Cape Cod Girls - Shanty U.K. Archive

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Cape Cod Girls

Shanties
Cape Cod Girls
Codfish Shanty



In Stan Hugill's Shanties of the Seven Seas this shanty is called South Australia with the alternative title of The Codfish Shanty. Like the better-known versions of South Australia, (which Hugill calls Rolling King) this was usually sung at the capstan, particularly for anchor work, and at pumps.

Just how a song celebrating the
girls of New England came to be married to a chorus about Australia will probably remain one of the great unsolved mysteries of shantying. Like many other deep sea work songs, the published versions have come down to us with many of the verses "camouflaged". Feel free to insert your own interpretation of what you feel may have been the original words.

Roud Number 325
Click to play MIDI file
Stan Hugill's South Australia (Codfish Shanty)
Cape Cod Girls

Cape Cod girls don't use no combs,

Bound away. Bound away.

They comb their hair on a codfish bone

Bound away for Australia.

Heave her up, my bully, bully boys,
Bound away, bound away.
Heave her up, now don't you make a noise.
Bound away for Australia.


Cape Cod kids don't have no sleds,

Bound away. Bound away.

They slide down hills on the codfish heads.

Bound away for Australia.

Heave her up, my bully, bully boys,
Bound away, bound away.
Heave her up, now don't you make a noise.
Bound away for Australia.


Cape Cod girls don't wear no frills,

Bound away. Bound away.

They're plain and skinny like a codfish gills.

Bound away for Australia.

Heave her up, my bully, bully boys,
Bound away, bound away.
Heave her up, now don't you make a noise.
Bound away for Australia.


Cape Cod folks don't have no ills,

Bound away. Bound away.

Them Cape Cod doctors feed them codfish pills.

Bound away for Australia.

Heave her up, my bully, bully boys,
Bound away, bound away.
Heave her up, now don't you make a noise.
Bound away for Australia.



Other verses from Hugill

Yankee girls don't sleep on beds,
They go to sleep on codfish heads.

Cape Cod girls have got big feet,
Codfish roes is nice an' sweet.

Gloster girls make damn fine cooks,
They're good at catching sprats on hooks.

Nantucket girls are very fine,
They know how to bait a codfish line.

As recorded by Mâles de Mer
Play MP3
Cape Cod Girls, sung by Mâles de Mer
Cape Cod

Situated to the east of Boston in the state of Massachussets, the 65-mile long Cape Cod (GPS 42.064, -70.242) is the world's largest glacially formed peninsula. It was formed roughly eighteen thousand years ago at the end of the last Ice Age when the retreating ice sheets left vast deposits of glacial debris, which formed a chain of islands of the coast as far south as New York.


Although it is a peninsula, it is often regarded as an island, for to reach the rest of the USA one must use  one of only two road bridges or a single rail bridge to cross the 7-mile long  Cape Cod Canal which links Nantucket Sound to the south with Cape Cod Bay to the north. Although various canal schemes had been considered from the 1620s onward, construction did not start in earnest until 1909, with it being fully opened in 1916 and widened to 480 feet in 1940.


NASA Landsat-7 photograph

Cape Cod is one of the first parts of the American continent to have been reached by Europeans. There is some evidence that this area was the Vinland that the Vikings reached between 985 and 1025, while Italians and Portuguese explored the area in the 1520s. Bartholomew Gosnold, founder of the Virginia colony landed here in 1602 and gave it the name of Cape Cod, making it the the ninth oldest English place-name in the United States.


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