The Handsome Cabin Boy

Lyrics: Traditional
Music: Traditional

Played by Jerry Garcia with David Grisman. Garcia also occasionally played the tune as part of jams with the Grateful Dead

It's of a pretty female as you may understand
Her mind being bent for ramblin' all unto some foreign land
She dressed herself in sailor's clothes or so it does appear
And she hired with a captain to serve him for a year

The captain's wife, she being on board, she seemed in great joy
To think her husband had engaged such a handsome cabin boy
And now and then she'd slip him a kiss, and she would 'a liked to toy
It was the captain found out the secret of the handsome cabin boy

Her lips they were like roses, her hair allwas all in a curl
The sailors often smiled and said, "she looks just like a girl"
But eating of the captain's biscuit, her color did destroy
And the waist did swell of pretty Nell, the handsome cabin boy

It was in the Bay of Biscayne, our gallant ship did plough
One night among the sailors was a fearful flurry and row
They tumbled from their hammocks, for sleep it did destroy
They swore about the groaning of the handsome cabin boy

"Oh doctor, dear, oh doctor", the cabin boy did cry
"My time has come, I am undone, surely I must die"
The doctor cam a-runnin', and smilin' at the fun
To think a sailor lad should have a daughter or a son

The sailors, when they saw the joke, they all did stand and stare
The child belonged to none of them, they solemnly did swear
The captain's wife she says to him "My dear I wish you joy
For it's either you or me's betrayed the handsome cabin boy"

So each man took his tote of rum, and he drunk success to trade
And likewise to the cabin boy, who was neither man nor maid
"Here's hoping wars don't rise again, our sailors to destroy
And here's hoping for a jolly lot more like the handsome cabin boy"
Jerry Garcia Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
     16 Dec 1990 Shady Grove Garcia/Grisman
      199? Been All Around This World Garcia/Grisman (note 1)

Notes
(1) instrumental - no lyrics sung. Titled "Handsome Cabin Boy Waltz"


Futher Information
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography
For online chords and TAB see www.rukind.com
For sheet music, see:
          Shady Grove (guitar TAB)
          Jerry Garcia Songbook (vocal line and chords)

 


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