The Female Rambling Sailor

from by Lindsay Straw

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about

I don't have many references for this Australian folk song, as I heard the title and concept mentioned in a discussion about traditional songs with female characters and simply went online and learned it from a Folk Stream article. I asked the guys, "Is it okay to turn a song about a sailor into a march?" and they said, "Why not?" I do love all the tales of feminine cunning, but I have a special love for this tale of a woman going off and redefining her future, taking joy in her employment, and then dying because she had a little too much bravado for her own good.

lyrics

Come all you maidens far and near, and listen to my ditty;
It was near Gravesend there lived a maid,
she was both young and pretty.
Her true love he was pressed away, and drowned in a foreign sea,
Which caused this fair maid for to say, “I’ll be a rambling sailor.”

In her jacket blue and trousers white,
just like a sailor neat and tight;
Sure the sea it was the heart’s delight of the female rambling sailor.
When in storm upon the raging sea, she was ready at her station;
Her mind was as calm as calm could be - she loved her occupation.

When in the calm, this damsel young,
she charmed the sailors with her tongue,
And she walked the deck and sweetly sung,
did the female rambling sailor.
This maiden gay a wager lay, she would go aloft like any;
From stem to stern she freely went,
where times she had been many.

From stem to stern she freely goes,
she braves all dangers, fears no foes,
And soon you’ll hear of the overthrow
of the female rambling sailor.
From stem to stern she freely went,
where times she had been many;
Her hold it slipped and down she fell
and calmly bid this world farewell.

When a snowy white breast in sight it came,
it appeared to be a female frame,
And Rebecca Young it was the name of the female rambling sailor.
Come all you maidens far and near, and listen to my story;
Her body’s anchored in the ground, let’s hope her soul’s in glory.

May the willows wave around her grave
and around the laurels planted.
May the roses sweet grow at the feet
of the one who was undaunted.
On the river Fame she was known well,
few sailors there could her excel;
One tear let fall for the last farewell of the female rambling sailor.

credits

from The Fairest Flower of Womankind, released April 28, 2017
Bouzouki & Vocals: Lindsay Straw
Accordion: Daniel Accardi
Fiddle: Armand Aromin
Concertina: Benedict Gagliardi

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Lindsay Straw Boston, Massachusetts

Boston-based traditional folk singer, guitarist & bouzouki player.

"Hearken(s) back to more innocent times, of Greenwich Village and pure folk." - The Living Tradition

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