Leave Her, Johnny

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“Leave Her, Johnny” is a sea chantey.

Alternate names

  • Leave Her, Bullies, Leave Her
  • Leave Her, Johnny, Leave Her
  • Time for Us to Leave Her

External links

Liner Notes

Leave Her, Johnny” is track 16 on Shower Chanteys, recorded 28 August 2018 at Mill Pond Music Studio.[1]

According to Hugill, this was often the last chantey sung on a voyage.[2] If the last task was to pump out the ship, it would be used for that; sometimes, the last task was to warp the ship in to dock, that is, to move the ship via lines attached to the dock and the ship’s capstan, and this song could be used for that as well. (It might also be used for halyards during a trip.) Colcord only gives it as a pumping chantey.[3] In any case (at the end of a trip), it was a chance to vent a bit—while other chanteys might make mock of the officers, this one could sometimes let them have it.

I first heard this song at the San Francisco chantey sing, where it closes every sing. I like to use it to close chantey sings that I host and presentations I give, as well, and it seemed appropriate for closing this album; I knew from the start it would be the last track, and it was the last I recorded.[4] The words are, as usual, my favorites from many sources; from the San Francisco sing, from Tom & Chris Kastle’s inland version, from Stan Hugill, from Johnny Collins, and others I am doubtless forgetting.

And now, it’s time for us to leave her.


  1. “Leave Her, Johnny,” recording by Chris Maden. MusicBrainz.
  2. Stan Hugill. Shanties from the Seven Seas, pp. 215–221. New U.S. Edition. Mystic, Conn.: Mystic Seaport, 1994.
  3. Joanna C. Colcord. Songs of American Sailormen, pp. 119–121. Enlarged and Revised Edition. New York: Bramhall House, 1938.
  4. Chris Maden. “T–1: It’s time for us to leave her,” Kickstarter update. 9 September 2018.