original lyrics

The Channels

© Richard Ridley

From Santiago down in Chile
Hey Johnny have you got the Channels
Now we’re off the Isles of Scilly
Hey Johnny are you homeward bound  

We sailed up through the Panama
Hey Johnny have you got the Channels
And now we’re back to see your Ma
Hey Johnny are you homeward bound

Across the Bay of Old Biscay
Hey Johnny have you got the Channels
From Blighty’s shores it’s less than a day
Hey Johnny are you homeward bound

We've been gone six months and more
Hey Johnny have you got the Channels
We had no liquor and we had no whores
Hey Johnny are you homeward bound

We’re sailing into Whitby Town
Hey Johnny have you got the Channels
I hope my girl will come around
Hey Johnny are you homeward bound 

And now I’m knocking at my best girl’s door
Hey Johnny have you got the Channels
Will she be like she was before?
Hey Johnny are you homeward bound 

I brought her a gift from Call-ee-o
Hey Johnny have you got the Channels
Will she like it? I don’t think so
Hey Johnny are you homeward bound  

If I find my woman with another man
Hey Johnny have you got the Channels
I’ll just go back to Kazakhstan
Hey Johnny are you homeward bound 

I’ll never go off to sea again
Hey Johnny have you got the Channels
Where the girls are pretty and so are the men
Hey Johnny are you homeward bound

I love my life upon the sea
Hey Johnny have you got the Channels
Where the girls arewilling and the rum is free
Hey Johnny are you homeward bound 

(rall) I love my life upon the sea
Hey Johnny have you got the Channels
Where the girls are willing and the rum is free
Hey Johnny are you homeward bound

A sailor with ‘the Channels’ was someone who was experiencing emotional turmoil in anticipation of their impending repatriation, for better or for worse.

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