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Pirate Jenny

This song is by Judy Collins and appears on the album In My Life (1966) and on the compilation album Forever: An Anthology (1997).

You gentlemen can watch while I'm scrubbin' the floor
And I'm scrubbin' the floor while you're gawking
And maybe once you tipped me and it made you feel swell
In a ratty waterfront in this ratty-old hotel

But you'll never know to who you're talkin'
You never know to who you're talkin'

Suddenly, one night, there's a scream in the night
And you yelled, "What the hell could that have been?"
And you see me kinda grinnin' while I'm scrubbin'
And you say, "What's she got to grin?"

And the ship, a Black Freighter
With a skull on its masthead will be comin' in

Then you gentlemen can say, "Hey girl, finish the floors
Get upstairs, make the beds, earn your keep here
You toss me your tips and look out at the ships

But I'm countin' your heads
While I make up the beds
'Cause there's nobody gonna sleep here
Tonight, none of you will sleep here

Then, that night, there's a bang in the night
And you yelled, "Who's that kicking up a row?"
And ya see me kinda starin' out the window
And you say, "What's she got to stare at now?"

And the ship, the Black Freighter
Turns around in the harbor
Shootin' guns from the bow

Then you gentlemen can wipe off the laugh from your face
Every building in town is a flat one
Your whole stinking place will be down to the ground
Only this cheap hotel standin' up safe and sound

And you ask, "Why did they spare that one?"
And you ask, "Why did they spare that one?"

All the night through, with the noise and to-do
You wonder, who's the person lives up there?
Then you see me steppin' out in the mornin'
Lookin' nice with a ribbon in my hair

And the ship, the Black Freighter
Runs the flag up its masthead
And a cheer rings the air

By noontime the dock
Is a' swarmin' with men
Comin' off of that ghostly freighter

And they're movin' in the shadows
Where no one can see
And they're chainin' up people
And bringin' them to me

Askin' me
"Kill them now or later?"
Askin' me
"Kill them now, or later?"

Noon by the clock
And so still on the dock
You can hear the foghorn miles away

In that quiet of death
I'll say, "Right now
Then they'll pile up the bodies
And I'll say, "That'll learn ya"

And the ship
The Black Freighter
Disappears out to sea
And on it is me


Written by:

Marc Blitzstein; Berthold Brecht; Kurt Weill

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