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You never know what's going to inspire a song. In this case it was a story that flashed across my Facebook timeline that featured a sweet-looking gray-haired lady in glasses that looked like everybody's cookie-baking grandma. But the headline made me think that her cookies might be only half-baked: "Creationist who thinks Obama was a gay prostitute poised to join Texas Board of Education". (See link in Track Credits)

The half-baked cookie that set off the songwriting muse was the part about the dinosaurs aboard Noah's Ark (they was aboard her, don'tcha know!) Here's what immediately went thru what was left of my brain after reading the piece:

"The beasties came from near and far
From ants to wild boars
And the Texas Board of Ed.
Says also dinosaurs"

I quickly noted that down. (The final version is slightly re-worded.) Well, Noah's Ark has a nautical aspect, so I figured maybe I had a start on a new sea shanty. I remembered that some shanties would tell a story as the sailors worked, and I tried to imagine myself as a bosun on some sailing vessel shifted forward in time from the old days, singing out as the crew heaves at the capstan to weigh anchor. And what, I thought, would the rough and tumble sailor's take on the Noah's Ark story?

The end result is "Noah Could Not Navigate" - a capstan shanty in the old tradition with some modern-day American lunacy woven in.

Special thanks to my mailing list subscriber Evan M. from Norfolk, England for suggesting the song title. He wrote me: "Love the song, mate! I really thought it was an old shanty until I heard the Texas bit!"


Old Noah could not navigate
But still he built a boat
She had nor sails nor steering gear
But leastways she did float

Weigh, hey! Heave away!
Heave the capstan 'round
Weigh, hey! Heave away!
Heave the anchor off the ground

He builded every cubit
As Jehovah him did tell
And he pitched her in and out with pitch
She must have looked like hell!


The beasties came from near and far
From ants to wild boars
And Texas educators tell us
Also dinosaurs


His neighbors they did mock him
Saying old Noah was insane
Conspiracy theories abounded
Even as it began to rain


Climate change deniers
Noah heard their howls and groans
As the Ark she floated off
And the all met Davy Jones


Old Noah could not navigate
Just rode before the gale
And he ran her aground on a mountain top
And so here ends my tale



released April 8, 2016
Creative commons sounds and images:
Waves & Seagulls: felix.blume

Bubbles: MattJ99

Photo of painting "Noah's Ark (1846) by Edward Hicks"
flickr/Jim the Photographer

flickr/Mighty Travels

The inspiring story:



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Robert Palomo - New Old Sea Shanties & Songs Saint Petersburg, Russia

Robert Palomo is an American singer-songwriter based in Saint-Petersburg, Russia where he has lived for 20 years.

A multi-instrumentalist with a passion for acoustic music, he is recording songs he has written over several decades, plus new ones that keep popping up.

His latest project is original maritime folk songs.

His is a different story - do follow along!
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