Mudcat Café message #4080627 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #168402   Message #4080627
Posted By: Stewie
22-Nov-20 - 09:22 PM
Thread Name: Rise Up Mudcat Songbook - Australia
Subject: RE: Rise Up Mudcat Songbook - Australia
Here is another song that I first heard on Ian White's 'Songs from a Busker's Bag'. He noted that he got it 'from Joy Durst in the days of the Victorian Bush Music Club'. It is an Australian version of a song that was first published in 'Plantation Melodies' in 1847. The song was part of the American blackface minstrel tradition. The book noted: 'Words by S.S. Steele, Esq. as sung by A.F. Winnemore and his band of Virginia Serenaders; Arranged for the Piano Forte by A. F. Winnemore'.


Iíll sing you a ditty, a sweet little song
It will just take a moment, it wonít keep you long
Iíll sing of the days when our love was so new
And we sailed down the Murray River, boys, in a gum tree canoe

We rowed oíer the waters so blue
Like a feather we would float along
In our gum tree canoe

My hand on my banjo, my toe in my oar
I work all the day and I sing as I go
And at night time I turn to my Julia so true
And we sail down the Murry River, boys, in a gum tree canoe

I once left the river and went on the land
To set myself up as a cocky so grand
But the life didnít suit me, it made my heart sore
I went back to the Murray River, boys, and my Julia once more

Ian's rendition was a beaut duet with Cathie O'Sullivan, but that is not available on the Net. However, you can hear it from Chloe and Jason Roweth here - it starts around 2 min mark.

Youtube clip

Original lyrics and a recording here:


The singer who is best associated with the song these days:

John Hartford