Malvina Reynolds: Song Lyrics and Poems  

Log of the Echo III

Notes: words and music by Malvina Reynolds; copyright 1974 Schroder Music Company, renewed 2002. Malvina and her husband Bud spent the summer of 1953 on a boat owned by a friend who was rather less than competent as a sea captain. She makes it sound funny, but in fact Bud, who had been a merchant seaman in WW I, realized their friend was putting them in unnecessary discomfort and danger and became increasingly furious with him. “Puget Boat Song” is a more positive song from the same trip.

We left Vancouver Saturday,
The natives gave a cheer.
For we'd been standing at the dock
For over half a year.
But now she's got her bottom clean,
And looking mighty fine,
With half her railing laid away
And washing on the line.

What's the matter with Echo?
Not a single thing,
Her whistle gives a lovely toot,
Her bell will always ring.
She steps along at seven knots
To cheer a sailor's heart,
And we'll reach Louisa Inlet
If she doesn't fall apart.

O Captain Sherry's in command,
A seasoned salt is he,
He left the tarpot on the dock
And headed out to sea,
And Allan left the steering wheel
And scampered all around,
To tell his daddy down below,
"We nearly ran aground!"

We thundered out of Stanley Park
Before the morning came.
The cooks and crew were all asleep
But that was all the same.
The natives watched in reverent awe,
They all were stricken dumb,
The mosquitos and teretas shouted,
"Fellow, here they come!"


We ambled into Buccaneer,
The engine coughed and died,
The Nor'west wind began to blow,
It was a running tide,
And Paul he tied the rowboat on
And pulled her from the land,
With seven captains on the bridge
And all were in command.

The Echo is a noble ship
As all Canadians know,
She used to be an oil barge
But that was years ago.
They built a handsome superdeck
To heighten all our joys,
With a galley and a main saloon,
And room for gulls and buoys.


There was Diesel in the water
And the stores were getting thin,
The Shangri-La she volunteered
To take the steward in,
She brought us back the groceries,
And mighty glad were we
And Helen manned the motor boat
Without her lingerie.

O Marilyn's in the galley
A-mixing cookie dough,
And Harriet runs the dishpan
And Sherry's down below,
While Steve and Allan pole the raft
And Mal is cooking stew,
And Bud is in the wheelhouse
A-cussing out the crew.


It was a lovely morning,
The sea was smooth as glass,
The seagulls circled round about
To see the Echo pass,
And everyone was at his post
While Allan baked a cake,
And Mal and Paula in the stern
Strewed garbage in the wake.

The compass was a little off,
The charts were out of date,
The Engineer he wasn't sure
If we made six or eight,
We had to get to Pender
Before the end of day,
So we hailed a passing salad boat
To point us out the way.


Our boat she thumps and bumps along
As graceful as a bird,
She is the pride of Puget and
She's called the Echo Third.
We give three cheers for everything,
The echoes give reply,
And so she's called the Echo III
And that's the reason why.

We had a consultation
Aboard our little boat,
We needed milk for all the kids
And should we keep a goat?
We'd ring a bell to milk her,
Another bell to feed,
And she'd serve us for a foghorn
Whenever there was need.


We tied our boat at Malibu North
To see its beauties rare.
The place was built for ritzy folk
But they are otherwhere,
We saw a northland Hollywood
So grand and so absurd,
And vowed that we had rather be
Aboard the Echo Third.

And when we reached the oyster beds
We quickly hied ashore,
And filled our buckets and our sacks
With more and more and more.
A noble food, we ate them stewed
We ate them cooked and live,
And I hope I never see another
Till 1955.


We all went out a-fishing
But still we dined on meat
Cause all we caught were shiners
And they're not much to eat.
But Helen in the galley
Concocted noble fare
Of bully beef and powdered milk
And healthy mountain air.

The men all went a-fishing,
They paddled all about,
They set their bait for salmon,
They cast their lines for trout,
And Harriet in her solitude
Heard a terrific din;
"Marilyn's caught a 10 pound cod
On a bended pin!"


We saw a pretty waterfall
A dimpling down the rock,
And Bud he took the motor boat
And tied it to the dock,
He took that little waterfall
And stowed it safe away
And took it out in far Lucerne1
To grow the Lucerne hay.

O Paula does the dog-paddle,
Paul he swims the mile,
Sherry swam the Hellespont
To win a lady's smile,
Mal she has the wherewithal
To keep her well afloat,
But the greatest swimmer of them all
Is Echo III the boat.


Upon the point at Hamiltaire,
Where every vessel clears,
There stands an ancient totem
That's weathered with the years,
And when you near this landmark
From the leeward side,
You see that it is Uncle Bud
A-watching of the tide.

Oh have you seen the Echo?
She passed along this way.
She has a crew of water tramps,
Her color's black and gray.
She isn't quite a camp-boat,
She's surely not a yacht,
The seagulls wheel around her top
And whistle, "What is that?"


O Bud he made a crab-trap
To pick us up a meal,
He made it out of chicken wire
And a rusty wheel,
The skipper of the Spindrift
Declared it had been made
By a scavenger by nature
And a carpenter by trade.

"O have you seen my waterfall?"
Said genial Mr. Mac,
"The Lord gave me the waterfall
And didn't take it back.
Oh some may boast a fine estate
And some may sport a crown,
But just give me a mountain
With a river falling down."


We heard a plaintive melody,
Arising from below.
"What seems to be the trouble, Mal,
What makes you holler so!"
"With all the world of scenery
A-passing grandly by,
I'm down here in the galley-o
With onion in my eye."

O give a cheer for Canada
Where Echo has her berth,
Her scenery so wonderful
Her food of honest worth,
Her fair and gentle women
Her sturdy workingmen,
Whenever I think of Canada
I'll want to come again.


What's the matter with Echo?
Not a single thing.
Her whistle gives a lovely toot,
Her bell will always ring,
We'll sail her round about the sound
Till all her stores are gone,
And she'll get back to Vancouver
With her rudder hanging on.

Malvina Reynolds songbook(s) in which the music to this song appears:
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Malvina Reynolds recording(s) on which this song is performed:
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Additional note
1. Lucerne Valley, in the high desert of Southern California.

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This page copyright 2006 by Charles H. Smith and Nancy Schimmel. All rights reserved.

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