Ranter's Wharf (John Conolly and Bill Meek)

On Ranter's Wharf the sun went sailing down,
Like an old square-rigger bound for sea once more;
And in the murmur of the evening tide,
I heard a small voice crying... crying on the shore.

I found her weeping by the waterside,
And the evening shadows like a cloak she wore;
"O, Betsy Walton is my name, kind sir,
I'm here to seek my Johnny... Johnny on the shore.

"My Johnny was a handsome sailor-lad,
And I lost him in the gale of 'ninety-four;
His vessel broken on the midnight sand,
And here they found him lying... lying on the shore.

"I watch the seasons come and go, kind sir,
And I'm waiting still, for what can I do more?
Sometimes I think my Johnny's calling me,
When I hear the seagulls crying... crying on the shore."

On Ranter's Wharf the tide was turning now,
When the moon came through, no silver girl I saw;
And was I dreaming, or a drunken man,
When I heard a seagull crying... crying on the shore?

####.... John Conolly and Bill Meek of Grimsby, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom ....####
Recorded by John Conolly and Bill Meek (The Singing River, 1985)

Liner Note: Ranter's Wharf is a dockside alley off Victoria Street in Grimsby, United Kingdom. It always seemed like a good title for a song, and eventually this one emerged; it is based on the traditional belief that the souls of drowned seamen are transmuted into seagulls.


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