Dogger Bank

A maritime-themed song of storied origin


Sailing over the Dogger Bank
Now wasn’t it a treat?
The wind was blowing east-nor’east,
We had to give her sheet.
You shoulda see us rally,
The wind a-blowing free,
On the passage from the Dogger Bank
To Great Grimsby.

Chorus (after each verse):
So watch her, twig her,
She’s a proper ju-ber-ju.
Give her the sheet – let her rip,
We’re the boys to pull her through.
You shoulda see us rally,
The wind a-blowing free,
On the passage from the Dogger Bank
To Great Grimsby.

Our captain she’s a shangaroosh
She loves a drop of good ale,
The second mate’s a Ribston Pippin,
He’s been seen in many a jail.
The third mate he’s a bushranger,
The worst in all the crew,
A Liverpool Irish packet rat,
And the son of a buckaroo. (Chorus)

So watch her, twig her,
The powerful way she goes:
With high heels and painted toes,
She is on the show.
She is one of them flash girls,
Ain’t she cut to shine?
She can do the double shuffle
On the Knickerbocker line. (Chorus)

Now, we’re the boys to make a noise,
When we come home from sea,
We get right drunk and full of beer,
And cause a jubilee!
We roam the town from pub to pub,
We stagger from door to door,
And when our money is all spent,
We’ll go to sea once more. (Chorus)


image of album cover for Bounding Main Lost at Sea - click for more info about the album

Song Notes

Norfolk singer Sam Larner recorded this song on his Folkways album, “Now is the Time for Fishing”. His liner notes are very illuminating:

“This is possibly an English parody of the American song Cruise of the Bigler, and probably is of music hall origin. The reference to the Knickerbocker Line in the last chorus is almost certainly an echo from the very popular music-hall song which greeted the inauguration of the Boston street-car service known as The Knickerbocker Line. Mr Larner learned his version of the song in 1890 from a trawler fisherman in Great Yarmouth.”

The website, Mainly Norfolk:  English Folk and Other Good Music has many important things to say about the origins of this song.

Shangaroosh is possibly an English-ism of Shangaa Arusha. Shangaa is a Swahili word meaning excellent and Arusha is a city in Tanzania.

Ribston Pippin originated in Yorkshire, England, around 1700 as a dessert apple, and was grown from three apple pips (seeds) sent from Normandy to Sir Henry Goodricke of Ribston Hall at Knaresborough, in Yorkshire, in 1709. Only one seed germinated and matured. The original tree was blown down in 1810, but was propped up and lived until 1928. This is a highly esteemed Victorian dessert apple.” Trees of Antiquity Website.

“The Liverpool Irish is a unit of the British Army’s Territorial Army, raised in 1860 as a volunteer corps of infantry.” Wikipedia.

Packet Rat: “A sailor, specifically one who specialized in crossing the Atlantic.” Oxford Dictionary.

“The majority of early bushrangers were convicts who had escaped prison, or from the properties of landowners to whom they had been assigned as servants. These bushrangers, also known as “bolters”, preferred the hazards of wild, unexplored bushland surrounding Sydney to the deprivation and brutality of convict life.” has a thorough article about bushrangers.

“A buckaroo is a cowboy of the Great Basin and California region of the United States, from an Anglicization of the Spanish word vaquero.” Wikipedia.

Twig – to observe, to understand.

The Double Shuffle was a dance, circa 1883, documented by Phil B. Perry. It was transcribed shortly after the American Civil War and it’s writing reflected the unkind stereotyping of freed slaves typical of that period. John Hopkins University.