"Rolling Home" is extremely well known in Germany and by many it is assumed to be a German song. I first started singing it together with Wilfried Drygala in the "Idle Fellows" this song being one of his favourites. His lyrics are word-for-word identical to those given in Master Mariner W.B. Whall's Sea Songs Ships and Shanties
(1912) and he always sang it very well.
It is of great interest to me as to why our Master Mariner should associate this song with slavery as he chooses to illustrate this very British sea song with a British slaver running under full sail before the wind! For me there is no obvious connection as there is with Blow, Boys, Blow
. I would love to ask him why he chose to illustrate this song so. As he has been dead many a long decade this is clearly impossible and I would be delighted if some surfer knows the answer or can make an educated guess.
As with The Banks of the Sacramento
and My Bonnie lies over the ocean
, "Rolling Home" may be sung several times in a single session, each time being less musical and more raucous than the last.