Weary Whaling Grounds

from Salt Parade live by Sara Bouchard

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A traditional song about the Greenland right whaling industry of the mid-1800s.


If I had the wings of a gull, my boys,
I would spread them and fly home.
I'd leave old Greenland's icy shores
For of right whales there are none.

And the weather is rough and the winds do blow
There's little comfort here.
I'd sooner be snug in a Deptford pub,
A-drinkin' of strong beer.

For a man must be mad or want money bad
To venture catchin' whales.
For he may be drowned when the great fish turns around
Or his head smashed in by the tail.

But the work seems grand to the young green hand,
When he makes up his mind and he goes.
In a very short burst he'd a-sooner hear a curse
Than the cry of “There she blows!”

“All hands on deck now, for God's sake,
Move swiftly if you can.”
And he stumbles on deck, he's so dizzy, he's so sick;
For his life he don't give a damn.

And high overhead the great fluke spread,
And the mate gives the whale the iron,
And soon the blood in a purple flood
From the spout-hole comes a-flying!

These trials we bear for nigh four years,
Till the flying jib points for home.
We're supposed for our toil to get a bonus on the oil,
And an equal share of the bone.

But we go to the agent to settle for the trip,
And we've find we've cause to repent.
We've slaved away four years of our lives
And earned about three pound ten.


from Salt Parade live, released August 17, 2017


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Sara Bouchard Richmond, Virginia

I am a multi-disciplinary artist and songwriter with a strong foothold in American roots. As an artist, I investigate ways to interact with and represent the American landscape through song. As a musician, I perform original and traditional tunes - drawn from bluegrass, old-time, jazz, country and blues - with my band SALT PARADE. ... more

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