Sometimes ye just need to stop and smell the roses. Other times ye need to sing a famous song about rum and a dead man’s chest. Either way it helps to know what ye’re doin’. For instance, ye wouldn’t want to smell the roses only to find our they ain’t roses, nor flowers at all!

And in just the same way, it’s nice to know what all that pirate yo-ho-ho-ing is all about. That’s an easy one; it’s part of a sea shanty.

Pirates weren’t the only ones to sing such songs. The crews of merchant ships did it too. The rhythm o’ the tune helped guide the sailors in specific tasks; hauling lines, turning the capstan, and so on.

In the novel in which Fifteen Men was invented, that a’course being Treasure Island, the yo-ho-ho is for the capstan, and when they got to the second ‘ho’ they gave it a greater effort.

But ye know, I think after the work is all done, a good pirate just sort o’ sings yo-ho-ho because he’s happy, or sad, or angry.

Thanky for blowin’ away yer time with this little article. See ye next time!


Jollier Interviews

Here at Jollier Roger Cove, we strive to unite all pirates under one banner. That’s not entirely true, but it sounds mighty nice when ye say it! Anyhow, we do like hearin’ from fellow pirates, swashbucklers, privateers, and all manner o’ scurvy dogs with a love for the high seas and those bold adventurers.

So, we want to interview ye! Doesn’t matter if ye’re a real-life pirate or ye read a book or so. Let us know if ye’d like to answer a few fun questions, and we’ll send ’em yer way. Then yer interview will appear here on the Cove, and on the Jollier Roger Facebook page, which is boomin’ by the by!

Here be the rules:

√ Ye must have fun.

√ Ye must be a human, or a parrot.

√ Ye must keep it clean. We’ve grandmums who visit this page, by thunder!

√ Ye must have fun.

If ye’re thinkin’ ye can swing that, or if ye know a mate who could, use this contact form to, well, contact us. Thar be a good chance ye’ll get picked, but if not, there be always the next time!

How Jollier Roger Begins

Ahoy, maties! Being that ye’re here on Jollier Roger Cove, and ye always visit us at the Jollier Roger Facebook page, we fig’re some o’ ye might be wondering how Jollier Roger starts. We mean REALLY starts; the first words, even! Well, here they are.

Atlantic Ocean, 1724…

A small boat, just a dinghy and little more, having only one man aboard and dressed richly so that none could deny he was a captain. The thunder of the cloudy gray sky made the fish jump for fright, and the lightning was enough to scare a spirit.

But wasn’t that just why he’d come? Was he any man to fear his death, having lived a life longer and more fulfilling than ever he may have? Having waved his fist with a triumphant laugh, when all other men thought him dead?

The storm, the terror, the myth of the Atlantic Tristorm… Now wasn’t that exactly for what he’d come?

With the lightning came his low voice in a familiar song. “Of all the world’s colors I take me the blue. Yo, ho… yo, ho… yo, ho. Be free as the waves, that is what I do. Yo, ho… yo, ho… yo, ho. Steal from the crowns, no, I don’t fear no crew. Yo, ho… yo, ho… yo, ho. Give me the liars, for I can’t trust the true. Yo ho, yo ho, yo ho!”

As his oars dipped into the choppy waters, the spray of the waves filling the air so that a heavy haze clung to that place, he knew he was near. No man could have denied it, even before the lightning struck the sea before him. The green blast was like the shine of an emerald, coursing through the waters all around him.

Then a voice, “Avast, man of the sea.” He didn’t look away. He sat up all the taller with his hat tipped proudly, bold as the echoing voice went on. “Who do you claim to be, and what do you desire?”

A grin crossed his face, “… Captain Roberts, that is my name, and that you shall call me. As for what I’m wanting…”

Coast of Port Royal, 1762…

“The light filled him and all he had on him. From his ship to his brass buttons he was enchanted, but what became of him none can say. That’s the legend of Captain Roberts, the Atlantic Tristorm, and the Magic Treasures.”

The great vessel of three masts dipped then rose up, the boom of the waves echoing across the deck. All hands were busy on the main deck, besides the man listening to the story. He was about fifty years old, with a great brown beard down to his chest and a dull eye. “That really how it goes, cap’n?” he asked with his thick Norwegian accent.

The storyteller looked out to the bright blue sea, letting the spray soak his young face and long raven’s hair. He was a dark man of twenty so he seemed, his eyes alight with quiet excitement and adventure. He was dressed like a sailor, not so much a pirate; open black shirt, tight black trousers, and thin boots almost to his knees. “Are you questioning me story? It is! … Maybe.”

Sea Shanties

We really didn’t mean for it to, but over the course of 180+ chapters, one of the recurring themes o’ Jollier Roger is the sea shanty.

As ye might know, a sea shanty was a song sung at sea or in the harbor to help along the work. It set the pace for how the capstan should be turned, how the cords should be tugged, and sich things.

In the world of Jollier Roger, every good pirate has a sea shanty. We like to think they’re pretty catchy if ye hum ’em to yerself or sing ’em with yer mates now and then. Not that we expect you to or even advise you to; ye might get some right dirty looks if ye go about singin’ Deadglare’s song in the store, or Swashbucklet’s fancy at the inlaws’s place.

But they’re pretty all right, and not just fun to read but also fun to write. There are plenty o’ real-life sea shanties; Randy Dandy, Blow the Man Down, The Drunken Sailor are but a few.

So, do ye know any? Have ye read Jollier Roger and have a favorite? Let’s hear from ye, unless o’ course ye’re not in the mood to talk, in which case ye can just think yer answer.

By Steven Vincent Posted in Random

Why Rum?


Have ye ever wondered, me hearties, why pirates found themselves utterly obsessed with rum? I mean, for sure they must o’ liked the stuff, but why not wine, or bear?

The answer to that be so simple it may not even be worth sayin’, but by thunder! we’re gonna say it anyway! The truth is, water went bad after a very short time.

I’m sure pirates would o’ liked to quench their thirst with some refreshing water, maybe with a little ice and a straw even, but back in the day, WAY back in the day, they didn’t have none o’ that.

Instead they had wooden casks, humid air, and hot cargo holds where the water became putrid and swimming with bacteria. No thank ye! So if it was alcohol, it could be stored much, much longer.

So I wager they had to pick the best choice. It ain’t like picking yer favorite soda, mates; they made their pick based on what they could get their hands on, and since the sugarcane industry was booming in the Caribbean where they haunted, that made rum the sure winner.

And now ye know. Thank ye for lettin’ us waste a little o’ yer time!

Deadglare’s Song

In Chapter 10, Captain James Roberts finds himself in the depths of the Ship Graveyard at Cayman Brac. Here he plans to meet with the notorious ghost of Captain Deadglare, the most wicked soul to ever sail the seas. What they find leaves much to be desired, but the strange spirit still manages to turn the tables and trap the young captain, at which point, he sings this song he’d been rehearsing for years:

[Deadglare’s lethargic ghost crew]

Long ago, ther lived a man, much worse, than me, or you!
He lied, he stole, he tortured folks, and aye, he murdered too.

Ho! Hum! Hang and swing, but don’ cross Captain Deadglare.
Ho! Hum! Hang and swing, but run from Captain Deadglare!

A time ago, ther sailed a fleet, cannon-armed, and cargo full.
Captain came, left all the same, all ‘cept for, a bloody toll.

Ho! Hum! Hang and swing, but don’ cross Captain Deadglare.
Ho! Hum! Hang and swing, but run from Captain Deadglare!

[Deadglare, warming up to his own tune]

Long ago, I sailed the seas; I pillaged ships, and ransacked towns.
I may, be dead, but once a year, I come, to share, eternal frowns.

Ho! Hum! Hang and swing, but don’ cross Captain Deadglare.
Ho! Hum! Hang and swing, but run from Captain Deadglare!

A time ago, the sailors spoke, of Edward Teach or Davy Jones.
But I’m the ghost, whose name is on, the lips of all their cheerless bones.

Ho! Hum! Hang and swing, but don’ cross Captain Deadglare.
Ho! Hum! Hang and swing, but run from Captain Deadglare!

Crew Interview: Grandmum Roberts

Welcome us back, mates! It’s been a long while since we’ve interviewed the cast of Jollier Roger, but here we are to pick up where we left off. In light of Jollier Roger 2 landing ashore last month, we will be gettin’ to know the new crew members of THE BOTTLE, and some old foes as well!

Today we have a new crew member and a enemy all wrapped in one. Please welcome to the Cove… Grandmum Roberts! Continue reading

Become a Pirate, Fast!

Nooo! that ain’t an order, I mean now ye can learn all ye need to begin a life of adventure on the high seas, all from yar computer chair within the span of, say, five minutes. Introducing the Lesson in Pirate page!

Ye’ll learn about ships, weapons, islands, and all without ever feelin’ like ye learned anything. But! ye’ll now be able to share random and somehow pointless facts with yar friends. Have a look, and feel free to leave a comment here or there.