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Home > Music > Salt And Pepper

Salt And Pepper
by Harry Chapin

The old sailor sat at the window seat
So he could watch as the ships went by
And he drank from a glass that was always filled
For the rest of us would buy.
And he would tell us tales about the ships that sailed
When he was young and strong.
And when he thought we'd heard enough of his words
He'd break into this song.
Dee dee dee dah dah dah dee dee dee dah dah
Dah dah dee dee dee dum.

Each and every day he'd spend this way
Until the stroke of four
When a woman as rough as a dockside tough
Came bursting through the door.
She'd stalk up to that sailor
And he'd shrink to the size of a pin.
And she'd curse and shout and as she hauled him out
He'd say with a sheepish grin:

I've sailed the southern oceans
And the stormy northern sea,
But now that me sailin's over, me boys,
It's harbor time for me.
I know you call us Salt and Pepper,
For an old salt I may be,
But though she may be pepper to you, me boys,
She's sweet as sugar to me.
Dee dee dee dah dah dah dee dee dee dah dah
Dah dah dee dee dee dum.

Yes, we called them Salt and Pepper,
For that's the way she was
And it seemed she got as least as hot
As fresh red pepper does.
And a bunch of the boys made offers
To protect him from her wrath,
But each and every time, he would decline,
Declaring with a laugh:

(Repeat Chorus)

I've had my body broken,
Not drowned, but parched bone-dry.
I've heard my name be spoken,
I've spit in the Devil's eye.
The sea once was my mistress,
Now Pepper's replaced her.
But just another captain,
Like my tough old captain's were.

And you can have your milquetoast ladies,
I'm made of old salt brine,
And the gal you saw had starch in her craw,
Not a lace instead of a spine.
Sure, the old girl can get tough at times,
But a sailor's what I've been,
And when a storm's about, you learn to ride it out,
So you can sail once again.

(Repeat Chorus)

Layout, design, images, and user-contributed text are © Copyright 1996-2017 The Harry Chapin Archive.

"Oh, if a man tried to take his time on earth and prove before he died what one man's life could be worth, I wonder what would happen to this world?" -- Harry Chapin, 1942-1981.



Harry's Music
Bottom Line Encore Collection
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
Chapin Music
Cotton Patch Gospel
Dance Band On The Titanic*
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
Gold Medal Collection
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
Greatest Stories Live*
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
Harry Chapin Tribute
Heads & Tales
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
Last Protest Singer
Legends Of Lost & Found*
Living Room Suite
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
On The Road To Kingdom Come
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
Portrait Gallery
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
Short Stories
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
Sniper & Other Love Songs
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
Story of a Life
Verities & Balderdash
      [Amazon] [iTunes]

* = Highly Recommended

The Latest Release

Sniper & Other Love Songs


In 1972, Harry released Sniper & Other Love Songs. Thirty years would pass before the album would ever reach the CD format. Sniper was finally re-released in June, 2002.

Originally given a working title of Sweet City Suite, the album tells the story of various characters one might run into in a city. The album features the original studio versions of Chapin classics "A Better Place to Be" and "Circle." But perhaps more importantly (as those songs are already well-distributed on compilation CDs), the album features seemingly lost Chapin stories, including "And the Baby Never Cries," "Burning Herself," "Barefoot Boy," and "Woman Child."

Sniper is for the seasoned Chapin fan. New fans would do better to check out Greatest Stories Live. But for Chapin fans who have reached the level of the Dance Band on the Titanic album, this is the next step. Slightly over-produced and having a little of the "forced" feel that some of Harry's studio albums possess, this album does not capture the powerfully live Harry Chapin. Nonetheless, it captures Harry's great iconoclastic songwriting--Harry takes the story song to new heights here. But the album works best for those ready for it; don't buy it until you are ready to appreciate it!