Congo River

Line
Melody -
Line

Topsail halyard shanty

Oh was you ever on the Congo River
Blow boys blow!
Black Fever makes the white man shiver
Blow me bullyboys blow!

2. A Yankee ship came down the river
Blow boys blow!
Her masts and yards they shone like silver
Blow me bullyboys blow!

3. What do think she had for cargo
Blow boys blow!
Why black sheep that had run the embargo
Blow me bullyboys blow!

4. And what do you think they had for dinner
Blow boys blow!
Why a monkeys heart and a donkeys liver
Blow me bullyboys blow!

5. Yonder comes the Arrow packet
Blow boys blow!
She fires her guns canít you hear the racket
Blow me bullyboys blow!

6. Who do you think was the skipper of her
Blow boys blow!
Why Bully Hayes the sailor of her
Blow me bullyboys blow!

7. Who do think was the first mate of her
Blow boys blow!
Why Shanghai Brown from Hells half-acre
Blow me bullyboys blow!

8. So blow me boys and blow forever
Blow boys blow!
Why blow me down the Congo River
Blow me bullyboys blow!


This shanty originated on the West Africa run, during the days of the slave trade. Later, with the Congo River stanzas dropped, it passed into use on the Atlantic packets. The skipper's name is variously as Bully Hayes, Bully Simms and One-Eyed Kelly. The stanza about the packet-ship firing its guns may date from the American Civil War or may refer to an anti-slavery patrol. - Courtesy of David Earl

Line
| Shanty Song Index | Home Page |
Line