The Good Ship Calibar With the arrangement credited to Cyril Tawney, this version is as sung by 'The Clancy Brothers with Tommy Makem'. It was released on the 1968 lp record ‘Sing of the Sea’. This version of ‘the Calabar’ is about a horse drawn boat taking coal along the Lagan Canal from Belfast to Portadown. The "Albert" refers to the Albert clock in Belfast. Come all ye dry-land sail-y-ors and listen to my song, For it's only forty verses and it won't detain you long. It's all about the advent-y-ures of this here Lisburn tar Who sailed as a man before the mast on the good ship Calabar. Now the Calabar was a spanking craft, copper-fastened fore and aft, Her helm it stuck out far behind, and her wheel had a great big shaft, With half a gale to swell each sail, she'd make one knot per hour, She's the fastest craft on the Lagan canal, and she's only one horse-power. Now the skipper he was a strapping lad, he stood just four feet two, His eyes were black, his nose was red, and his cheeks were a Prussian blue, He wore a leather medal that he'd won at the Crimea war, And the captain's wife was passenger cook on the good ship Calabar. Now the skipper he says to me, "Me lad, look here me lad," says he "Would yous like to be a sail-y-or to sail the raging sea? Would yous like to be a sail-y-or the foreign seas to roll For we're under orders for Portadown with half a ton of coal." The next morning we set sail, the weather being sublime, And passing under the old Queen's bridge we heard the "Albert" chime. 'Tis then we came to the Gasworks Straight, a very dangerous part, And ran head on to a lump of coal that wasn't marked on the chart. Then all became confusion while the stormy winds did blow, Our bo'sun slipped on an orange peel and fell into the hold below, "Put on more steam," the captain said, "for we are sorely pressed," But the engineer replied from the bank, "The horse is doing his best." And we all fell into the water and then let out a roar There was a farmer standing there and he threw us the end of his galluses and he pulled it all ashore. No more I'll be a sail-y-or to sail the raging main, And the next time I go to Portadown, I'm bloody sure I'll go by train.
Emma Vickers
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