“This is an example of the subgenre known as Hyperspace Shanties (or ‘hypershanties’ for short). Unlike other star shanties of the time, these were not work songs. Rather, the crew would sing them as a means of passing the time while the ship was in hyper, which usually required fewer hands on deck than when they were in realspace.
This particular hypershanty revolves around the (in)famous pirate Hondo Ohnaka. As he was well known for his staggeringly tall tales regarding his exploits, the ‘game’ of the shanty was to create as outlandish a story as you could about Ohnaka’s supposed adventures.In some variants of the song (such as the one included here), the shantysinger would add another layer to the game by throwing in a verse about something that Hondo actually did; the crew would then have to guess the true verse from the lies. It is worth noting that this variant was only able to work because some of Ohnaka’s real adventures wound up being more fantastic and bizarre than even the strangest fiction.”