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Lyr Req/Add: Whale Chasing Man (Harry Robertson)

DigiTrad:
BALLINA WHALERS
HOMELESS MAN
QUEENSLAND WHALERS
WEE DARK ENGINE ROOM
WITH THE ANTARCTIC FLEET


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Time for a Laugh and a Song (H Robertson) (6)
Lyr Req/Add: Ship Repairing Men (Harry Robertson) (22)
Licensing Songs: Harry Robertson & Hugh Jones (10)
ISO Harry Robertson Songbook (13)


John in Brisbane 21 Feb 05 - 09:21 PM
Stewie 21 Feb 05 - 10:58 PM
GUEST,John in Brisbane 22 Feb 05 - 02:15 AM
Stewie 22 Feb 05 - 02:46 AM
nutty 22 Feb 05 - 05:55 AM
Stewie 22 Feb 05 - 08:07 AM
Sandra in Sydney 22 Feb 05 - 08:31 AM
dick greenhaus 22 Feb 05 - 08:33 AM
Charley Noble 22 Feb 05 - 09:05 AM
jacko@nz 22 Feb 05 - 06:15 PM
GUEST,John in Brisbane 22 Feb 05 - 08:48 PM
Stewie 22 Feb 05 - 09:16 PM
GUEST,John ion Brisbane 24 Feb 05 - 01:32 PM
Hrothgar 28 Feb 05 - 04:43 AM
freda underhill 28 Apr 09 - 09:18 AM
freda underhill 28 Apr 09 - 09:21 AM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Whale Chasing Man
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 09:21 PM

I used to perform this song a lot 30 years ago, but with the onset of CRAFT I'm lost. It's a Harry Robonson/Robertson song of course.

'Chorus - Four on and four off are the watches we stand,
Four months upon ice with no sight of land,
And you eat standing up and you sleep if you can,
And life becomes hell for a whale chasing man'

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Lyr ADD: Whale Chasing Man
From: Stewie
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 10:58 PM

Here you go, John:

WHALE CHASING MAN

Haul away on the for' ard, and cast off down aft,
We're sailing away on a spanking new craft,
Wi the fast-running tide o'the swift RiverTees
We'll soon feel the chill o'the Northern Sea breeze

Farewell tae ye lassie, I'm sailin' awa'
Far frae yer arms tae the ice and the snow,
And whaling men sail wi regrets o'their kind,
They often leave love, and heartache behind

Chorus:
Four on and four off are the watches we stand,
Four months among ice, wi' no sight o' land,
And ye eat standing up, and ye sleep if ye can,
And life becomes hell, for the whale chasing man

Straight out o'the channel wi' its rain and its sleet
Down Africa's west coast that shimmers wi' heat,
Then further down south, more storms and gales
Are there in the path, o'the men who hunt whales.

The ice forms thick on the ship's rigging strands
And covers the deck where the gunner-man stands,
He calls for more speed when the whale tries to run,
And the eyes of the crew watch the man at the gun.

Chorus

And we chase and we kill, and we reap and we plunder,
Explosive harpoons tear whale life asunder,
Our nerves are on edge, no kind words are spoken,
And even the minds, of some men are broken

At last comes the call from the whale factory ship,
The season is over we're on the home trip;
Once more interest shines in the eyes o'the men
At the thought o' seeing their homeland again

Chorus

Hello tae ye lassie, although I did go,
Far from your arms tae the ice and the snow,
The regrets that I sailed wi' are noo at an end,
Long months o' lost love, I'm eager to spend

Think not o'the money the whaling man makes,
But think o'the life and the hardship it takes,
The rainbow o'thrills has gold at the end,
But it's harder to earn, than it is for to spend.

Chorus


Regards, Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Whale Chasing Man
From: GUEST,John in Brisbane
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 02:15 AM

Thanks so much Stewie - I'm still looking for an outrageously cheap deal to get to Alice Springs for the Top Half Festival. Will you be there?

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Req/ADD: Whale Chasing Man
From: Stewie
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 02:46 AM

Pleased to be of help, John. Yes, I'll be there in June. Hope you can make it.

Regards, Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Req/ADD: Whale Chasing Man
From: nutty
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 05:55 AM

Are you sure that the name of the river is correct?? ...... I live on the River Tees and as far as I'm aware there is no history of whaling from here.

Given the apparent scottishness of the song, could it be the River Dee or something similar????


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Subject: RE: Req/ADD: Whale Chasing Man
From: Stewie
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 08:07 AM

Nutty, I took the lyrics from the booklet to the CD reissue. 'River Tees' is what it has.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Req/ADD: Whale Chasing Man
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 08:31 AM

Stewie -

have a look at the DT songs above - "Wee Dark Engine Room" & "With the Antarctic fleet", they are Wee Pot Stove & Antarctic Fleet in the CD booklet, & there are differences in the words to "Antarctic Fleet"

I assume the words & titles as given in Whale Chasing Men CD would be correct as it's an exact reprint of the LP.

sandra

see ya @ the National??


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Subject: RE: Req/ADD: Whale Chasing Man
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 08:33 AM

"Whale Chasing Men" is available on CD. From CAMSCO of course.


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Subject: RE: Req/ADD: Whale Chasing Man
From: Charley Noble
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 09:05 AM

A great song and songwriter.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Req/ADD: Whale Chasing Man
From: jacko@nz
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 06:15 PM

Gidday Hazel,

Harry talks of a shipyard that builds whale chasing ships in Middlesbrough.

Jack


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Subject: RE: Req/ADD: Whale Chasing Man
From: GUEST,John in Brisbane
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 08:48 PM

Hi Stewie, you sweet taliking bastard! As an old fiend from Perth once told me (in relation to travel) "You either want to afford it or you don't". Janet Smith/Hughes has been putting the weights on me to attend 'cos I've been discussing her abuse/violence workshop over the last many months.

Do you have a copy of the dots for this song? I used to, but like so many other things in life they have disappeared. You can reach me at johninbrisbane lycos.com.

Best wishes to Tony and Jenny Suttor when next you see them.

Regards, John

PS It's a sad indictment that I've probably performed this song 200 times and most of the lyrics are now just a blurr.

PPS More information please about your prodigious rendition of the 'Almost Perfect Knife-Thrower' which you showcased at the Top Half Festival - the highlight of the evening at 2:11am?


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Subject: RE: Req/ADD: Whale Chasing Man
From: Stewie
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 09:16 PM

Hi John, Janet has been busily gathering material from all over. I believe I'm pencilled in to do some spoken word pieces in her presentation. She is now a Mudcat member with the moniker 'Gecko'.

I am sorry I can't help with any dots - such things are a mystery to me. The best I can offer is to send you an MP3 of the track. Let me know if you want that.

I'll pass on your regards to Tony and Jenny. I will be seeing them at a house concert at Peter Bate's place on Friday night.

The poem you refer to is Les Barker's 'Eval Schmeaval', more commonly known as 'Cosmo the Fairly Accurate Knife Thrower'. Barker is due up here in a couple of months time on his second tour of the Territory. I have been doing 'Cosmo' for decades and, on his first Territory tour, Les was startled to find folkies in Alice and Darwin turning his recitation of it into a chorus piece by joining in with gusto. If he had recited 'Quasimodo', he would have had a similar experience with nasal noises! I'm looking forward very much to his return appearance - he is a very clever and funny man.

Regards, Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Req/ADD: Whale Chasing Man
From: GUEST,John ion Brisbane
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 01:32 PM

Thanks Stewie. For the reccord I must add that Darwin folkies are very hospitable and great singers.

How about an International Mudcat convention for June 2006 in Darwin?

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Req/ADD: Whale Chasing Man
From: Hrothgar
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 04:43 AM

Harry was in Middlesborough while his catcher ship was being refitted. That was where he met his wife Rita at a dance.


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Subject: RE: Req/ADD: Whale Chasing Man (Harry Robertson)
From: freda underhill
Date: 28 Apr 09 - 09:18 AM

The Queensland folksinger Evan Mathieson has just released a new CD of Harry's songs called "Tribute to Harry Robertson" (2009). It follows Evan's earlier CD, "Harry's Legacy" (2008). Evan worked closely with Harry, learning his songs directly from him. Evan is a fine singer, and makes beautiful autoharps. Evan and his wife Lyn have put a lot of effort into documenting and keeping Harry's songs. I understand that Lyn has been negotiating with someone who will develop a website of Harry's songs.

I've been listening to both CDs and recommend them to anyone who loves harry's music.

freda


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Subject: RE: Req/ADD: Whale Chasing Man (Harry Robertson)
From: freda underhill
Date: 28 Apr 09 - 09:21 AM

Here's some more information about Harry, taken from THE HISTORY OF THE AUSTRALIAN FOLK REVIVAL - THE EARLY YEARS OF THE FOLK REVIVAL IN BRISBANE (cont.)by Malcolm J. Turnbull

Glasgow-born Harry Robertson (1923 - 1995), a seaman and former wartime officer with the British Navy, who saw service with over thirty ships "from Halifax to Buenos Aires", and worked in the whaling industry in the Antarctic and off Norfolk Island, was based in Brisbane from the late 1940s until 1970 (when he relocated to Sydney). A dedicated Marxist and sometime member of the Union Singers, he was an extraordinarily well-read individual, who could sing fluently in Swedish and Norwegian.

He is best remembered as a songwriter dedicated to continuing the tradition; many of his finely-crafted compositions documented his (sometimes harrowing) maritime and whaling experiences. Robertson's forthright manner masked a romantic and poetic soul, nurtured on Robert Burns. "Harry was a hard man ... and a soft man", remembers Dave de Hugard. In 1971 he recorded an album of his own material, Songs of a Whale Chasing Man, for MFP. Produced by Sven Libaek, the LP teamed Robertson with Alex Hood and Marian Henderson (whose stunning rendering of 'Norfolk Whalers' was the undoubted highlight of the set). Robertson's songs have been performed elsewhere by Declan Affley, Danny Spooner, Phyl Lobl and Denis Tracey.

The Moreton Bay Folk Festival, i.e. the Third National Folk Festival, was held in Brisbane, mainly in and around the University of Queensland, over Easter 1969. It (arguably) represented the peak of folkmusic activity in Queensland during the period under review, bringing together members of the BFC, the University Folk Club, North Queensland performers and enthusiasts, and local freelancers.

Harry Robertson chaired the Festival committee, Don Henderson hosted the focal Saturday evening concert at the Brisbane Town Hall, and students Andy Kruger, Phil Cook, Lyn Mathieson and Chris Nicholson provided publicity and general organisational services. Festival programmer Evan Mathieson was adamant that the festival aim for "hands-on open interaction and exchange of material and techniques, rather than theoretical pontifications of 'experts' from their 'ivory towers'". Workshop leaders included John Manifold (demonstrating and describing bush instruments), Brad Tate (leading a workshop on bawdy songs), Declan Affley (on ballads), Bill Scott and Dave de Hugard on bush yarns and Australian traditional music respectively, Glen Foster (on bluegrass) and Danny Spooner (on sea shanties). Noting the large number of interstate participants - mainly from other university campuses (100 from Sydney, 60 from Melbourne, 25 from Newcastle, 6 New Zealanders, and various sized groups from Wollongong, Armadale, Canberra and Hobart), Australian Tradition [Aug 1969] echoed a general sentiment in declaring Moreton Bay the most successful national event to date - both musically and financially: "Brisbane 1969 will be remembered as the festival which achieved a truly national status".

Evan Mathieson recalls that "the concluding session in the Royal Exchange beer garden took good care of the fiscal surplus whilst the roof was raised by the surges of instruments and voices in song". [Folk Rag, Aug 1997]


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