Thursday, 28 October 2010

Just A Dirty Old Tramp

I was recently up in the English Lake District, when I came across the above sheet music in a book sale in the John Ruskin Museum in Coniston.

I was taken by the picture of the "tramp steamer" above being similar to the Pyrrhus which Lowry sailed on to the Far East in 1927. Lowry always referred to the Pyrrhus as a tramp steamer when actual fact she was a fairly new well kept vessel owned by a responsible shipping company who prided itself on their crews and ships - the Blue Funnel Line.

I have tried to track down the song but to no avail. Instead here are the lyrics:

Down by the river I wandered one day,
Watching the steamers go by,
I saw an old sailor and I heard him say,
With a twinkle in his eye,

Just a dirty old tramp,
Sailing o'er the blue,
Bringing home the bacon,
For me and for you,
Just a dirty old tramp,
Sailing o'er the foam.

Watch her rock and roll in',
As she's head in' for home,
Plowing the mighty ocean,
Brave skipper and your crew,
You've won our deep devotion,
And our hearts go out to you.

Just a dirty old tramp,
Making for the shore,
Up the Thames she's sailing,
With her cargo once more.

Just a dirty old more.

The words sort of fit Lowry's voyage - he did return to London instead of Birkenhead where the voyage originated.

The song was written by Box, Cox, Noel and Pelosi and published in 1940 by Lasalle Ltd, 47 Compton Street, London.

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