“De Boatman Dance”


A minstrel song about a boatman's life, observing that there is no one like a boatman. "O dance, de boatman, dance all night 'till broad daylight, And go home wid de gals in de morning. Hi, ho, de boatman row, Floating down de ribber on de Ohio"

Cross references


  • Elizabeth Cotten, "Boatman Dance" (on Cotten02)
  • Byrd Moore & his Hot Shots, "Boatman's Dance" (Gennett, unissued, 1930)
  • Eleazar Tillet, "Come Love Come" (on USWarnerColl01) [a true mess; the first verse is "Nancy Till", the chorus is "Come, Love, Come, the Boat Lies Low," and it uses part of "De Boatman Dance" as a bridge.)


  1. Hugill, pp. 492-493, "Dance the Boatman" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. BrownIII 223, "Hi You Boat Row" (1 fragment)
  3. Botkin-MRFolklr, p. 566, "De Boatman Dance" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Silber-FSWB, p. 39, "Boatman's Dance" (1 text)
  6. ADDITIONAL: Captain John Robinson, "Songs of the Chantey Man," a series published July-August 1917 in the periodical _The Bellman_ (Minneapolis, MN, 1906-1919). "Dance the Boatman Dance" is in Part 1, 7/14/1917.
  7. Roud #5898
  8. BI, BMRF566


Author: Daniel Decatur Emmett
Earliest date: 1843 (copyright)
Found in: US(SE)