The Almanac Singers
Have you heard of the ship called the good Reuben James? Run by hard fighting men both of honor and of fame.
She flew the Stars and Stripes of the land of the free, but tonight she's in her grave at the bottom of the sea.
Oh, tell me, what were their names, tell me, what were their names?
Did you have a friend on the good Reuben James? (Repeat chorus)
One hundred men went down to their dark and watery graves. When that good ship went down, only forty-four were saved.
'Twas the last day of October they saved forty-four from the dark, icy water of that cold Iceland shore.
It was there in the dark of that cold and watery night. They watched for the you-boats and they waited for a fight.
Then a whine and a rock and a great explosion's roar. They lay the Reuben James on that cold ocean floor.
Many years have passed since those brave men are gone. Those cold, icy waters, they're still and they're calm.
Many years have passed and still I wonder why the worst of men must fight and the best of men must die!