Sloop John B. – The Folk Roots of the Song Popularized by the Beach Boys…

The current political news is so uninspiring, that I thought I’d do something different, less depressing, and hopefully, more interesting…

My current favorite guitar teacher, Fred Sokolow, does an excellent job of teaching the folk classic the Beach Boys popularized.  I had no idea it was a pretty old folk tune.  Here are the lyrics (no doubt, in the public domain longer than my father has been alive, and probably longer than his father’s life span).

‘We come on the Sloop John B., my grandfather and me.  Around Nassau town we did roam, Drinking all night, got into a fight.  I feel so broke (I going with the Beach Boy words here, instead of “break up”) up, I wanna go home.

Chorus:  ‘So hoist up the John B. sails, see how the main sail sets, Call for the captain ashore, let me go home.  Let me go home.  I want to go home.  I feel so broke-up, I wanna go home.

“The first mate he got drunk, broke up the people’s trunk.  Constable had to come and take him away.  Sheriff Johnstone, please let me alone.  I feel so broke-up, I wanna go home.

“The poor cook he got the fits, threw away all of my grits, Then he took and ate up all of my corn.  Let me go home, I wanna go home,  This is the worse trip I ever been on.”

WordPress formatting does not fit well with poetry-type writing, but hopefully, the gist is clear enough here.  Will follow with some YouTube treats.



Filed under History, Music

9 responses to “Sloop John B. – The Folk Roots of the Song Popularized by the Beach Boys…

  1. The “man” teaching Mississippi John Hurt’s My Creole Belle.

  2. Sloop John B. performed by the Kingston Trio:

  3. The term “break up” instead of “broke up” appears in the original. Not sure what that is supposed to mean. Anyone else know?

  4. Johnny Cash covers the Sloop John B..

  5. The Kingston Trio made mention of this artist – “the blind guy playing guitar” – being a proud gradiate of Southwestern College and attending many Bluegrass Festivals [started with the Second one], I can tell ya this, Doc Watson is/was one of the greatest guitarists of all time…

    Take note:

  6. 1979, the last year I heard Doc Watson live. He had beautiful Burl Ives-type voice, as well as great guitar playing…

  7. Bad Biker

    Worth a note: The Sloop John B was the first song that the Beach Boys rehearsed as a band, long before record contracts and groupies. They perfected their harmonies in Brian’s bedroom on this song. The rest is history.

  8. Thanks for that informative post, Biker. I was starting to feel pretty lonely here…