Traditional: Arr. Menhaden Chanteymen of Beaufort
In the Menhaden fisheries of the east coast of America, songs like this were used for hardening up the twine after the fish had been pursed. They were lifting many tons of fish with their backs, so they needed the chanteys.
I shared a fishing-songs workshop in Norfolk with a group of these men (old and younger) and later Bob Zentz sent me a tape of the Menhaden Chanteymen of Beaufort, NC who sang this song. You can tell by the structure of the song that this crew had sung together many years. We made this recording in our early days together, when Bob Stuart was with the group.
Sung by the January Men (Bob Stuart, lead)
I'm going back to Weldon, Weldon, Weldon
Going back to Weldon to get a job in the Weldon Yard.*
O captain if you fire me
You've got to fire my buddy, too.
Captain's got a luger
And the mate's got an owl's head.**
I don't want no woman
Who's got hair like a horse's mane.
O my house is on fire
And it's almost burning down.
*Weldon Yard: the railroad yards in Weldon, NC
**Owl's head what a double barreled pistol or derringer looks like when it's pointed at you.
Weldon is recorded on the album Gatherings