Rolling Down the River

Written by Jack Forbes in 1982 for a radio programme about Tilbury Docks. It has since been used in an Educational Drama production, a Folk Theatre presentation and also as a Morris Dance, as well as being sung at shanty sessions and folk festivals around the world. There is an American version and a Polish language version. Recorded by Plymouth’s hanging Johnny among others.

Rolling Down The River

Oh! I once was a rigger and I worked like hell.
Rolling up. Rolling down.
But now I'm sailing with the OCL
And go rolling down the river.

Rolling up. Rolling down.
We'll all get drunk in Tilbury town
Twenty four hours to turn around.
And go rolling down the river.

When first I saw a TEU.
I wondered where they stowed the crew
 
Well cargo comes in TEUs.
A 20 foot box, boys, filled with booze.

There's a Tilbury girl called Kettle Jane.
First on the boil then off again.

She's got a mate called Teapot Anne.
She gets well brewed. She likes a man.

Tilbury girls go round in pairs,
You won't catch them unawares.

Down on the dock-gates where the work is done,
You can pick 'em up, one by one.

Well, we're the boys to see her through.
So to hell the Channel and the TEU.
Let's roll down the river.