Salvesen's Whaling Song

Title - Salvesen's Whaling Song
Contributors - Wattie Wright
Reporters - Hamish Henderson
Item Person - Salvesen, Christian

Summary - Fragments of an industrial song, in which the singer describes his experience as a whaler for Salvesen of Leith. The work is hard, including long periods of boredom. Although the food isn't bad, it could be better - the whale steaks and mashed potato look as though they have been through the separator [used on whaling ships for extracting oil from blubber].

Wattie Wright served in a whaling fleet in the Antarctic in the winter of 1939-1940, and recalls that most of the whalers had this song.

Track Duration (h:m:s) - 00:01:32
Date Recorded - 1963.03
Language - English, Scots
Genre - Song, Information
Collection - School of Scottish Studies

Track ID - 46861
Original Tape ID - SA1963.084
Original Track ID - SA1963.84.B5
Audio Quality - Fair
Audio Format - R2R

Recording Location:
  County - Midlothian
  Parish - Edinburgh
  Village - Edinburgh

Item Location:
  County - Midlothian
  Parish - Edinburgh
  Village - Leith

Item Notes - 2 verses of 4 lines, with chorus of 2 lines after each verse.
Tune and chorus modelled on the song 'Auld Maid in a Garret' (Roud Folk Song Index no. 802). 'Salvesen' refers to Christian Salvesen & Co., a shipping company established in Leith in 1872, which began whaling at the end of the nineteenth century. The island referred to in the song may well be South Georgia (near the Falkland islands) where the company established a base called Leith Harbour.
'Salvesen of Leith' (W. Vamplew, 1975)

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