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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Whaleship Essex

Whaleship Essex
Words by Lloyd Miller
Music by Ely Levin and Lloyd Miller
(c)(p) 2011

appears on Strange Dees, Indeed by the Deedle Deedle Dees (release date: October 31, 2011) 

BOOKER (pretending to be a PBS voice-over guy)
Once there was a ship
It was a real ship
It was a whaleship

DEES and DEAN (pretending to be dead sailors)
Whaleship Essex!

The ship met a whale
It was a real whale
It was a sperm whale

Sperm whale in the Pacific!

When that whale drove its head right into the ship
The Essex sank to the bottom

But before it did, survivors gathered what they could from the wreckage...

That's when the real adventure began

There were three boats
small boats
whale boats

Escaped from the Essex!

Their Food and stuff
Weren't nearly enough
And they took to
the Open Pacific!

One thousand miles west
Were  islands that
some said
Were home to, yes,
cannibal civilization
A vote by surviving crew
Capt Pollard overruled
The boats set course for South America

Boat 1: Owen Chase and his sailors separated in a squall
Boat 2: In Pollard's boat all the food was gone before long
Boat 3: Hendricks and co were never seen again
But somebody came back to tell us bout the whole thing
No water no food for days what would you do?
Sailors baking in the sun, son, what would you do?
And how's the story end for the poor Essex crew?
Well go read a book by Philbrick cos I don't think I can tell you

And just like Moby Dick
What this whale did was sick
He picked up speed and rammed the Essex

When Melville heard this tale
Of a whaleship and a whale
He was sailing in the South Pacific

On a whaleship...

Not far from where the Essex sank...

Dean = Dean Jones, producer of our record, leader of Dog on Fleas

If you're a regular reader of this blog then you know I'm obsessed with whales, whaleships, Moby Dick, Herman Melville, and the nonfiction books of Nathaniel Philbrick. Rather than post yet again about these important topics, I'll just say, yet again, read these books:

In the Heart of the Sea - Nathaniel Philbrick (short, breathtaking account of the Essex. You'll read it in an afternoon. This afternoon!)

Revenge of the Whale
- Nathaniel Philbrick (same story re-written for YA audience)

Moby Dick - Herman Melville
People always joke about Moby Dick and War and Peace and how they're so long and they say things like "I'd read Moby Dick before I'd do that" and... this makes me really mad. Read Moby Dick. It's not that long. Then read War and Peace. It's somewhat longer but not that long. Both books are well worth your time. Both are better than "Mad Men," better than "The Wire," better than any of the stuff people hear I haven't seen and say "YOU HAVE TO WATCH IT RIGHT NOW." Yeah yeah yeah. READ MOBY DICK!

Who does what on "Whaleship Essex"
Booker Dee (Chris Johnson): harpsichord, marching band bass drum, narration, dead sailor vocals
Moby Dee (Ari Dolegowski): mandolin
Otto von Dee (Ely Levin): drums, scary piano
Ulysses S. Dee (Lloyd Miller): lead vocals, dead sailor vocals
Dean Jones: recording, mixing, rhumba box, dead sailor vocals