Cheerily Man

Stan Hugill says this is "probably the most primitive, and one of the oldest of all these heaving and hauling songs of the sea. It was obscene to a degree and most versions have had to be camouflaged".  In "Two Years Before the Mast" Richard Henry Dana, Jr writes"...hands were sent aloft, and a reef shaken out of the top-sails, and the reefed foresail set. When we came to masthead the topsail yards, with all hands at the halyards, we struck up 'Cheerily, men,' with a chorus which might have been heard half-way to Staten Land."  Thought to be of English origin, Cheerily Man spawned the West Indian "Haul Her Away", otherwise known to us as "Little Sally Racket".

Oh Sally Rackett, aye oh
Cheerily man
Pawned me best jacket aye oh
Cheerily man
And stole the ticket aye oh
Cheerily man
Hauly aye oh, cheerily man

Oh Kitty Carson aye oh
Jilted the parson aye oh
Married a mason aye oh

Oh Annie Duckett aye oh
Washed in a bucket aye oh
She’s an old whore, don’t you know

Oh Nancy Dawson aye oh
She’s got a notion aye oh
For our old Bosun aye oh

Oh Susie Skinner aye oh
Says she’s a beginner aye oh
Prefers it to dinner aye oh

Here comes the Captain aye oh
Bully old bastard aye oh
Over the side he must go

He’s got a daughter aye oh
Puts on a hell of a show
Some say she never says no

We went to Exmouth aye oh
Courted the women aye oh
I know they never say no