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The Liverpool Bookshelf

The following are the lyrics to the songs found on side two of the record album Swallow the Anchor by The Liverpool Fishermen. You will sometimes find notes below the lyrics explaining terms and locations mentioned in the songs. To see the lyrics for the songs found on side one, please follow this link.



In My Liverpool Home
written by Peter McGovern

I was born in Liverpool, down by the Docks.
Me religion was Catholic, occupation hard knocks.
At stealing from lorries, I was adept.
And under old overcoats, each night we slept...

In my Liverpool home, in my Liverpool home...
We speak with an accent exceedingly rare,
meet under a statue exceedingly bare,
if you want a cathedral, we've got two to spare!
In my Liverpool home.

Oh when I was young, I met Bridget McCann.
She said, "You're not much, but I'm needing a man.
I want 16 kids and a house out in Speke!"
The flesh it was willing, but the spirit was weak.

In my Liverpool home, in my Liverpool home...
We speak with an accent exceedingly rare,
meet under a statue exceedingly bare,
if you want a cathedral, we've got two to spare!
In my Liverpool home.

Way back in the Forties, the world it went mad!
The Germans they threw at us all that they had.
When the smoke and the dust had all cleared from the air,
'Thank God', said me ould man, 'the Pier Head's still there!'

In my Liverpool home, in my Liverpool home...
We speak with an accent exceedingly rare,
meet under a statue exceedingly bare,
if you want a cathedral, we've got two to spare!
In my Liverpool home.

Well the orange and green have been fighting for years.
They've given us some laughs, and they've given us some tears.
But the wackers don't want any heavenly rewards.
All they want is a green card to get into Ford's!

In my Liverpool home, in my Liverpool home...
We speak with an accent exceedingly rare,
meet under a statue exceedingly bare,
if you want a cathedral, we've got two to spare!
In my Liverpool home!

Notes -

  • statue exceedingly bare -- the statue above the main entrance of Lewis' department store, a favorite Liverpool meeting place.
  • cathedral, we've got two to spare -- Liverpool has two cathedrals, one at either end of Hope Street. The Catholic Cathedral (affectionately known as "Paddy's Wigwam") and the Anglican Cathedral (which left the last stone out because there's a legend that if it's ever finished, a great disaster will strike).
  • Speke -- a district of Liverpool.
  • Pier Head -- the historic location of Liverpool's landing stages and the "Three Graces", the Royal Liver Building, the Cunard Building, and the Port of Liverpool Building. (Also the home of Prince's Landing Stage until 1972.)
  • Orange and Green -- Protestants (Oranges) and Catholics (Greens).


The Marmalade Tom
written by Brian Jacques

The absolute king of our jigger is a cat.
Believe you me, his feats in battle are equalled only by his sexual capacity.
Ruler of upper and lower jowlers and lord of the toilet wall,
is the Marmalade Tom, who has only one eye, and his father came from Bengal.

Terror of pigeon loft owners and slayer of Alsatian dogs,
and many a stricken rival Tom breathed his last on the roof of our bogs.
On top of the old air raid shelter, countless young female felines
have succumbed to the charms of the Marmalade Tom or got laid amid protest and whines.

There's lots of old maids with a Siamese puss, of faultless pedigree--
all fed on a diet of chicken livers, fresh salmon and milky tea--
have gone all wobbly at the knees, as if by a stroke been smitten!
When her darling pet gave birth on the couch, to a litter of marmalade kitten.

A rag-tatter, with his hand-cart, one day up our entry drags,
blissfully unaware of the danger, the poor fool starts shouting "Rags!"
The Marmalade Tom from his siesta, in a bin in the middle yard,
hears the challenge to his authority, from the erstwhile tatty bard.

So giving full throat to his war cry, he clears the back door at a bound,
and leaves the tatter for dead 'neath the hand-cart, stretched in his blood on the ground,
muttering incoherently, his sanity nearly gone,
"I've been savaged by a pride of lions!" Twas much worse, twas the Marmalade Tom.

A riot squad of policemen, up the jigger snaked to arrest him.
The sergeant required major surgery and two police dogs cashed their chips in.
Four constables, with lacerations, stuffed Marmalade Tom in a cage,
and carted him off to the local vet, amid howls of terrible rage.

We never saw Tom for a couple of weeks, the jigger was free of all fuss.
Till I saw an old dear with a saucer of milk calling, "Here, Tom! Milkies, puss! Milkies, Tom!"

No! It couldn't be! But it was. It was Tom, the killer!

He, with a bell round his neck and a fruity meow,
purring and scraping round the silly old lady.
You've never seen anything so bloody wet!
I wonder what they did to him at the vet!



The Bingo
written by Brian Jacques

Now there's the big fat missus,
her mother an' her sisters,
goin' to the local cinema.
They don't wanna see Bet' Grable,
Boyer or Clark Gable,
or any other glossy film star.
They're goin' to the bingo, bingo, bingo
if yer wanna win go wid yer ma... tara!

They speak a different lingo,
so eyes down an' look in'o,
the first one who will win now, any line.
Lucky number seven, line twenty, legs eleven,
doctors orders, number nine we're doin' fine,
by goin' to the bingo, bingo, bingo
if yer wanna win go wid yer ma... tara!

Now, there's ould Cissy Murphy,
she's tryin' to look carefree,
sweatin' on one number then she's goin' to shout:
" 'ey ma, pay attenshun, it's better than yer penshun,
worr I fergot to menshun, I'm all filled out."
We're goin' to the bingo, bingo, bingo
if yer wanna win go wid yer ma... tara!

Hear the howls of ragin' pain,
da' ould cow's gone an' won again!
Their bloody family's all the same, the so an' so's!
'Er 'usband's earnin' thirty pound',
an' she works in a caff in town,
they've even got the baby a paper round.
By goin' to the bingo, bingo, bingo
if yer wanna win go wid yer ma... tara!



Dan O'Hara

Sure it's poor I am today, for God gave and took away
and left without a home poor Dan O'Hara.
With these matches in me hand, in the frost and snow I stand,
so it's here I am today your broken hearted.

A Chusla Geal Mo Chroi
Won't you buy a box from me?
You'll have the prayers of Dan from Connemara.
So I'll sell them cheap and low, buy a box before you go
from the broken hearted farmer Dan O'Hara.

Well, in the year of sixty-four, I had acres by the score
and the grandest land you ever ran a plough through.
But the landlord came, you know, and he laid our old home low.
So it's here I am today your broken hearted.

A Chusla Geal Mo Chroi
Won't you buy a box from me?
You'll have the prayers of Dan from Connemara.
So I'll sell them cheap and low, buy a box before you go
from the broken hearted farmer Dan O'Hara.

For twenty years or more did misfortune cross the door,
me poor old wife and I were sadly parted.
We were scattered far and wide, and the children starved and died.
So it's here I am today your broken-hearted.

A Chusla Geal Mo Chroi
Won't you buy a box from me?
You'll have the prayers of Dan from Connemara.
So I'll sell them cheap and low, buy a box before you go
from the broken hearted farmer Dan O'Hara.

Tho' in the frost and snow I stand, sure the shadow of God's hand
lies warm about the brow of Dan O'Hara.
And soon with God above, I will meet the ones I love
and I'll find the joys I lost in Connemara.

A Chusla Geal Mo Chroi
Won't you buy a box from me?
You'll have the prayers of Dan from Connemara.
So I'll sell them cheap and low, buy a box before you go
from the broken hearted farmer Dan O'Hara.

Notes -

  • A Chusla Geal Mo Chroi -- "Dear brightness of my heart."


Red Haired Mary
written by Sean McCarthy

While going to the fair in Dingle
One fine morning last July
There going down the road before me,
a red haired girl I chanced to spy.

I went up to her, said I, "Young lady,
My donkey, he will carry two."
"Well, seein' as how you have a donkey,
to the Dingle fair I'll go with you."

And when we reached the town of Dingle,
I took her hand for to say good-bye,
When a tinkerman stepped up beside me,
And he belted me in my left eye!

"Keep your hands off red-haired Mary,
her and I are to be wed.
We're seein' the priest this very morning,
tonight we'll lie in the marriage bed!"

Now I was feeling kind of peevish,
me poor old eye was red and raw,
so I gently tapped him with me hobnails,
And he flew back through Murphy's door!

"Keep your hands off red-haired Mary,
her and I are to be wed.
We're seein' the priest this very morning,
tonight we'll lie in the marriage bed!"

Then around a corner came a policeman,
said he "Young man you have broke the law."
When the donkey kicked him in the kneecap,
and he fell down and broke his jaw!

"Keep your hands off red-haired Mary,
her and I are to be wed.
We're seein' the priest this very morning,
tonight we'll lie in the marriage bed!"

Then he went off to fetch his brother--
God, the biggest man you ever did meet.
And he gently tapped him with his knuckles,
and I was minus two front teeth.

"Keep your hands off red-haired Mary,
her and I are to be wed.
We're seein' the priest this very morning,
tonight we'll lie in the marriage bed!"

But the red haired girl, she kept on smiling.
"I'll go with you, young man" she said.
"We'll forget the priest and forget the weddin',
and tonight we'll lie in Murphy's shed!"

"Keep your hands off red-haired Mary,
her and I are to be wed.
We're seein' the priest this very morning,
tonight we'll lie in the marriage bed!"

Now through the Fair we rode together,
my black eye and her red hair.
Smilin' gaily at all the tinkers,
and by God we were a handsome pair.

"Keep your hands off red-haired Mary,
her and I are to be wed.
We're seein' the priest this very morning,
tonight we'll lie in the marriage bed!"

"Keep your hands off red-haired Mary,
her and I are to be wed.
We're seein' the priest this very morning,
and tonight we'll lie in Mary's shed!"

Notes -

  • Dingle -- a town in County Kerry in the Republic of Ireland.


Leaving Liverpool

Fare thee well you Prince's Landing Stage.
River Mersey, fare thee well,
for I'm bound for Californ-eye-aye,
it's a place I know right well.

So fare thee well, my own true love
and when I return united we will be. (UP THE VALLEY!)
It's not the leaving of Liverpool that grieves me,
but my darling when I think of thee.

I have signed a Yankee Clipper ship,
Davy Crockett is her name.
Ian Burgess is the Captain of her
and they say she is a floating shame.

So fare thee well, my own true love
and when I return united we will be. (UP THE VALLEY!)
It's not the leaving of Liverpool that grieves me,
but my darling when I think of thee.

I have sailed with Burgess once before
and I think I know him well.
If a man's a sailor, he will get along.
Ah, but if he's not, he's sure in Hell!

So fare thee well, my own true love
and when I return united we will be. (UP THE VALLEY!)
It's not the leaving of Liverpool that grieves me,
but my darling when I think of thee.

Fare thee well to lower Frederick Street,
Ensign Terrace and Park Lane,
for I'm bound for Californ-eye-aye
and I'll not see you again.

So fare thee well, my own true love,
when I return united we will be. (UP THE VALLEY!)
It's not the leaving of Liverpool that grieves me,
but my darling when I think of thee.

So fare thee well, my own true love
and when I return united we will be.
It's not the leaving of Liverpool that grieves me,
but my darling when I think of thee!

Notes -

  • UP THE VALLEY! -- In the words of Brian Jacques, "In the middle of the chorus, where you go 'So fare thee well, my own true love, and when I return united we will be' you all shout-- we always shout 'Up the valley'. It has something to do with a religious procession in Liverpool. But you can shout, y'know, up the barmaid, up the sister-in-law, whatever takes you there, y'know."





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