The Old Red Duster

John Archbold

Now it’s many’s the day since I first sailed away

With my new cap and jacket so clean

No bacon and eggs ’til I got my sea legs

‘Twas my first trip, O Lord I was green.

Oh that Old Red Duster on a tramp or a liner

There’ll be no ‘Pusser Navy’ for me

You can keep your salutes and your spit polished boots,

It’s the Old Red Duster for me.

Now in many’s the ship I’ve made many’s the trip

‘Cross oceans and seas calm and wild

And in ports near and far I’ve been flung from the bar

And it’s many’s the young girl beguiled.

I was pulled from the pool, I was nobody’s fool

‘Twas the jaunt to Murmansk for me.

But The Union said, No, as a fourth he can’t go’

It’s The Union forever for me.


Now you know this old tramp’s got a foc’sle that’s damp

Her plates are half sprung and they leak

The food’s always bad and the skipper’s gone mad

And those bastards the owners are cheap.

Well I’ve sweated and slaved at that engine I’ve raved

Nursing this cripple along

Her glands they’re a-weeping and her pumps they’re a creakin’

And at six knots she’s racing along.


I’ve been down in the hole in the dust and the coal

All day and all night as well.

And when my end’s near I’ll go without fear

For I know it’s been hotter than Hell!

So now you all know why the true sailors go

Merchant seamen to be

And if you want any more like what’s come before

You can bloody well sing it to me.

Chorus x2