The Greenland Whale Fishery

from by Meadow Argus



I originally heard this sung by the mighty Watersons on the Topic records compilation, "Blow the Man Down". And it's their concise, six verse version that we used as the basis for our interpretation here.

For more information about this song, and many others, 'Mainly Norfolk' is a treasure trove of information:


The Greenland Whale Fishery

They took us jolly sailor lads
A-fishing for the whale.
On the fourth day of August in 1864
Bound for Greenland we set sail.

The lookout stood on the cross-trees high
With a spyglass in his hand.
“There's a whale, there's a whale, there's a whale-fish,” he cried,
“And she blows at every span.”

The captain stood on the quarterdeck,
And a sod of a man was he.
“Overhaul, overhaul, let your davit tackles fall.”
And we'll launch them boats to sea.

We struck that whale and the line played out
But she gave a flurry with her tail.
And the boat capsized, we lost seven of our men,
And we never caught that whale.

Now the losing of seven fine seamen,
It grieved the captain sore.
But the losing of a bloody sperm whale
Oh, it grieved him ten times more.

Now, Greenland is a horrid place,
Where our fisher lads have to go,
Where the rose and the lily never bloom in spring;
No there's only ice and snow


from Fish Dreams the Universe, track released April 4, 2019
Traditional, Arranged by. J. Cole

Jevan Cole - Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Korg Monotribe, Bass Guitar
Coby Cole Stegman - Vocals


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Meadow Argus QLD, Australia

Meadow Argus is the studio based musical project through which Australian composer, Jevan Cole explores the rich, deep and underlying connections between traditional folk musics, psychedelia, folklore, mythology and environmentalism. Meadow Argus launches into deep space on a seething bed of tape delays, ebows, synths and found sounds. ... more

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