Mudcat sources suggest that the first 2 verses were collected by James Gardner in Gosport in 1781 and may be an ironic parody of the rest, which also appear as a song 'The Sailor Laddie'. The lines “sailors, they get all the money, soldiers they get none but brass,I do love a jolly sailor, soldiers they may kiss my arse” (sometimes sung as a chorus), was a well-known prostitute's ditty of the time. It probably refers to the fact that for centuries sailors had a share of "prize money" from their capture of enemy merchant ships as well as naval vessels. Soldiers on the other hand had no legal claim to any plunder. Although the sailors' share of the prize money might appear modest, compared with what the captain or his admiral got, it was still considerably more than their monthly pay and in some cases enough to start a small business ashore. Frankie Armstrong recorded The Sailor Laddie in 1973 and Eliza Carthy recorded Rolling Sea in 2006.