"Sail Away" is representative of Newman's trademark unconventional and clever approach to songwriting: it takes the form of a "come on" or a "pitch" from an American slave trader to potential slaves. The slaver attempts to convince his listeners to climb aboard his ship and "sail away" with him to America (specifically Charleston), which he portrays as a land of happiness and plenty.
The lyrics contain several subtle…
In America you'll get food to eat
Won't have to run through the jungle
And scuff up your feet
You'll just sing about Jesus and drink wine all day