Hoist the Jolly Roger

Let me put it this way: Pirates were really nasty. So why do we make romantic heroes of them? Why do places like Dan Diego's Star of India host kiddie Pirate Parties? How can Disney cash in on pirates?

Skull and crossbones in red pirate scarf with bullet holeWhen the 2016 US presidential race got well under weigh, and it became clear that one Donald J. Trump was rising to the top, it occurred to me that among all the "new old" sea songs I'd written to date, I had yet to write a pirate song. I felt it was high time.

So I did my homework!

In approaching it, I went to Project Gutenberg and read through a number of histories and true-life accounts of famous and lesser-known old-time pirates that people have since romanticized. But according to history, these people were NOT nice people at all! They were monster egos driven by greed, with total disregard for anyone but themselves and perhaps a few "friends", insofar as those served their interests.

In short, I understood that nothing has fundamentally changed, except that the top pirates today are found in corporate offices, investment banks, and the halls of government rather than sailing ships. No, pirates were... and are... not nice at all.

It didn't pay off

So I didn't want my pirate song to romanticize pirates. I wanted to it convey a stark sense what truly heartless, evil scum they were. And you know what? I think... I fear... that in spite of everything... I ended up writing one more damned song that romanticizes pirates!!! What IS it about those guys that they always come out smelling like a rose? Pirates and politicians!

Well, arrrr! to ye, then, shipmates. And may ye never find yerself in the clutches o' pirates... democratically elected er otherwise!

Streaming Audio

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Original Song Lyrics

We flies the Jolly Roger
As we sails across the seas
From frigid North Atlantic
To the sultry Caribbees
We pillages and scuttles
Every ship we sees!

REFRAIN:
We're mariners bold
We won't live to be old
We'll die swingin' high
On the bleedin' scaffold
Or drown in the ocean
Deep and cold
Yo ho! Yo ho!
Hoist the Jolly Roger!

Ye might think it romantic
How we drink and whore and gloat
But you will panic frantically
When away your gold we tote
And you feel our glitterin' steel
A slicing thru yer throat!

Ye read of our adventures
While yer safe upon the shore
If we meet at sea, shark bait ye'll be
And ye won't come back no more
Avast and - gasp yer last
In a swirl o' salty gore!

We gets satisfaction
From inflicting misery
As we take from decent folk
Their life and property
Bad luck to 'em, the bilge rats
Bad luck to 'em, says we

With many a comely maiden
We had our wicked way
Then we had her walk the plank
And then we sailed away
We left her diddlin' Davy Jones
And we'd do it again today!


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