Skipper Girls/Doodle Let Me Go

Words: Vick de Rijke and the Norfolk Broads
Music: Traditional arr. Will Rivers/the London Sea Shanty Collective

Doodle Let Me Go is a classic shanty and widely sung – but it’s racist, it’s sexist, and it’s yet another song in which the only role for women is sex workers. So we rewrote it.

First I told me ma and pa I couldn’t stay at home
Hoorah! me skipper gals, doodle let me go
They locked me in me room and then they left me there alone

Hoorah! me skipper gals, doodle let me go
I broke out of the choke, me boys, and got down to the coast

Hoorah! me skipper gals, doodle let me go
I cut me gorgeous locks off short, wore britches and a coat

Hoorah! me skipper gals, doodle let me go

Doodle let me go me gals, doodle let me go,
Hoorah! me skipper gals, doodle let me go

I jumped aboard a sailing ship, bound for Cally-O
I hauled until me fingers bled, as good as any Joe
I done me duty like a man, did reef and steer and sew
Worked me butt off like the rest; the cap’n didn’t know

And when we landed on the docks, ashore the men did go
I followed them to Sailortown and searched both high and low
I drew a crew of lasses bold, and them on board did stow
We hauled aboard the anchor and a-sailing we did go

And now we sail the seven seas with not a man to show
What matters is the job in hand, not what we’ve got below