Benbow the Brother Tar

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BENBOW, THE BROTHER TAR. English, Air (4/4 time). A Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. The melody and song appear in a broadside ballad from the early 18th century published at Salisbury by Fowler. Benbow's father, Chappell explains, was John Benbow, a Shropshire gentleman and loyal Cavalier who was captured in the battle of Worcester while fighting for King Charles. However, at the Restoration the best position he could obtain was a subordinate post at the Tower of London at such a paltry salary the family became destitute. Thus Benbow the son took to sea 'before the mast', or as an ordinary seaman. He was called the 'brother tar' because he rose from the ranks to become an admiral. See also tune named for him called "Admiral Benbow."

Come all you sailors bold,
Lend an ear, lend an ear,
Come all you sailors bold,
Lend an ear, lend an ear;
It's of our Admirals fame,
Brave Benlow call'd by name,
How he fought on the main
You shall hear, you shall hear,
How he fought on the main
You shall hear, you shall hear.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Chappell (Popular Music of the Olden Time), vol. 2, 1859; p. 94.

Recorded sources:




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