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Chords to Nic Jones' Humpback Whale

GUEST,Martin N (www.norcsalordie.com) 05 Mar 07 - 08:25 AM
GUEST, Grimmy 05 Mar 07 - 09:34 AM
The Borchester Echo 05 Mar 07 - 09:42 AM
GUEST 05 Mar 07 - 09:48 AM
The Sandman 05 Mar 07 - 03:21 PM
GUEST, Grimmy 06 Mar 07 - 05:38 AM
GUEST,Martin N (www.norcsalordie.com) 06 Mar 07 - 08:27 AM
GUEST,Riverman 06 Mar 07 - 11:52 AM
GUEST 07 Mar 07 - 10:15 AM
The Borchester Echo 07 Mar 07 - 10:45 AM
GUEST 07 Mar 07 - 12:03 PM
GUEST,Gerry 07 Mar 07 - 08:58 PM
GUEST 13 Mar 07 - 09:11 PM
GUEST,Murray 21 Mar 07 - 06:05 PM
Murray MacLeod 21 Mar 07 - 07:44 PM
GUEST,Graham 09 Jul 18 - 12:29 AM
The Sandman 09 Jul 18 - 12:05 PM
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Subject: Chords to Nic Jones' Humpback Whale
From: GUEST,Martin N (www.norcsalordie.com)
Date: 05 Mar 07 - 08:25 AM

If you're interested I just figured out the three chords that Nic uses in Humpback Whale - (in standard tuning) funny sustains but the roots are:

E(022400)
A(002400)
and B(024400)

Not sure if this will let you play along with the original - you may need to tune the guitar down (but still in standard tuning variant EADGBe) or capo it - I haven't got the song to hand at the moment - but it's these basic shapes that should see you good :)
Lyrics should be around on the net

Hope this helps anyone with this top top tune
Big love to Nic

Regards
Martin N
www.norcsalordie.com
www.myspace.com/norcsalordie


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Subject: RE: Chords to Nic Jones' Humpback Whale
From: GUEST, Grimmy
Date: 05 Mar 07 - 09:34 AM

Thanks for that Martin. I'll give it a try.

I'm working on 'Texas Girl at the Funeral of Her Father', 'Flanders/dyke Shore' and 'Hamburger Polka' at the moment. Half the battle is discovering what tuning he uses!


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Subject: RE: Chords to Nic Jones' Humpback Whale
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 05 Mar 07 - 09:42 AM

The other half (in fact a lot more than half) is understanding and reproducing the technique. This piece by Mike Raven demystifies some of this and lists some tunings:

http://www.folkmusic.net/htmfiles/inart_nicjones_guitarstyle.htm


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Subject: RE: Chords to Nic Jones' Humpback Whale
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Mar 07 - 09:48 AM

.....in fact, now I think of it, I'm pretty sure that Nic plays 'Humpback' in CGCGCD.

I'll check when I get home.


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Subject: RE: Chords to Nic Jones' Humpback Whale
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Mar 07 - 03:21 PM

ok lets be more specific, your first chord is e modal. the a chord is a9 and your b chord is b sus 4.
its important to name the chords correctly.


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Subject: RE: Chords to Nic Jones' Humpback Whale
From: GUEST, Grimmy
Date: 06 Mar 07 - 05:38 AM

These are the chords for the introduction (I'm doing this from memory so I'm not sure about capo position etc).

Tuning: CGCGCD

05050X
04040X
02020X
00000X

X02020
slide to:
X05050
X04040
X02020

This should give the 'flavour' of the song.


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Subject: RE: Chords to Nic Jones' Humpback Whale
From: GUEST,Martin N (www.norcsalordie.com)
Date: 06 Mar 07 - 08:27 AM

Sadly I'm more of a play by ear - I can list minors, majors and most 7ths but other than that I really just play what sounds nice. Undoubtedly Nic played it in CGCGCD but I thought I'd put up an approximation in standard tuning. It's not a serious transcript, but just thought it might give the basis for an interpretation?

Peace
MN


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Subject: RE: Chords to Nic Jones' Humpback Whale
From: GUEST,Riverman
Date: 06 Mar 07 - 11:52 AM

I used to think that CGCGCD was the tuning but the painstaking work I did ended up almost the same but with DGCGCD. This gives the right bass note (and allows you to do the fiddly bit) when he sings '...fishing for the humpback whale...'. Hope that helps as it really unlocked the song for me.


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Subject: RE: Chords to Nic Jones' Humpback Whale
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Mar 07 - 10:15 AM

This songs plays just as easily out of DADGAG. Use the bottom two string for a D base run for the verses.
For any ones information- Harry Robertson wrote the song. Robertson was an Antarctic whalemen down in Leith Harbor South Georgia in the Post WW11 1940s. His album Whale Chasing Men ( now CD) is the best musical and poetical documentation of that whale fishery ever published. His surviving family was none too happy with the credit oversight on Penguin Eggs. It's a coincidence that AL Lloyd was also on an Antarctic whaler about the same time. See his liner notes on the LP Leviathan. Nic's version of Humpback Whale, though very cool, bears little resemblance to the original composition. Still it is a wonderful interpretation which Nic Jones was a master at doing.


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Subject: RE: Chords to Nic Jones' Humpback Whale
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 07 Mar 07 - 10:45 AM

The lack of credit on Penguin Eggs vinyl LP (1980) was just that, an oversight. Nic is notorious for not quite remembering where he got songs or tunes from.
When the album was reissued on CD (1991), The Humpback Whale is credited with having been derived from Harry Robertson's Ballina Whalers.


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Subject: RE: Chords to Nic Jones' Humpback Whale
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Mar 07 - 12:03 PM

Thank you for that clarification. You are correct an oversight is just that. No slight intended to Nic. His contribution to the folk music scene vocally, instrumentally and interpretively is nearly overwhelming, truly a man of great gifts and talents.


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Subject: RE: Chords to Nic Jones' Humpback Whale
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 07 Mar 07 - 08:58 PM

I don't get the part about "his [Harry Robertson's] surviving family."

Robertson was alive when the LP was released in 1980, and still alive
when it was reissued on CD in 1991.


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Subject: RE: Chords to Nic Jones' Humpback Whale
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Mar 07 - 09:11 PM

This from the Whaling Songs Of Harry Robertson songbook.

"I found the whale chaser, Byron 1, just after midnight.

Silhouetted against the background of sleeping Ballina, she lay quietly on the Richmond River. I was expected on board and after a brief talk with the gunner, a few hours sleep, we cast off at dawn and headed out to sea and Byron Bay.

You can walk no further east in Australia than Cape Byron without emulating a feat performed only once before by Mr. J.C., we mortals, however, relied on the timber built, engine powered ex-naval 'Fairmile' to keep us afloat while we chased the humpback whales.

The crew on board this 'Brumbie' type whaling craft, to me, epitomised the 'Have a go, Aussies'. With no history of icy whaling tradition behind them, they fronted up to the task of capturing 40 and 50 foot whales, this was indeed a far cry from prawn net and hand line which had been their main tools as trawler men.

They knew the coast, they knew the bay and they could read the weather signs more accurately than the weather bureau, consequently, their early advice enabled us to weather many a bad blow in the comfort of a Ballina hotel. Apart from the few thousand monstrous whales we caught in various hotel bars on such occasions, we delivered the required quota to the factory.

Cocrete proof and a tribute to the adaptability of the AUSSIE."

(D) In 'fifty six I sailed on board a
(G) ship caleed Byron (A7)one,
    she (D)carried (A7)trawler (D)men on (G)deck
    and a (Bm) harpoon whaling (A7) gun.

   With a tractor as a whale winch ship
   The ship an old fairmile,
   twin diesels turned the props aroon
   we whaled the Aussie style.

Chorus

(D)Heigh (G)Ho ye trawler (A7) men come on,
   for(Bm)get the schnapper and the (A7) prawn,
   and it's (D) out of (A7) Ballin(D)a we'll (G) sail
   a'-- (Bm) fishing (A7) for the (G) humpback (D) whale.

So keep a sharp lookout me lads
for the whale is on the run,
and we'll chase them into Byron Bay
and kill them with our gun.

The harpoon and the line fly true
bedding deep into the whale,
and she split the timbers of the ship
with a flurry of her tail.

Chorus

The rigging struts were snapped in two,
we reeled beneath the blow.
But the gunner fired a killer shot
and the humpback sank below.

Chorus

Now make her tail fast to the bow,
we've got no time for bed.
For four and twenty hours each day
we kept that factory fed.

The flensing men upon the land,
some had been jackaroos,
but they skinned the blubber off them whales
like they'd skinned the kangaroos.

Chorus

One hundred whales, then fifty more
to the factory we did send.
Till a message said "Knock off me lads",
the seasons at an end.

Back to Ballina we sailed,
tied up and stowed the gear.
Then all hands headed for the pub;
and we filled ourselves with beer.

Chorus


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Subject: RE: Chords to Nic Jones' Humpback Whale
From: GUEST,Murray
Date: 21 Mar 07 - 06:05 PM

This may contribute to the wealth of knowledge and learning, or probably not.

I've been playing it for a few years in the key of A in DAEEAE, with these chords :

X0000X
X0400X
00220X
X2002X

slide up to

oh X5005X
men X4004X
forget 00220X
prawn X0000X

etc you get the idea.

Lord knows how I found that tuning. It works well, esp as you can hammer on the low B in the last chord in the intro. The outside strings are there more for sympathetic vibration than anything. But the fact that I don't use them would seem to suggest there's room for improvement. I'll have a go at that other tuning with lots of Cs and Gs and see what happens. Thanks folks.

M


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Subject: RE: Chords to Nic Jones' Humpback Whale
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 21 Mar 07 - 07:44 PM

just in case anybody wonders, I am not the author of that interesting post above.

I am going to have a crack at Guest Murray's version, however, and see where it leads.

FWIW, I have never been able to get to grips with C modal tuning. I know Nic used this for Canadee-I-O, but IMHO it is a damn sight easier to play it in straight Open C [CGCGCE]with no loss of subtlety that I can detect.

Then again, I love Open D, DADF#AD, but have never come to terms with DADGAD, so perhaps I am modally challenged.


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Subject: RE: Chords to Nic Jones' Humpback Whale
From: GUEST,Graham
Date: 09 Jul 18 - 12:29 AM

This is a very old thread, so not sure if anyone still reads it -- but just in case, I'm pretty certain that the correct tuning is a variant of open G. The critical part, and what is lacking in the above tuning suggestions, is that the B string is tuned down to G to be a double drone string. I have the best luck playing it in DGDGGD and capoing up to the 2nd fret (the recording is in A). However, given Nic's fondness for open C, it's possible he played it in CFCFFC and capoed up to 4. I don't like this as much on my particular guitar, which doesn't hold such a low tuning as easily; but given how much the drone string is flopping around on the recording, it wouldn't surprise me if this is where he was tuned.

The voicings are all pretty straightforward in these tunings, but as always with Nic, it's the right hand that is both unfathomable and inscrutable. Still...hope this helps. Happy hunting, lads!


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Subject: RE: Chords to Nic Jones' Humpback Whale
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Jul 18 - 12:05 PM

cgcgcd is bsed on the banjo tuning two c, dgdgcd is based on sawmill, possibly the trick is to damp the string that would be the high string on the banjo, so it is just a percussive thump


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