Steve Coffee, Songwriter

Deepwater Requiem

©2011 Stephen R Coffee and James W Johnson

Finalist, Great American Song ContestMy bandmate Jim Johnson presented me with a figure on his grandfather's Gibson tenor guitar and said it sounded like a seafaring song. I thought it would be cool to write a traditional song of the sea, only about a modern vessel or situation, like maybe a drilling rig. Then, a few weeks later, the Deepwater Horizon went down.

This song needed to be written, and it took us years to get it right. Here is the latest mix from the new Harley String Band album. (Finalist, Great American Song Contest)


(Verse 1)
Come all ye hale and hearties - gather ‘round and listen to me
For a bit of your time, and a piece of your ear
I’ll tell you a tale of the sea – Yes, I’ll sing you a song of the sea
Our journey begins on no dinghy, nor dock - But a chopper in Bayou LaFourche
You’re barely awake when you look down and take
Your last look over the marsh
In the wake of Columbus, Cortez, and Magellan - We plow the seas for gold
But the treasure we seek is black and it’s thick – And it’s three hundred million years old
Yes, the treasure we seek is black and it’s rich – And its ten thousand . . .  feet below

 (Verse 2)
A speck on the curved horizon, on the deepwater waves she awaits
A whispered prayer for your family
As you circle your vessel of fate - As you hover in over your fate
Our platform is like no fair schooner nor ship - That ever set sail or was rowed
For it’s pinned in one place and it moves not a trace
As the oceans wash over the globe
A mosquito of steel, with no rudder or keel – It pierces the sea floor below
And drinks from a vein, the fossil remains - From half an aeon ago
It drinks from a vein, the life blood contained - ‘neath the Gulf . . . of Mexico

 (Verse 3)
The earth may yield her treasure – But it doesn’t come easy or free
She’ll fight you inch, by inch on land
And by fathoms ‘neath the sea – By fathoms ‘neath the sea
So “swing that wrench” the driller says – “You roughnecks move too slow”
“And stack that pipe you roustabouts” – “And haul that chain down below”.
It’s a hole so deep, to look down it would suck the - Black right out of your eyes
If the plug doesn’t hold, the gas could explode - And blow us all over the skies
And the more that we drill, and the more that we pump, - The higher . . .  the waters rise

(Verse 4)
So gather we now, to bow our heads - by the shore of the vast unknown
As eleven men pilot their funeral barge
Into a world beyond - gone to a world beyond
We chew on the smoke from the flaming pyre
We scrape the tar from our boots
Then return to our toys and cars and planes - and other earthly pursuits
For its marshes to marshes and coast to coast
And the crude on the waves as they roil
For the harbors, and bays, and beaches
And the beauty . . . that we spoil
God bless us all, each and everyone
And anoint us . . .  with oil

More songs for your listening pleasure:

Indian Joe

Where are your people? From Rain Follows the Plow


A lonely voice from the borderlands

To the Light

Close encounters with the past--and the inevitable future

Deepwater Requiem

Epic folk tale treatment of the Horizon disaster

The Impossible Sky

Ruth finds beauty in a harsh environment. From Rain Follows the Plow

Castle of Thorns

The distance between here and there

Going to the Ukraine

Those Ukraine girls make me scream and holler.

Praise the Drugs and Pass the Ammunition

Regarding the War on Sanity

Mert's Mix

An appetizing Okie Rap

The Writing on the Wall

Song and video about visiting my dad's old home place.

The Foundation

a momentary detour on the way into town

Give It Up if I Wanted To

for all you addicts

Island in Time

would you believe, bossa nova?


Still relevant, fifteen years later