“What Does the Deep Sea Say?”


The big boat is coming around the bend, doing nothing but killing good men. Vicksburg was a hilly town, until the Yankee gunboats blew it down. Cho: "What does the deep sea say?...It moans and it groans, it slashes and it foams/And rolls on its weary way"


Digital Tradition assigns authorship to Woody Guthrie. Given the date of Dalhart's recording, this is pretty near impossible. The McFarland-Gardner record credits this to "Miller." - PJS

Historical references

  • Nov 1862 - Union general Ulysses S. Grant begins his Vicksburg campaign. His first four attempts to reach the city fail
  • Apr 16, 1863 - Porter's gunboats run past Vicksburg, opening the way for Grant's final successful campaign
  • May 12-17, 1863 - Grant fights a series of minor battles which bring him to the defenses of Vicksburg
  • May 22, 1863 - Grant's attempt to take Vicksburg by storm is a bloody failure. The Union army settles down to a siege
  • July 4, 1863 - Lt. General Pemberton surrenders Vicksburg


  • Vernon Dalhart, "What Does the Deep Sea Say" (Velvet Tone 1960-V, 1929)
  • Bob Ferguson (pseud. for Bob Miller) "What Does the Deep Sea Say" (Columbia 15727-D, 1932; prob. rec. 1931)
  • Lester McFarland & Robert Gardner, "What Does the Deep Sea Say" (Brunswick 483, 1930)
  • Bill Palmer's Trio, "What Does the Deep Sea Say?" (Bluebird B-5034, 1933)
  • Uncle Bud & his Plow Boys, "What Does the Deep Sea Say?" (Clarion 5418-C, 1931)


  2. BI, DTdeepse


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1929 (recording, Vernon Dalhart)