I only got interested in Blow the Wind Southerly
when coming across it in Songs and Dances of England
by Liz Thomson in the early 1990's. Up until then on the basis of childhood memories i.e. listening to it on radio ("Down your Way") on wet Sunday afternoons in the late 1940's and the song being sung by a warbling dreary contralto, Dame Somebody-or-Other, this song of the sea was definitely not for me.
However on working through Liz's version, making a change of key or singing it in successive various keys, I found that it was a pretty good song after all. I have discovered that "Blow the Wind Southerly" can be sung to good effect by warbling senile basses such as myself. This song is now a permanent part of my programmes with maritime content.
Since writing the above in the late 1990's, I moved to Newcastle Upon Tyne in 2011 and learned, somewhat to my surprise that it is in fact a Geordie song. It is in the repertoire of Tyneside Maritime Chorus
, which I joined in 2011.
John Stokoe in his Songs and Ballads of Northern England
wrote in 1893 refering to Blaw the Wind Southerly
that in Sir Cuthbert Sharp's Bishoprick Garland
is given a fragment of four lines, which appears to have been either the first verse or the chorus of the original ballad, written to this beautiful and lively tune, and sung by the fair maids at the mouth of the Coaly Tyne from time immemorial. The new version by Mr. John Stobbs appeared in broadsheets from about forty years ago as No. 1 of a series entitled Songs of our Town
by Crutchy Frank, alias Francis of the Crutches.
Singing Hinnies Book 1
also has an agreeable arrangement.
This song may be found in the Tyneside Maritime Chorus songbook