Shanghai Kelly

San Francisco
First flesh peddler
Shanghai Kelly

Barkeep Kelly
Drugged his patrons
Opium Bourbon
Strong oblation

Set up phony
Free Booze Cruises
Lured his victims
With Toxic juices

Offered woman
To Sucker saps
When they woke
They were trapped

No free woman
Only booze
Knocked them out
Kidnapped fools

Trapped aboard
A sailing ship
To Shanghai
Unwanted Trip

First head hunter
Called a Crimp
Shanghai Kelly
Sailor Pimp

in a nutshell

  • James Kelly was a kidnapper – but he kidnapped grown men sailors
  • You could say he started a Kelly Temp Agency!
  • He ran a bar and when sailors visited would drug them with Opium laced Bourbon
  • Sailors would wake up aboard a ship they never planned on being on – and as an indentured servant
  • I love Gaelic music – from any of the islands in that part of the world. I also love how such music influenced American Bluegrass and Folk Music. I used a Tin Whistle and a Violin (fiddle) to try to get some Irish sound in it – even just a funny “wisp”


This is a horrifying story – and legendary. Its hard to believe, but must be along the lines of sex trafficking or even slavery . . .

This is a classic “Barbary Coast” story – many such stories have taken place in San Francisco, some whacky, crazy, nasty – and all hard to believe

I used tin whistle as a joke – but did kind of understand that the way you blow into it is where you cn control its sound. It a really fun little instrument.


Barbary Coast story


A silly, but fun song

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: