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April 19, 2011 10:00 PM   Subscribe

Nantucket Sleighride takes its title from 19th century whaling slang. The song is dedicated to the memory of Owen Coffin, ship's mate aboard the Whaleship Essex.

Owen Chase, first mate of the Essex, survived the disater and went on to write Narrative of the Most Extraordinary and Distressing Shipwreck of the Whale-Ship Essex, which was a news sensation in its day, and the real-life inspiration behind Hermam Melville's Moby Dick. The Essex sailed from Nantucket, but Melville had his fictional Pequod sail from the nearby port of New Bedford, which today is home to the Whaling Museum, and the Seaman's Bethel, where you can still sit in Melville's pew.

Nathaniel Philbrick's non-fiction re-telling of the Essex disaster, In The Heart of the Sea, was published in 2001, to wide acclaim.

Previously, Previously.
posted by Devils Rancher (14 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Leslie and Felix. Gods of Rock.
posted by puny human at 10:04 PM on April 19, 2011


One Last Cold Kiss When I was 13 and found this album in my hippy older sister's record collection I would pick up the needle, find the groove, and play this one song over and over. part folk, prog, rock, garage, and a sound unlike any other.

Live 1970 - Theme For An Imaginary Western
posted by puny human at 10:18 PM on April 19, 2011


I wonder if the whales sang songs about being slaughtered. It always sounds to my ears like they do.
posted by joannemullen at 10:24 PM on April 19, 2011


Theme For An Imaginary Western is fucking amazing. One of those songs you just can't stop until it's over. What a vastly underrated band... they were a big influence on the early metal scene, also!
posted by vorfeed at 10:33 PM on April 19, 2011


Just listen to Pappalardi's funky fuzz bass mixed with Leslie's growl on something like Baby I'm Down (3:12). Now that is some white boy blues right there.

Look to the Wind
posted by puny human at 10:45 PM on April 19, 2011


Something is seriously wrong with me when I immediately think of the Denver jock strap or a Cleveland Steamer as being in the same league as a 'Nantucket sleighride'.

Don't even ask me what I think this could be… in bed
posted by coachfortner at 11:03 PM on April 19, 2011




Which also happens to be the way the album opens.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 11:44 PM on April 19, 2011


Something is seriously wrong with me when I immediately think of the Denver jock strap or a Cleveland Steamer as being in the same league as a 'Nantucket sleighride'.

A Cleveland Steamer. Is that where you sit in Herman Melville's pew?
posted by hal9k at 11:58 PM on April 19, 2011


Nantucket Sleighride (or the bit at the end, anyway) was the theme music for Weekend World, a Sunday lunchtime current affairs programme in the 1970s where politicians and union leaders talked at great length about what they were doing. I like the music, because it means there will be lunch soon.

Quite an exciting theme, though, for the dullest programme in the history of the world, even including the test card.
posted by Grangousier at 2:04 AM on April 20, 2011


Philbrick does a great job with the story in The Heart of the Sea. And anyone who's interested in contextualizing that story in the history of American whaling would do well to check out Eric Jay Dolin's Leviathan. I've just recently finished it, and it's quite good.

I, um, don't have anything to add about the band. Sorry. Though I put the over/under at 6 posts before someone gives us a youtube Mastodon link -- a comment of which I would greatly approve.
posted by .kobayashi. at 5:04 AM on April 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Considering "Theme For An Imaginary Western" was written by Jack Bruce, my favorite version is this one, with Jack singing and Leslie West doing some one of the most fitting guitar solos ever.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 5:22 AM on April 20, 2011


I put the over/under at 6 posts before someone gives us a youtube Mastodon link.

Heh, I'll go there. Leviathan is a a pretty solid album. I saw them do Hearts Alive at SXSW 3 years ago.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:24 AM on April 20, 2011


There's some doubt about whether the term "Nantucket sleighride" was actually used by whalemen, or was romanticized salty language appearing mainly in memoirs and secondary sources. Some of my colleagues have been searching for a use of the phrase contemporaneous with peak whaling and from a source inside the industry for a few decades and have not yet found anything. The earliest is an 1831 mention of the phrase in a kids' story, and whaling on Nantucket was starting its decline as the industry moved to the mainland. The whalemen themselves generally referred to that portion of the hunt as "the chase" or "fastened on" or "being fast to a whale."
posted by Miko at 10:30 AM on April 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


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