One criticism of a song like Anchor Song is that it tries too hard to imitate traditional songs and ends up with something much more elaborate and ‘written’ than the originals – all those words, all those exclamation marks! This song, which Peter Bellamy took from Sam Larner, is a partial disproof. Clearly not all sea songs sounded like Shallow Brown; some of them sounded more like a music-hall patter song. Which seems to be how this one started life – see Mudcat for details – although by the time Sam Larner sang it the original had had a lot of the edges rubbed off.
My text is more or less what Bellamy sang, but with a few phrases changed back to what was in the original, in the second verse in particular. I particularly like the third verse – simple pleasures! The last verse really has no artistic merits and doesn’t even seem to belong in the song, but I like the seaside-postcard quality of the last line.
Now, watch us, twig us… (You’ll be singing along by the last chorus. Bet you.)