Nautical Life

Ed Adams from Ivar Haglund.

Ivar was a colorful figure from the Pacific Northwest who may have collected or written this song. Some of his songs may be found in An Ivar Book of Ballads from Puget Sound by Ivar Haglund and George Frederick McKay. [Note: New information (to me) on this song is appended in a note below]

  • Chorus:
    With a barnacle under the binnacle
    And a bottle of pop on the poop
    And the odor of salmon prevails in the cabin
    We sail on our sloppy old sloop.
  1. We’ve got loads of coffee in the galley
    By golly a big coffee urn
    Three times daily the dishes are cleaned by the fishes
    That swim from the stem to the stern.
  2. Our skipper is sturdy and stocky
    Encrusted with the salt of the sea
    He causes a rumpus by kicking the compass
    And yodeling Mother Machree.
  3. So it’s over the querulous currents
    We’ll go wherever we’re blown
    And in spite of the motion we’ll conquer the ocean
    In this sloppy little sloop of our own.

NOTE (added 19 July, 2012)

Jon Pfaff of Seattle sent the following additional information on the song via e-mail. Thanks, Jon!

The song was written by Ed Adams, an English teacher.  Here is a transcript of Ivar, Emmett Watson and Guy Williams talking about it on one of Ivar’s radio shows.

Ivar: Do you remember Ed Adams?  Who had a program called ‘Reading for Fun’?

Guy Williams: Ya

Emmett: Ya

Ivar: Ya.  Who was an English teacher.  God he . . .he . . . .he did interesting things about ah – I learned a song from him.  He said ‘I’ll write you a song.’  And he said it’s called ‘A Sloppy Old Sloop.’  And he would read his poetry and his other things about – review books.  In a very delightful way.  But I remember this thing . . . “With a barnacle under the binnacle (sp?), and a bottle of pop on the poop.  And the odor of crab-n pervading the cabin, we’ll sail on our sloppy old sloop.”

Emmett: Ya

Ivar: Charming

Emmett: Ya

Lyrics from the recording: