Victoria Nautical Song Circle's
October 2000 Song Of The Month


© Words and Music - Zeke Hoskins
Zeke's Web Site

Windsor is a lovely port we're proud to sing about
There's a warehouse full of whisky, though the Yankees do without
And when Customs asks us where we're bound, we ship our oars and shout:
"We're bound for Valparaiso in a rowboat"
Pull your oars! We're on our way!
With a thousand quarts of whisky bound for Valparaiso Bay
And we haven't no intention for to see the U. S. A.
We're bound for Valparaiso in a rowboat
Some say that for an ocean trip our craft is very small
But we bold Canadian lads don't fear a little Cape Horn squall
And a deep sea schooner's just too big to shoot Niagara Falls
We're bound for Valparaiso in a rowboat
We've sailed for Valparaiso twenty seven times this week
But every time we've gotten to the mouth of Muddy Creek
We've had to jettison our cargo 'cause the oarlock sprung a leak
We're bound for Valparaiso in a rowboat
Now some sing of Vancouver, of St John and Halifax
But those salty water cities, they have nothing Windsor lacks
We've a doryload of whisky and the muscles in our backs
We're bound for Valparaiso in a rowboat
Posted With Permission

The price of liquor is mostly tax. Unsold booze is often kept in a bonded warehouse, meaning the tax hasn't been paid. When you take whisky out of the warehouse, you have to pay the tax ... unless it's for export, of course.

During Prohibition in the U.S., there was a dockside bonded warehouse in Windsor, Ont. (Across the river from Detroit). Men would bring a rowboat to the dock and check out a few cases of whisky. The Customs officer would ask, Are you paying tax, or exporting?" "Exporting", they would answer. "Where to?" "Valparaiso." The Customs man would nod and write it down in his book, and away they'd row. Half an hour later, they'd do the same thing again.

This is a sea chantey for them. I wrote it on Canada Day, while returning from cross-border shopping for my Dusty Strings Harp. It's on Reprieve!

Also on Virgo Rising "Voices Entwined" 1997

To Victoria Nautical Song Circle main page or Previous Songs Of The Month List.