Captain Kidd

TITLE: Captain Kidd
AUTHOR: unknown
CATEGORY: Public Domain, Traditional
KEYWORDS: execution, gallows, confession, pirate
EARLIEST DATE: 1701 (broadside)
HISTORICAL REFERENCES: 

kiddIn 1689 William Kidd was sailing as a legal pirate for Great Britain against the French in the West Indies and off the coast of the United States. In London in 1695, he received a royal commission to apprehend pirates who attacked the ships of the East India Company. He soon turned to being an outlaw pirate and in August 1697 he made an unsuccessful attack on ships but later took several small ships. Two months later he refused to attack a Dutch ship and nearly brought his crew to mutiny. In an angry exchange Kidd mortally wounded his gunner, William Moore. This began his pirating career in earnest. Later he was arrested and shipped to England for trial.

Found guilty on May 8 and 9, 1701 Kidd was hanged for the murder of Moore and five indictments of piracy. Some of his treasure was recovered from Gardiners Island off Long Island, but legends abound of buried treasure up and down the coast of the United States.

There are many great versions of this song and I’ve blended a couple together and added little bits. I wish I had more time to search through variants. Captain Kidd is a great song and deserves to be revisited often.

Check out: The Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kidd
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OTHER TITLES AND VARIATIONS: 

  • The Ballad of Captain Kidd
  • Captain Kid’s Farewell to the Seas
  • Captain Robert Kidd

RECORDINGS:

YOUTUBE VIDEO:

YOUTUBE AUDIO: download
LYRIC & CHORD PRO CHART:  download
PPT LYRICS FOR THE CLASSROOM: download
BONUS YOUTUBE VIDEO: Blackbeard’s Tea Party

Captain Kidd

My name is Robert Kidd,
as I sailed, as I sailed
My name is Robert Kidd, as I sailed
They call me Captain Kidd,
God’s laws I did forbid
And most wickedly I did,
as I sailed.

Oh, my parents taught me well,
as I sailed, as I sailed
My parents taught me well, as I sailed
My parents taught me well
to shun the gates of Hell
But against them I rebelled,
as I sailed.

Well, I murdered William Moore,
as I sailed, as I sailed
I murdered William Moore, as I sailed
I murdered William Moore
and I left him in his gore
Forty leagues from shore,
as I sailed.

And being cruel still,
as I sailed, as I sailed
And being cruel still, as I sailed
And being cruel still
the gunner I did kill
And his precious blood did spill,
as I sailed.

Well, my repentance lasted not,
as I sailed, as I sailed
My repentance lasted not, as I sailed
My repentance lasted not,
my vows I soon forgot
Damnation was my lot,
as I sailed.

To execution dock
I must go, I must go
To execution dock I must go
To execution dock,
lay my head upon the block
And no more the laws I’ll mock,
as I sailed.

SOURCES:

Folk Song Index: A Comprehensive Guide to the Florence E. Brunnings Collection, Florence E. Brunnings, Garland Publishing, Inc., New York and London 1981—Amazon Books

Country Music Sources: A Biblio-Discography of Commercially Recorded Traditional Music, Guthrie T. Meade, Jr. with Dick Spottswood and Douglas S. Meade, Southern Folklife Collection, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries, NC 2002—Amazon Books

Folk Songs of North America (in the English Language), Alan Lomax, Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York 1960—Amazon Books

Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore (1952), Volume 2: Folk Ballads from North Carolina. Edited by Henry M Beldin and Arthur Palmer Hudson. Duke University Press.

Digital Tradition—413, CAPNKIDD CAPNKID2

Laws K35

Roud #1900

Traditional Ballad Index

NOTICE: I’m not the best guitar player or vocalist, but no one loves these songs more than I do. The tune and lyrics are in the public domain unless otherwise noted. The recording © copyright 2013 by Stephen Griffith and may be used by permission of the copyright holder. The variation of the song I’m posting is the version I perform and is not exactly replicating the sources cited, but is always in the same song family. If anyone has more details about this song, or believes I’ve stated something in error, please let me know. I’m also open to suggestions to improve the site. Thanks. sgg