"When The Boat Comes In" as written by Rupert Christie, John Brown, Traditional,, Peter Rowan, Jonathan Clegg, Louise Brown, Julian Brown, Jeremy Brown, Trevor Grills, John Lethbridge, Billy Hawkins, Nigel Sherratt, John Mcdonnell ...
Dance to your Daddy my little laddie
Dance to your Daddy my little man
Dance to your Daddy sing to your mommy
Dance to your Daddy my little man

You shall have a fishy on a little dishy
You shall have a fishy when the boat comes in
You shall have a herring on a little dishy
You shall have a herring when the boat comes in

Come here me little Jacky
Now aw've smoked mi backy
Have a bit o' cracky
Till the boat comes in

Dance to your Daddy sing to your mammy
Dance to your Daddy my little man
You shall have a fishy on a little dishy
You shall have a fishy when the boat comes in
You shall have a mackerel on a little dishy
You shall have a mackerel when the boat comes in

Dance to your Daddy my little laddie
Dance to your Daddy my little man
Dance to your Daddy sing to your mommy
Dance to your Daddy my little man

You shall have a fishy on a little dishy
You shall have a fishy when the boat comes in
You shall have a herring on a little dishy
You shall have a herring when the boat comes in



Lyrics submitted by MaenChild

When The Boat Comes In song meanings
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  • +1
    My InterpretationThis song is about poverty and deprivation in North East of England and a grandfather reassuring his grandson, Jacky to be happy and optimistic. It's also a bit a drinking song.

    Chorus:
    "Dance ti' thy daddy, sing ti' thy mammy,
    Dance ti' thy daddy, ti' thy mammy sing;
    Thou shall hev a fishy on a little dishy,
    Thou shall hev a fishy when the boat comes in."

    The grandfather is distracting his grandson from their plight by encouraging him to dance and sing, as in time he won't go hungry. The 'boat coming in' meaning in the future.

    First verse:
    "Come here, maw little Jacky
    Now aw've smoked me baccy
    Let's hev a bit o'cracky
    Till the boat comes in."

    The grandfather is saying that he will always be there for his grandson throughout the hard times to the good and he's there to talk to.

    Second verse:
    "Here's thy mother humming,
    Like a canny woman;
    Yonder comes thy father,
    Drunk---he cannot stand.

    The grandfather is praising his cheerful charming daughter and reflecting on his step-son's escapism through alcoholism.

    Third verse:
    "Our Tommy's always fuddling,
    He's so fond of ale,
    But he's kind to me,
    I hope he'll never fail.

    This is justification for Tommy (perhaps Jacky's uncle) and his alcoholic incoherence (fuddling) by saying this is their life and even nice people can be peculiar, yet will always stand by you.

    Fourth verse:
    "I like a drop mysel',
    When I can get it sly,
    And thou, my bonny bairn,
    Will lik't as well as I.

    The grandfather is saying that he cannot criticise, as despite his own poverty he will also take a drink and this is possibly Jacky's fate as well.

    Fifth verse:
    "May we get a drop,
    Oft as we stand in need;
    And weel may the keel row
    That brings the bairns their bread.

    This is allegorical of the better times to come when a drink will be available as required and no one will go hungry. The better times are the boat (keel) being rowed in with food for the children (bairns).
    PookUseron March 14, 2016   Link

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