“Roll the Woodpile Down”


Pumping or capstan shanty. Verse lines end with "way down in Florida" and "an' we'll roll the woodpile down." Full chorus: "Rollin' rollin' rollin' the whole world round. That brown gal o' mine's down the Georgia Line, an' we'll roll the woodpile down."


Hugill states that this is the sea version of "Haul the Woodpile down." [Indexed as "Hold the Woodpile Down," which is a more Dave Macon-ish version of the title. - RBW] Probably originated in the West Indies of American south, and was popular at sea right up to the end, one of Hugill's sources remembers it sung on board as late as 1920. Technically this could have been entered under "Hold the Woodpile Down"; however that entry kept making references to "Roll the Woodpile Down" and there was no entry for that cross-reference so I decided to add one, especially since this is likely the original that Uncle Dave Macon's version came from. - SL

Since this song seems to predate "Roll the Woodpile Down," and is also more coherent, it seems reasonable to consider this the original. - RBW


  1. Hugill, pp. 160-161, "Roll the Woodpile Down" (1 text, 1 tune) [AbEd, p. 128]
  3. Roud #4443
  4. BI, Hugi160


Alternate titles: “Haul the Woodpile Down”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1961 (Hugill)
Keywords: shanty worksong
Found in: West Indies US