Rollin’ Down the River

By Jack Forbes

I head Jack sing this at the Hoy at Anchor folk club in Leigh on Sea, Essex. It reflects the workings of modern container shipping in the Thames estuary. OCL is the ‘Overseas Container Line’ and a TEU is a ‘Twenty foot Equivalent Unit’ – a container. Thanks, Jack, for a great song!

  1. I once was a rigger and I worked like Hell
    Rollin’ up, rollin’ down
    But now I’m a sailor with the OCL
    Rollin’ down the river.Chorus
    Rollin’ up, rollin’ down
    We’ll all get drunk in Tilbury town
    In twenty-four hours we’ll turn around and go
    Rollin’ down the river.
  2. The cargo comes in TEUs
    That’s a twenty-foot box, boys, full of booze.
  3. When first I saw a TEU
    I wondered where they put the crew.
  4. There’s a Tilbury girl called Kettle Jane
    First she’s on the boil then she’s off again.
  5. She’s got a friend called Teapot Ann
    When she’s well brewed she’ll take a man to go . . .
  6. The Tilbury girls go round in pairs
    You’ll never catch them unawares.
  7. But at the dockyard gate when the work is done
    You can pick ’em up, boys, one by one and go . . .
Lyrics from the recording: