Jon introduces this somewhat enigmatically with, “This is worth learning in case you find yourself on a midnight punting expedition in need of an appropriate song (as happened to me once.) Ian Giles sings the Dibdin original – I think I prefer this version though which has gone through the folk-process.” Ian is a member of The Oxford Waits and we can be precise about the origins of this, originally titled The Jolly Young Waterman as it was written by Dibdin for his ballad opera The Waterman (also known by the name My Poll And My Partner Joe), which was first performed at Haymarket Theatre in 1774. Dibdin was an actor, musician, dramatist, composer and author and this was written during a successful tenure at Drury Lane. He seems to be have led a somewhat colourful life and you can read the details on Wiki here. This song is one of several Dibdin references in Dickens appearing in The Pickwick Papers.