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A Pirate Looks at 40 by Jimmy Buffett

Covered by Jack Johnson

Interpreted and Tabbed by Eric-Scott Guthrie

Jack Johnson's version is faithful to the original in terms of chord progression, but instead of a full band playing (and strumming the chords) it's just Jack and his guitar. One of the main differences in the two versions is Jack leaves off the last two verses (finishes with "just a few friends") whereas Jimmy keeps going. Any way you square it though, this is a great song and easy to play.

Chord Progression:
G C G Am D G

Picking guide (finger style):

     G                  C                 Am                   D


With the lyrics... these were slightly modified by Jack Johnson, but only slightly. In other words, I hope the parrotheads won't hold it against me for what they perceive to be errors ;-).

Mother, mother ocean, I have heard you call

C                                                           G
I've wanted to sail upon your waters since I was three feet tall

              Am   D
You've seen it all,

you've seen it all

I've watched the men who rode you switch from sails to steam
And in your belly you hold the treasures few have ever seen
Most of 'em dreams, most of 'em dreams

Yes I am a pirate, a few hundred years too late
The cannons don't thunder, there's nothin' to plunder
I'm an under-forty victim of fate
Arriving too late, arriving too late

I've done a bit of smugglin', I've run my share of grass
I made enough money to buy Miami, but I pissed it away so fast
Never meant to last, never meant to last

And I have been drunk now for over two weeks
I passed out and I rallied and I sprung a few leaks
But I got stop wishin', got to go fishin'
Down to rock bottom again
with just a few friends, with just a few friends

*** This is where Johnson's version ends. Buffett adds an instrumental here and then continues on with:

I go for younger women, lived with several awhile
Though I ran 'em away, they'd come back one day
Still could manage to smile
Just takes a while, just takes a while

Mother, mother ocean, after all the years I've found
My occupational hazard being my occupation's just not around
I feel like I've drowned, gonna head uptown

I feel like I've drowned, gonna head uptown

Hope everyone enjoys this... any comments or questions please feel free to email me at As always, if you don't quite feel right just looking at the tab, listen to the song! It really helps :-)