Home, Dearie, Home

Home, Dearie, Home

There is a large group of related songs that go by such names as "Home, Dearie, Home," "Ambletown," "Home Home Home," and "Bell Bottom Trousers." According to Joanna Colcord,

Another beautiful song, "Home, Dearie, Home," pertained more to the quarter-deck than the forecastle. No song more tenderly expresses the homesick longings of the sailor in foreign parts. There is reason to believe, however, that it is related to an old ballad of a different stripe, which has been cherished and handed down among yachtsmen from generation to generation. This is "Bell-Bottom Trousers." In it, "a servant-girl down in Drury Lane" relates the misfortunes which overtook her from reposing too much confidence in a sailor. The verse which gives the clue to kinship between the two songs is the sailor's advice, in view of expected events:

Oh, if you have a daughter, bounce her on your knee,
But if you have a son, send the bastard off to sea.
Bell-bottomed trousers, coat of navy blue,
Let him climb the rigging (or, "ride the top-sail yard") as his daddy used to do.

-Joanna Colcord, Songs of American Sailormen

If you are unconvinced by this argument that these two songs are closely related, look up "Home Home Home" in Stan Hugill's Shanties of the Seven Seas. Notice that this song has the story line from "Bell Bottom Trousers" with the chorus from "Home, Dearie, Home."

Bell Bottom Trousers

I have found two main variants of "Bell Bottom Trousers." One is told from the woman's prospective, after being taken advantage of by a sailor. This variant matches Miss Colcord's description. The other version is told in the second person, and in my opinion is somewhat bawdier than the first.



Back