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The Titanic

based on the 1912 disaster

It was less than a year after the Titanic sunk that songs about the events started to circulate. This version is similar to bluegrass versions that circulated, particularly in minority groups that took it as providence that they had been barred from that trip by their race.

Epic Song

The_Titanic
00:00 / 00:40

Refrain:

Oh, it was sad, so sad,

It was sad when the greatest ship went down

To the bottom of the—

Husbands and wives, little children lost their lives.

It was sad when the greatest ship went down.

 

1. Oh they built the ship Titanic, they built her out of steel;

They said no storm would ever break her keel,

But the Lord raised his hand

And he shot a rubber band.

It was sad when the greatest ship went down.

Refrain

 

2. They were off the coast of England and heading from the shore

When the rich refused to mingle with the poor,

So they sent them down below

Where they'd be the first to go.

It was sad when the greatest ship went down.

Refrain

 

3. O the ship was full of sin and the sides were 'bout to burst

When the captain shouted, "Women and children first!"

The first mate tried to wire,

But the lines were all afire.

It was sad when the greatest ship went down.

Refrain

 

4. So they put the lifeboats out in the cold and raging sea

And the band started playing 'Nearer, My God, To Thee.'

And the women and children cried

As the waves swept o'er the side.

It was sad when the greatest ship went down.

Refrain

 

5. The captain stood on deck with a tear in his eye.

As the last boat left, he waved them all goodbye.

Well, he thought he'd made a slip,

So he went down with the ship.

It was sad when the greatest ship went down.

Refrain

 

6. Now because of this sad and fateful tragedy,

A mighty Coast Guard cutter sails o'er the stormy sea.

And every now and then,

They'll pass over that spot again.

It was sad when the greatest ship went down.

Refrain

 

7. So they built another ship and they called it Mary Jane.

Her bow and stern were painted just the same.

Well, they christened her with beer

And she sank right off the pier.

It was sad when the greatest ship went down.

Refrain

but wait, there's more!

Verse 8: The barge in 1989 was called Orca, and at that time they were still boating all food in (and trash out) due to their being no road into camp. The camp director's son was the boat driver and picked up a load of those tiny little cartons of milk, and as they left the cove of the resort across the lake, tried to get a little speed up. Apparently, his partner decided to move to the front to make the barge "plane out" and the nose dipped under, flooding the boat and making little milk cartons float away all over—which helpful boaters brought to the docks for the next week.

Verse 9: The two utility boats in 1997 were Minnow and Banana, and in this instance were used to portage scouts across the lake to a safe place to jump off rocks into the lake (still allowed at that time.) Minnow's engine had a pull cord that had pulled out on at least one prior occasion, so the boat driver had all the scouts stand at the front so as not to get hit if it flew free. The engine started up, the nose dipped down, and water started flooding the boat. After some back and forth, they told the scouts to jump off and get to shore in their PFDs. They were shuttled back with Banana, and they eventually emptied and retrieved Minnow. 

Verse 10: Winton offered an afternoon lake tour for leaders at the same time as teaching Safe Swim Defense and Safety Afloat. Not only did the engine cut out on the leader tour, and the engine cut out on the boat that went out to tow it in, a catamaran had gone over at the same time and the barge Das Boat was engaged in saving it, so it was not available to help. All of this was in full view of the Safety Afloat class, and the waterfront director himself had to cut the class short and use the sheriff's rescue boat to make sure the other two did not snag on the rocks.

(Winton, 1989, writer unknown)

8. Then they built a ship called Orca, they built her out of tin.

They said no Scout could ever do her in.

Then they piled her up high

And she gave a great sigh.

It was sad when the greatest ship went down.

Refrain

 

(Winton, 1997, Bernadette Yarnot)

9. They build a ship called Minnow of fiberglass and wood.

When the waves came up, they did the only thing they could:

Since the Scouts wore PFDs,

They were thrown into the seas.

It was sad when the greatest ship went down.

Refrain

(Winton, 2022, Bernadette Durbin)

10. Jenny's engine failed during Leader Looky-Loo,

And when Roxie tried to save her, her engine went out too.

During Safety Afloat,

Steelie had to save both boats.

It was sad when the greatest ship went down.

Refrain

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