“ALABAMA”  (“ROLL, ALABAMA ROLL”)
                                                A Traditional Sea Shanty
                Joanna Colcord. Roll and Go, Songs of American Sailormen.
                                   (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1924), p. 20.
                  Colcord said that all she could recall was a fragment sung by her father.

    When the Alabama’s keel was laid,             Away down the Mersey she rolled one day,
    Roll, Alabama, Roll!                                      Roll, Alabama, Roll!

    They laid her keel at Birkenhead,                 And across the “Western” she ploughed her way.
    Oh, roll, Alabama, roll!                                
Oh, roll, Alabama, roll!

                                                       Oh, she was built in Birkenhead,
                                                       Roll, Alabama, Roll!
                                                       Built in the yard of Jonathan Laird,
                                                       Oh, roll, Alabama, roll!

                                                         More complete lyrics

When the Alabama’s keel was laid,                              To Cherbourg port she sailed one day,
   Roll, Alabama, roll.                                                           Roll, Alabama, roll.
It was laid in the yard of Jonathan Laird,                    To take her count of prize money,
   Oh, roll, Alabama, roll.                                                    Oh, roll, Alabama, roll.

It was laid in the yard of Jonathan Laird,                     Many a sailor he saw his doom,
   Roll, Alabama, roll.                                                           Roll, Alabama, roll.
It was laid in the town of Birkenhead,                          When the Kearsage hove in view,
   Oh, roll, Alabama, roll.                                                     Oh, roll, Alabama, roll.

Down the Mersey ways she rolled then,                     A ball from the forward pivot that day,
   Roll, Alabama, roll.                                                           Roll, Alabama, roll.
Liverpool fitted her with guns and men,                      Shot the Alabama’s stern away,
   Oh, roll, Alabama, roll.                                                     Oh, roll, Alabama, roll.

From the Western Isles she sailed forth,                     Off the three mile limit in ’64,
   Roll, Alabama, roll.                                                           Roll, Alabama, roll.
To destroy the commerce of the North,                       The Alabama sank to the ocean floor,
   Oh, roll, Alabama, roll.                                                     Oh, roll, Alabama, roll.!

                                                                       RETURN
 
Created and maintained by Lisle Brown, Curator Special Collections
2007, Special Collections, Marshall University
speccoll@marshall.edu