Mudcat Café message #797632 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #17141   Message #797632
Posted By: Charley Noble
06-Oct-02 - 11:07 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: The Fishfinger Song (Miles Wootton)
Here's my revision of "Fresh-Water Whaling" which includes relocating the whaling grounds to the proper place, Green Bay, and revising the tune:


(Original concept by Scott Alarik in the late 1970's; lyrics by Si Kahn
Mark Cohen learned this from Mary Benson in Portland, Oregon.
Recalls those halcyon days when the St. Lawrence was deeper
and broader; whales made their way into the Great Lakes
to sport and play only to be later hunted to extinction.
Adapted by Charlie Ipcar in 2001
Tune: after Jez Lowe's "Black Diamonds")

Now when I was a tiny lad, no bigger than a youth,
I'd walk along the seawall where the waters meet Duluth;
The whaling boats were a-coming in, the wind would fill their sails,
And I'd dream of going hunting for them fierce fresh-water whales.

The first ship that I signed on was called The Great St. Paul;
Her old sod sides were sturdy and her cornstalk masts were tall;
Her captain was an older man, but well preserved with rum,
Which he'd only started drinking when a perch bit off his thumb.


Oh, the wailing of the women, I can still recall,
As they watched our sails grow smaller, from the old seawall;
We young men were determined to heed our fathers' call,
We'd go fresh-water whaling, or not come back at all.

That night we heard the barking of them Apostle Island seals;
For our passage round the Keweenaw, our ship we put on wheels;
We polished all our decoys with bowling alley wax,
And lined our trusty whaling clubs with extra rows of tacks.

Now the wind it was a-rising, our decks were swept with spray,
When we launched our wooden decoys in the waters of Green Bay;
We didn't want to scare the whales, so we muffled oars with care,
Rowed out to the horizon and dropped our anchors there. (CHO)

After forty days and thirty nights our hunger pangs grew rough,
The last whale had been hunted down -- God hadn't made enough;
The decoys were our only hope, we were a desperate bunch,
So we sawed them into plank steaks, and broiled them up for lunch.

Now when we limped back to Duluth, they all did stand and stare,
We looked so thin and ragged, our lives they did despair;
But unlike the Flying Dutchman, whose story you'll recall,
We resettled in Minneapolis, do our whaling at the Mall. (CHO)

Charley Noble