"Jack Was Every Inch a Sailor." A loose retelling of the biblical Jonah story with a Newfoundland fisherman as the hero, this folksong seems to have been adapted from the New York music-hall song "Every Inch a Sailor." The US folklorist Phillips Barry noted that it is a localized version of the words (but not the tune) of "the original burlesque of 'Pinafore,' as sung by Miss Venie Clancy and printed in White's Complete Music Album, Boston, 1884," and that ballad singer "Frank Crumit made a gramophone record of it which was popular" (1928, Victor 21668). It was published by Greenleaf and Mansfield in Ballads and Sea Songs of Newfoundland (Cambridge, Mass 1933) and recorded by Alan Mills on Folk Songs of Newfoundland (1953, Folkways FW-6931), as well as by Dick Nolan, Tom Kines, and Omar Blondahl. Richard Johnston wrote a choral arrangement (Waterloo 1959).


Now 'twas twenty-five or thirty years since Jack first saw the light;
He came into this world of woe one dark and stormy night.
He was born on board his father's ship as she was lying to,
'Bout twenty-five or thirty miles southeast of Bacalhao.


Jack was every inch a sailor, five and twenty years a whaler;
Jack was every inch a sailor; he was born upon the bright blue sea.


When Jack grew up to be a man, he went to Labrador;
He fished in Indian harbour where his father fished before;
On his returning in the fog, he met a heavy gale,
And Jack was swept into the sea and swallowed by a whale.


Jack was every inch a sailor, five and twenty years a whaler;
Jack was every inch a sailor; he was born upon the bright blue sea.


The whale went straight for Baffin's Bay 'bout ninety knots an hour,
And every time he'd blow a spray he'd send it in a shower.
"Oh, now," says Jack unto himself, "I must see what he's about."
He caught the whale all by the tail and turned him inside out.


Jack was every inch a sailor, five and twenty years a whaler;
Jack was every inch a sailor; he was born upon the bright blue sea.