“Haul Away, Joe”


Shanty, characterized by, "Away, haul away, haul away, Joe" (or "...haul away, pull"). Some versions tell a story: the sailor has trouble with his Irish girl and goes to sea, or suffers grief from a Yankee girl, or otherwise suffers at women's hands


The Silber text has a verse (also in Shay) "King Louis was the King of France Before the revolution... But then he got his head cut off Which spoiled his constitution."

I have to suspect this is some wag's addition, but it is worth noting that Louis XVI's France did not have a constitution. (If it had, Louis might have survived the revolution). Louis (1754-1793) became king in 1774, was reduced to figurehead status by the Revolution in 1789 and failed in an escape attempt in 1791 (even though still theoretical head of state!). In 1792, with a Prussian invasion in progress, the Republic was proclaimed (though never properly constituted), and Louis was put on trial. He was guillotined on January 20, 1793. - RBW

Bob Roberts also sang the "King Louis" verse. - PJS

Cross references


  • Almanac Singers, "Haul Away, Joe" (General 5015B, 1941; on Almanac02, Almanac03, AlmanacCD1)
  • Bob Roberts, "Haul Away Joe" (on LastDays)


  1. Doerflinger, pp. 4-5, "Haul Away, Joe" (2 texts, 1 tune)
  2. Colcord, pp. 41-42, "Haul Away, Joe" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Harlow, pp. 75-78, "Haul Away, Joe" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Hugill, pp. 358-361, "Haul Away, Joe" (1 text plus several fragments, 3 tunes) [AbEd, pp. 270-272]
  5. Sharp-EFC, XXVII, p. 32, "Haul Away, Joe" (1 text, 1 tune)
  6. Linscott, pp. 138-139, "Haul Away, Joe" (1 text, 1 tune)
  7. Shay-SeaSongs, p. 30, "Haul Away, Joe" (1 text plus some loose verses, 1 tune)
  8. Silber-FSWB, p. 87, "Haul Away Joe" (1 text)
  10. ADDITIONAL: Captain John Robinson, "Songs of the Chantey Man," a series published July-August 1917 in the periodical _The Bellman_ (Minneapolis, MN, 1906-1919). "Dance the Boatman Dance" is in Part 1, 7/14/1917. "Haul Away, Joe" is in Part 2, 7/21/1917.
  11. Roud #809
  12. BI, Doe004


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1917 (what appears to have been a fragment of the chorus appears in the diary of Mary Bray, probably in 1859; see A. A. Hoehling _Ships that Changed History_, p. 18)
Keywords: shanty sailor courting
Found in: US(MA,NE)