All for me grog

Across the Western ocean

Music: Trad. arr. Sheena Phillips. Words: Trad.
TBB, piano
performance time approx 2m 45s
Range T: e – e' / Bar: d – c'# / B: B – c'#
Price code: B
Complexity: **

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This piece is part of the set Six sea shanties
The next piece is Time for us to leave her
If you don't want to buy the whole set, then you can buy All for me grog individually using the link on this page.
All for me grog – also known as Across the Western Ocean – is a recreational shanty, sung in the forecastle (pronounced “foksle”), the forward part of the ship’s upper deck, where sailors lived, ate, slept and relaxed after their shifts of work. It's a delightfully rambling grumble about worn boots, torn clothes, lack of sleep, lack of money and other privations of life on board ship. Many other verses exist, some of them not fit to print!

Strong alcohol, such as rum, made stale water more palatable and life and labour more bearable. Rum found its way on board sailing ships after the British conquest of Jamaica in the seventeenth century and by 1731 it was actually a Navy regulation to give sailors a daily ration. To reduce problems of drunkenness, it was mixed with water, to make grog. The recipe varied, but a common ration was two pints of water mixed with half a pint of rum – still a pretty strong drink.


All for me grog, me jolly jolly grog,
All for me beer and tobacco,
For I spent all me tin with the lassies drinking gin,
And across the western ocean I must wander.

Where is me boots, me noggin', noggin' boots?
All gone for beer and tobacco,
For the leather’s all worn out and the heels are knocked about,
And the toes are looking out for better weather.

Where is me shirt, me noggin', noggin' shirt?
All gone for beer and tobacco,
For the collar is all worn, and the sleeves they are all torn,
And the tail is looking out for better weather.

I'm sick in the head, I haven't been to bed
Since first I came ashore with me plunder,
I see centipedes and snakes and I’m full of pains and aches,
And I think I’ll take a trip out over yonder.

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