!” (chorus)

 

4.  Of cargoes and charters we’ve had our full share

Of grain and of lumber enough and to spare

Of nitrates at Taltal and rice for Bombay

The girls have got hold of our tow-rope today! (chorus)

 

5.  She’s dipped her yards under, hove-to off the Horn

In the fog and the floes, she has drifted forlorn

Becalmed in the doldrums, a week long she lay

Those girls have got hold of our tow-rope today!

 

6.  So hear the good trade wind singing aloud

A homeward bound shanty in sheet and in shroud

Oh, hear how she whistles in the halliard and stay

“The girls have got hold of the tow-rope today!” (chorus)

 

7.  And it’s oh, for the chops of the channel at last

The cheer that goes up when the tug hawser’s passed

The mate’s “that’ll do,” and fourteen months’ pay

The girls have got hold of our tow-rope today!  (chorus)

 

Haul away, all the way, girls!

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