“Waterbound (I)”


Singer can't go home because of flooding. His girl's father is mad, but the singer doesn't care "as long as I get his daughter": "If he don't give her up, we're gonna run away." He and his friends state that they're going home "before the water rises."


Yes, there's a narrative buried in there -- two of them, really. - PJS

I suspect it may have been stronger, once upon a time, but gotten rather submerged after years of the tune being used primarily as a fiddle/banjo instrumental. As Paul notes, there are two plots -- one about the rising flood and one about courting. - RBW

The Grayson Co. Railsplitters' recording is essentially identical to the canonical version sung in the folk revival, mostly learned from the Wade Ward/Bogtrotters recording. It should be noted that Fields Ward, Wade's brother, was a member of the Railsplitters, along with Sampson Ward, Eck Dunford and Ernest "Pop" Stoneman -- an old-time music all-star show if ever there was one. - PJS


  • Grayson County Railsplitters, "Way Down in North Carolina" (unissued, 1929; on TimesAint05)
  • Art Thieme, "Waterbound" (on Thieme06)
  • Wade Ward & Bogtrotters, "Waterbound" (on Holcomb-Ward1)


  1. Darling-NAS, pp. 252-253, "Waterbound" (1 text)
  3. BI, DTwatrbo


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1929 (unissued recording, Grayson County Railsplitters)
Found in: US(Ap,SE)