Alabama John Cherokee

Hugill describes this as a typical work song “dating back to the days of Negro slavery either in the West Indies or the southern states”. Harding said it was in common use in the old West Indian traders and was a hauling song, but Captain Robinson says it was used at the capstan. Hugill suggests it was probably introduced to seamen by way of the cotton hoosiers of Mobile.

Alabama John Cherokee

This is the tale of John Cherokee
Alabama John Cherokee
Indian man from Miramashee
Alabama John Cherokee
Way hey ya-ooh!
Alabama John Cherokee (X2)
They made him a slave in oul Alabam
He ran away every time he can

They shipped him on board of a whaling ship
Again and again he gave them the slip

Catch him again and tie him up tight
Put him in the dark without any light

They gave him nothing for to eat or drink
His poor old bones they began to clink

Well now his ghost is often seen
Sitting on the main truck all wet and green

At the break of day he goes below
That is when the cocks do crow