“Down the River”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1916 (Wolford)
Keywords: river playparty work
Found in: US(MW,So)

Description

Recognized by the chorus, "Down the river, down the river, Down the (river to the) Ohio." The full version tells of the river ("Oh the river is up and the channel is deep") and the crew of the boat working on it.

Notes

The playparty version of this piece simplifies the story immensely. Randolph, for instance, has a text which runs simply

Bridges all out and the water mighty deep,

Down the river we all got to go,

Bridges all out and the water mighty deep,

Down the river to the Ohio.

Down the river, down the river,

Down the river we all got to go

Down the river, down the river,

Down the river to the Ohio. - RBW

References

  1. Randolph 592, "Down the River" (1 text)
  2. Botkin-MRFolklr, p. 564, "Down the River" (2 texts, 1 tune)
  3. MWheeler, p. 38, "Down the Rivuh, Down, Boys" (1 text, 1 tune -- a fragment which might or might not go with this song)
  4. DT, DOWNRIVR* DOWNRIV2*
  5. Roud #7677
  6. BI, R592