Jan's interesting annotation, theorizing that Ian drew the inspiration for the song from the Vietnamese boat people at the end of the war, who fled the country looking for a new home, but instead became refugees drifting on the sea:
I have to admit that up until last night I really hadn't a clue. But it seems this one simply asks us to examine our behavior towards animals (and perhaps the environment) as well as each other....
Old lady with a barrow; life near ending Standing by the harbour wall; warm wishes sending children on the cold sea swell not fishers of men gone to chase away the last herring: come empty home again.
So come all you lovers of the good life on your supermarket run Set a sail of your own devising and be there when the Dutchman comes.
First we have the old women wishing the younger generation well as they set off on their fishing boats only to find that the waters have been over-fished.
The "fishers of men" line means people who kill animals. As Jesus supposedly called on some fisherman to stop fishing, and follow him, where he would make them "fishers of men." This seems to follow through into the chorus where in the present while on our "super market run" we have the power to make "better" decisions by not eating meat.
I can only guess that unlike what was written in folklore - being there to welcome the Flying Dutchman is a metaphor for doing the right thing.
Wee girl in a straw hat: from far east warring Sad cargo of an old ship: young bodies whoring Slow ocean hobo ports closed to her crew No hope of immigration keep on passing through.
So come all you lovers of the good life your children playing in the sun set a sympathetic flag a-flying and be there when the Dutchman comes.
Ian's using the plight of these Vietnamese immigrants to make a case for us all to open our arms (and shores) to others, so they too might make a home.
Interesting how this was at a time that when I never even gave it a glancing thought. I wonder if Ian contemplated the language issue....
Death grinning like a scarecrow Flying Dutchman Seagull pilots flown from nowhere try and touch one as she slips in on the full tide and the harbour-master yells All hands vanished with the captain no one left, the tale to tell.
So come all you lovers of the good life Look around you, can you see? Staring ghostly in the mirror it's the Dutchman you will be floating slowly out to sea in a misty misery.
In the end we're told to take a look at ourselves. Are we doing the best we can for the environment and each other? If not we better change, or suffer the fate of those aboard the Flying Dutchman.
Makes sense or am I off base? More on the music later...
Great analysis there, Paul, I like the way you deconstructed the lyrics and examined their meaning in that way. I think you are right when you say the song asks us to examine our relationship with nature and each other. It is a major theme that runs across many of the albums both before and after Stormwatch.
I never caught the biblical 'fishers of men' allusion before...very interesting, and I guess I never realized the song was at least partly about the depletion of the environment and natural resources, in this case overfishing, but it makes perfect sense in the context of the rest of the album.
You've really hit the nail on the head. The song has nothing to do with the legendary ship or captain. Ian is using the ship as a metaphor for being "lost", i.e., acting in a careless, thoughtless or unsympathetic manner, and the phrase "be there when the Dutchman comes" clearly is a metaphor for acting in a moral and ethical way.
The missing Malaysian airliner is strikingly similar to the Flying Dutchman in the great Tull song from Stormwatch.
It is actually flying (as opposed to sailing) and is apparently the victim of a Far East hijacking or terrorism (i.e., "from Far East warring"), and "all hands have vanished with the captain - no one left, the tale to tell."
If it was blown up over the ocean, then "it is floating slowly out to sea, in a misty misery", or a misty mystery, if no debris is ever found.
Two quick observations, perhaps only slightly off topic. First, musically, I've often thought the beginning to the little 'jig' part -- the brief section with whistles -- has an almost 'Korean' if not more broadly East Asian sound to it. It's remarkable to me that Ian so seamlessly merges what I'll call 'Celtic' and 'Korean' motifs in this section. Second, in some ways, the new song "After These Wars" seems a blend of Flying Dutchman and Farm on the Freeway. Anyway, wonderful tune, Flying Dutchman.
TM: Yes, his guitars in that song are great.
Nov 18, 2015 15:38:25 GMT -5
TM: Going to see Martin this Saturday night.
Dec 14, 2015 13:18:35 GMT -5
Biggles: Sooo jealous! enjoy.
Dec 15, 2015 17:22:44 GMT -5
StanDup: hmm, I could still make the 2nd show on saturday. just kidding dammit.
Dec 19, 2015 0:33:17 GMT -5
TM: Oh man, what an incredible show! I have picks and videos to post.
Dec 21, 2015 15:57:10 GMT -5
StanDup: Right on, can't wait.
Dec 22, 2015 19:42:04 GMT -5
marco58: Just saw Martin and his hot band in Plymouth, MA last Friday night. My second live Tull experience, after Ian in November at Foxwoods in CT. Completely blown away, the man is legendary, can't wait for his 2016 dates!
Dec 22, 2015 20:21:12 GMT -5
TM: Know what you mean Marco - welcome to the board. Everyone in NY was blown away by him as well. It was best show I've seen in many years.
Dec 22, 2015 21:51:02 GMT -5
Biggles: I just read the Bill Kopp Asheville, NC review a few days ago and could tell you guys were in for something special. I love that marco58 referred to it as "My second live Tull experience" welcome to the board marco58!
Dec 22, 2015 23:49:09 GMT -5
StanDup: Martin dates added since the Arizona date was announced. For you lucky fans back east.
Jan 30, 2016 18:42:12 GMT -5
Biggles: Martin please book some dates in California!!!
Jan 30, 2016 21:06:24 GMT -5
bristoltull: Hi....may be of interest to UK-based fans. On the BBC quiz show "Mastermind", I'm on this Friday, in one of the semi-finals, and my specialised subject is.....Jethro Tull. BBC2, 19th February 2016, 8pm. I gave it my best shot. See how many you can answer!
Feb 14, 2016 16:07:46 GMT -5
TM: Very cool. Good luck!
Feb 16, 2016 15:54:45 GMT -5
stormwatchuk: Damn missed it as ive only just joined the forum
Mar 27, 2016 5:52:51 GMT -5
stormwatchuk: anywhere to see it again ? or maybe a list of the questions we can have a go at ?
Mar 27, 2016 5:53:15 GMT -5
teddy: Seems like everyone trying to figure out " Eat Hermione for lunch" just don't get it. A Popular vegetarian line of food is advertised by a woman named Hermione. You can see the advertisement on line. Thus it is not oral sex with a office girl. Munch.
Dec 16, 2016 20:39:34 GMT -5
lclark354: Hello everyone. I recently finished a room addition, and can finally set up surround sound. I've purchased all the Tull sets, except, of course,TAAB. Is there a site where one can purchase & download the 5.1 files? Or, any word on a re-issue?
Jan 17, 2017 1:15:01 GMT -5
Mystery To Me: Going to Red Rocks show with 2 friends. Anyone from the board going to this concert? Would like to meet anyone or everyone. Later
May 18, 2017 16:55:45 GMT -5
Nonfatman: My days of traveling long distances to see "Tull" are over. I just don't have the time anymore. Hope you enjoy it!
May 23, 2017 14:16:12 GMT -5
madjack1959: Hello to everyone from Lexington, Kentucky. Part of what led me here, was mention of Gentle Giant. I've listened to Tull for ages, and then was introduced to GG via Octopus I saw in the record store, and that was my start. I've never seen either "live" :
Jul 19, 2017 19:19:55 GMT -5