Jack Was Every Inch a Sailor

Newfoundland and Labrador Maritime-themed Folk Song


‘Twas twenty-five or thirty years since Jack first saw the light,
He came into this world of woe one dark and stormy night;
He was born on board his father’s ship as she was lying to,
‘Bout twenty-five of thirty miles southeast of Baccalieu.

Oh, Jack was every inch a sailor,
Five and twenty years a whaler;
Jack was every inch a sailor,
He was born upon the bright blue sea.

When Jack grew up to be a man he went to the Labrador,
He fished in Indian Harbour where his father fished before;
On his returning in the fog he met a heavy gale,
And Jack was swept into the sea and swallowed by a whale. (Chorus)

Oh, the whale went straight for Baffin Bay, ’bout ninety knots an hour,
And every time he’d blow a spray he’d send it in a shower;
Oh, now, says Jack unto himself, I must see what he’s about,
He caught the whale all by the tail and turned him inside out. (Chorus)

Song Notes

According to a Wikipedia note: “It may have been adapted from a New York music-hall song “Every Inch a Sailor”, which itself was a burlesque of ‘HMS Pinafore.'”

This is an enormously popular song recorded by many artists across several musical genres.  It was one of the songs featured on the CD that accompanied the book, “A Pirate’s Life for Me!: A Day Aboard a Pirate Ship,” by Brownie MacIntosh and Julie Thompson.