DESCRIPTION: Shanty. "Oh Billy Riley was a dancing master, O Billy Riley. Old Billy Riley, screw him up so cheer'ly, O Billy Riley O." Verses name members of Riley's family and/or their occupations. Refrain changes each time based on which Riley is named in the verse.
EARLIEST DATE: 1914 (Sharp-EFC)
FOUND IN: West Indies Britain
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Colcord, p. 74, "O Billy Riley!" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hugill, pp. 452-453, "Billy Riley" (1 text, 1 tune) [AbrEd, p. 338]
Sharp-EFC, LVIII, p. 63, "O Billy Riley" (1 text, 1 tune)
ST Hug452 (Full)
NOTES [43 words]: The liner notes to the Lloyd/MacColl recording "Blow, Boys, Blow" state "The sail would need to be light, or the occasion desperate, for men to haul at the halyards to tbe beat of such a fast song as this." But other sources don't seem to have noticed this. - RBW
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography
The Ballad Index Copyright 2018 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.