#00094
Wave Over Wave (Jim Payne) score, MIDI, tabs, videos

Click Here for wife's monologue.

sheet music

#109: YouTube video by fivejedi
©2006 ~ Used with permission ~

midi file   alt: midi file

(To a familiar tune, Quare Bungle Rye)

Click Here for tabs.

Me name's Abel Rogers, a shareman am I,
On a three-masted schooner from Twillingate Isle;
I've been the world over, north, south, east, and west,
But the middle of nowhere's where I like it best.

Where it's wave over wave, sea over bow,
I'm as happy a man as the sea will allow;
There's no other life for a sailor like me,
But to sail the salt sea, boys, sail the sea;
There's no other life but to sail the salt sea.

The work it is hard and the hours are long,
My spirit is willing, my back it is strong;
And when our work's over then whiskey we'll pour,
We'll dance with the girls upon some foreign shore.

Where it's wave over wave, sea over bow,
I'm as happy a man as the sea will allow;
There's no other life for a sailor like me,
But to sail the salt sea, boys, sail the sea;
There's no other life but to sail the salt sea.

I'd leave my wife lonely ten months of the year,
She made me a home and raised my children dear;
But she'd never come out to bid farewell to me,
Or ken why a sailor must sail the salt sea.

Where it's wave over wave, sea over bow,
I'm as happy a man as the sea will allow;
There's no other life for a sailor like me,
But to sail the salt sea, boys, sail the sea;
There's no other life but to sail the salt sea.

I've sailed the wide oceans four decades or more,
And many times wondered what I do it for;
I don't know the answer, it's pleasure and pain,
With life to live over, I'd do it again.

Where it's wave over wave, sea over bow,
I'm as happy a man as the sea will allow;
There's no other life for a sailor like me,
But to sail the salt sea, boys, sail the sea;
There's no other life but to sail the salt sea.
Sail the salt sea, boys, sail the sea;
There's no other life but to sail the salt sea.

Wife's Monologue Monologue by Janice Spence.
(Spoken in original stage version)
    Well, I can't complain. I haven't had it as hard as some, God knows. And for the bit of time that you've been around in the past sixteen years, well, you've been a good man. I remember the year we were married ... it was a good year. You were workin' for my father and it seems to me that I had you all to meself every minute of every day ... and all the sweet long hours of the night. I think that was the happiest year of my life.

    But, by the spring of the following year, (just after my birthday, it was) you got to be itchin' after something and in no time at all you'd gone down and you'd signed up on the Mary Eleanor. It was then that I knew I was married to a sailor. I couldn't even bring myself to go down and say goodbye to ya.

    Now, I'm not complaining. We've always had a roof over our heads and we've never wanted for very much. I always said, now, that I never had it as hard as May. Her husband, Jack, well, he'd only be home one or two days out of every year ... that's when he was workin' on the coastal boats. My dear, when he'd come home on the Prospero she'd have to go down there and get 'im because he was too blind drunk to make his way home by himself.

    And I'll never forget the night I was over at Nan's ... the night Poppy Rogers came home. Poppy Rogers, gone eleven years. We hadn't heard a word from him. We didn't know what had happened to him. Sure, we'd give him up for dead! Well, that night, Nan just look out of the window and she saw him comin' up the path and all she said was, "Put the kettle on, Frank's home".

    But I do wish you'd been here with me when Gary died. My God, that was a hard winter. The flu ... epidemic proportions they'd said on the radio. I remember the night Mom and I laid him out. Oh, your mother came over, too. I think Gary was her favourite, really. Anyway, that night I sat up with him. I sat up in that big ol' chair your brother made and I must have dozed off 'cause around 4 or 5 o'clock in the morning I woke up and just for an instant you were there. You were bendin' over and kissin' his cheek.

    Well, you were back in port six months later and you gave me Kevin and Kevin had the croup. He coughed and he bawled for a solid year straight. He had me raftered. He had me clear drove off me head. And then the following year you were only home for a week. I got Rose out of that visit.

    But you've always sent me lovely presents. Sometimes a year goes by and I have no word, no letters or such, but always bits and pieces from here, there, and everywhere. A lovely shawl arrived for me in the mail today ... three yards of beautiful, coloured silk. I wonder where it's from ... Spain, Morroco, some place I've never been to. Ahh, it's gorgeous. It puts me in mind of warm winds and people speakin' in foreign tongues. But, sure, where am I gonna wear it? I suppose, now, I'll put it on when I go out in the garden diggin' up a few turnips or makin' a bit of soap outta lye.

    Well, I'll go and light the candle for ya now. It'll always be here in the window to guide ya home ... I'll always be here for you, God willing.

    You know, for the bit of time that you've been around in our married life, well, you're the only man I've ever had ... you're the only man I've ever wanted!

Where it's wave over wave, sea over bow,
I'm as happy a man as the sea will allow;
There's no other life for a sailor like me,
But to sail the salt sea, boys, sail the sea;
There's no other life but to sail the salt sea.

####.... Jim Payne of St John's, NL, ©1983. Performing rights administered by SOCAN. All rights reserved. ....####
This variant recorded by Jim Payne (Jim Payne And Kelly Russell, trk#11, 1983, Pigeon Inlet Productions, St John's, NL); and (Wave Over Wave: Old And New Songs Of Atlantic Canada, trk#8, 1995, Singsong, Inc, St John's, NL. 1997 East Coast Music Awards Roots/Traditional Artist nominee).

This song (without the wife's monologue) was collected in 1983 from the author, Jim Payne, formerly of Pilly's Island in Notre Dame Bay, NL, by Genevieve Lehr and Anita Best and published as #118 in Come And I Will Sing You: A Newfoundland Songbook, pp.200-201, edited by Genevieve Lehr (University of Toronto Press © 1985/2003).

Genevieve Lehr noted that this is a contemporary folk-style song Jim Payne often performs in the local pubs and bars together with local musician Kelly Russell.

The video above features the recording by Jim Payne and Fergus O'Byrne. The video records volunteers aboard the 1877 Tallship Elissa in Galveston, Texas, during the 2006 annual Sea Trials where young volunteers take the ship out to sail in the Gulf of Mexico.


See more songs by Jim Payne.

The video below features a solo performance of a variant by Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea at the Clayton Opera House, 405 Riverside Drive, Clayton, New York, September 4, 2009. A variant was also recorded by Great Big Sea (Up, trk#11, 1995, Distributed by WEA, Scarborough, Ontario, produced and engineered by Danny Greenspoon and recorded at the Battery and at The Nickel in St John's NL)

See more songs by Great Big Sea.

#872: YouTube video by BetweenTheRock
©2009 ~ Used with permission ~

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Notes On Tabs:
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All tabs have been contributed by visitors to this site and represent their interpretation of the tune. We are unable to verify their accuracy.

Me [G] name's Abel Rogers, a shareman am I,
On [C] a three-mas-[G] ted schooner from [Am] Twillingate Isle
I've [C] been the world [G] over, north, [C] south, east, and [G] west
But the [C] middle of no-[G] where's where I [Am] like it [D] best.

Where it's [C] wave over [G] wave, sea [C] over [G] bow,
I'm as [C] happy a [G] man as the [Am] sea will al-[D] low
There's [C] no other [G] life for a sai-[C] lor like [G] me
But to [C] sail the salt sea, [G] boys, [Am] sail the [D] sea
There's [C] no other life but to [D] sail the salt [G] sea


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