Traditional Sea Shanties & Sea Songs
Roll, Alabama, Roll!

A Collection of lyrics for traditional Sea Shanties & Songs of the Sea.

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Roll, Alabama, Roll!

In eighteen-hundred and sixty-one,
Roll, Alabama, roll!
This ship's building was begun,
Oh, roll, Alabama, roll!


2. When the Alabama's keel was laid,
Roll, Alabama, roll!
It was laid in the yard of Jonathan Laird.
Oh, roll, Alabama, roll!


3. It was laid in the yard of Jonathan Laird;
Roll, Alabama, roll!
It was laid in the town of Birkenhead.
Oh, roll, Alabama, roll!


4. At first she was called "the Two-Ninety-Two,"
Roll, Alabama, roll!
For the merchants of the city of Liverpool
Oh, roll, Alabama, roll!

5. Put up the money to build the ship
Roll, Alabama, roll!
In hopes of driving commerce from the sea.
Oh, roll, Alabama, roll!

6. Down the Mersey ways she rolled then;
Roll, Alabama, roll!
Liverpool fitted her with guns and men.
Oh, roll, Alabama, roll!

7. Down the Mersey she rolled one day,
Roll, Alabama, roll!
And across the Western she plowed her way.
Oh, roll, Alabama, roll!

8. From the Western Isles she sailed forth,
Roll, Alabama, roll!
To destroy the commerce of the North.
Oh, roll, Alabama, roll!

9. To fight the North Semmes did employ
Roll, Alabama, roll!
Ev'ry method to kill and destroy.
Oh, roll, Alabama, roll!

10. The Alabama sailed for two whole years,
Roll, Alabama, roll!
Took sixty-five ships in her career.
Oh, roll, Alabama, roll!

11. With British guns, oh, she was stocked;
Roll, Alabama, roll!
She sailed from Fayal; in Cherbourg she docked.
Oh, roll, Alabama, roll!

12. To Cherbourg port she sailed one day
Roll, Alabama, roll!
To take her count of prize money.
Oh, roll, Alabama, roll!

13. But off Cherbourg the Kearsarge lay tight,
Roll, Alabama, roll!
With Cap'n Winslow spoilin' for a fight.
Oh, roll, Alabama, roll!

14. The Kearsarge with Winslow was waiting there,
Roll, Alabama, roll!
And Semmes challenged them to fight at sea.
Oh, roll, Alabama, roll!

15. Many a sailor lad foresaw his doom,
Roll, Alabama, roll!
When the Kearsarge, it hove in view.
Oh, roll, Alabama, roll!

16. 'Twas a ball from the forward pivot that day,
Roll, Alabama, roll!
Shot the Alabama's steerin' gear away.
Oh, roll, Alabama, roll!

17. 'Twas outside the three-mile limit they fought,
Roll, Alabama, roll!
And Semmes escaped on a fine British yacht.
Oh, roll, Alabama, roll!

18. On June nineteenth, eighteen sixty-four,
Roll, Alabama, roll!
They sent the Alabama to the cold ocean floor.
Oh, roll, Alabama, roll!

19. The Kearsarge won; the Alabama so brave
Roll, Alabama, roll!
Sank to the bottom, to a watery grave.
Oh, roll, Alabama, roll!
The Alabama was not in fact designated "#292" but rather "#290" while it was under construction.