One of my favorite cuts from June Carter Cash’s album Wildwood Flower is her version (at YouTube) of “Storms are on the Ocean.” Another early Carter Family version, also on YouTube, is by The Carter Sisters – Storms Are On The Ocean.
I suspect most folks, like myself, assumed that the lyrics to this song were from a single source, even if the source is obscure. But apparently that’s not so — according to the musicologist Bob Waltz (writing at Remembering the Old Songs), it’s probably a composite of lyrics from at least two sources.
This was one of the first songs recorded by the Carter Family; according to Wikipedia, it was released by Victor records on December 2, 1928. Another YouTube version of the Carter Family singing it dates it even earlier: “Bristol Recording August 1st 1927.”
In any case, here are the lyrics, as transcribed by Bob Waltz:
I’m going away for to leave you, love,
I’m going away for a while.
But I’ll return to you some time
If I go ten thousand miles.
The storms are on the ocean,
The heavens may cease to be.
The world may lose its motion, love,
If I prove false to thee.
Oh, who will shoe your pretty little foot?
And who will glove your hand?
And who will kiss your red, rosy cheeks
When I’m in a foreign land?
Papa will shoe my pretty little foot,
Mama will glove my hand,
And you can kiss my red rosy cheeks
When you come back again.**
I’m never going back on the ocean, love;
I’m never going back on the sea.
I’m never going back on the pretty little girl
Who gave her heart to me.