H.M.S. Rose off Ferryland, August 1995. Printed from shanty.rendance.org Site contents © 1993-2009 Andrew Draskóy excepting product images and lyrics.
The 'I'm Alone' - Wade Hemsworth

Remember, yes, I remember well
The most famous rum-runner of them all,
Remember, yes, I remember well
The most famous rum-runner of them all
She was the schooner from Lunenburg, I'm Alone
And in the Gulf of Mexico she went down
Under fire from a Yankee cutter
On the high seas, outside treaty water

Oh, I'm Alone
A long way from Lunenburg she went down
Because skipper John Randell wouldn't heave-to
On the I'm Alone

It was nineteen hundred and twenty-nine
When the smuggling of liquor was a profitable pastime.
Many a Maritimer didn't see why
He shouldn't turn a profit - Uncle Sam was dry
Many a family took on style
Because Prohibition made it very worthwhile
To be a good Samaritan
To long-sufferin', thirsty Americans

The schooner's captain was a wild Newfoundlander,
A hard-drivin' man, name of John Thomas Randell.
A decorated veteran of the First World War
And a sea-goin' gentleman adventurer.
From Belize he would take the I'm Alone
Towards the coast of Louisiana
  And he'd anchor south of Trinity Shoal
Where he'd meet his man
And discharge the cargo according to plan

It was all clear sailing for the I'm Alone
With the profits from six or seven trips salted down.
The coast guard had bothered her a couple of times,
But skipper John's seamanship had left 'em behind.
One March morning, in the wind and the swell,
She was reachin' along under jumbo, jib and storm trysail
When the cutter Dexter
Swept in on the I'm Alone's starboard quarter

Now the Dexter's captain was a very rough man;
He had sworn that he'd never lose the I'm Alone again.
He ran a string of signals, saying: How do you do?
Now you know that I'll fire if you don't heave-to!
Skipper John semaphored immediately:
I'm on the high seas and you have no jurisdiction over me.
So the Dexter's captain
Sent several volleys through the I'm Alone's riggin'

The bullets tore the booms and the sails and the lines -
They even tore a hole in the Red Ensign.
When skipper John saw it, he was fit to be tied
At the disrespect shown to his national pride.
The crew said, "Sir, don't you trouble your mind;
We'll all go down together with the old Red Ensign a-flyin'!"
So he signaled to the Dexter:
Shoot and be damned to you, for I'll not surrender!

Well the Dexter opened fire; it didn't take long
When her guns stitched a seam along the I'm Alone's waterline.
Skipper John ordered every man to sea -
There was water on the bridge when he himself jumped free.
Stern in the air, the I'm Alone went down:
Such a heavy sea a-runnin'
  It's a wonder only one man was drowned -
The bo'sun was the one
Who was pulled aboard the cutter when his life was gone

And that's how it happened; there isn't much more.
The I'm Alone became an international affair.
Skipper John and his seamen were all released
Because the U.S. government couldn't make a case.
That kind of violence is bound to happen
When a law like Prohibition sits up and begs to be broken.
And we still recall
The story of the I'm Alone and skipper John Randell