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Lyr Req: Wings of a Goney


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Whaler's Lament / Whalerman's Lament (28)
Lyr Req: Weary Whaling Grounds (3)

Artful Codger 04 Jan 10 - 11:55 PM
Joe Offer 05 Jan 10 - 02:52 AM
Steve Gardham 20 Jul 13 - 02:18 PM
Lighter 20 Jul 13 - 03:34 PM
Steve Gardham 21 Jul 13 - 01:09 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Wings of a Goney
From: Artful Codger
Date: 04 Jan 10 - 11:55 PM

Can someone PM me (or post) the words to "Wings of a Goney" as originally recorded in the log of the Ocean Rover (1859)? All the versions posted here, both in the DT and in the threads on "The Whalerman's Lament" and Bertsongs, seem to be based on Lloyd's reworking, "The Weary Whaling Ground"/"Wings of a Gull".

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Subject: Lyr Add: THE WINGS OF A GONEY
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Jan 10 - 02:52 AM

Hi, Codger-
I hope this does the trick for you.


If I had the wings of a goney
I would fly to my own native home
I would leave Desolation's cold weary ground
For for right whales for us there is none

For the weather is rough and the wind it does blow
And comforts are not to be found here
I would sooner be at home in some Dutch grocery shop
Eating crackers and cheese or drinking beer

For a man must be foolish to venture so far
On the broad blue expanse catching whales
When he knows that his life is in danger at times
Or his head being smashed by their tails

But whaling has its charms for the young and green hands
And he makes up his mind when he goes
In a very short time he would sooner hear a curse
As the unwelcome sound there she blows

It is first learn the compass with thirty-two points
Or else lose your whole watch below
But that is not all to his sorrow he will find
Two hours to the masthead he must go

He descends to the deck with head dizzy and sick
And for life he would not give a damn
When the mate accosts him with Johnny my boy
Get a rubber and rub down spun yarn

After bearing these trials for well nigh four years
The flying jibboom points for home
He's supposed to have eight or ten barrels of oil
And an equal share of the bone

But he goes to the agents to settle his voyage
And there he finds cause to repent
He finds he has spent four years of his life
And not earned a single red cent

Ocean Rover 1859

    The goney is a bird of the albatross family. Today American sailors in the Pacific call it the "gooney bird."

    The last two stanzas of the song tell a story that, sad to tell, was often only too true. Whalemen could become deeply in debt to the ship for clothing and tobacco from the slop chest, and perhaps also, sometimes for advances for shore leave. And thus at the end of a three or four year voyage, the whaleman might have nothing at all to show for those years out of his life. It was to avoid this danger that many whalemen wore clothing that had been patched and repatched and then patched again.

    This song sings very well to the tune of "The Prisoner's Song," which begins, "If I had the wings of an eagle across the wide sea I would fly." I wonder if there can be any connection between the two songs.

Source: Songs the Whalemen Sang, by Gale Huntington, 1964, pp 38-39

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Wings of a Goney
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Jul 13 - 02:18 PM

Are there any other versions other than the 1859 and Bert's rewrite?

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Wings of a Goney
From: Lighter
Date: 20 Jul 13 - 03:34 PM

None that I know of.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Wings of a Goney
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Jul 13 - 01:09 PM

Thanks, Jon. I thought not.

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