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Lyr Req: The Boatmen (fiddle tune)

DigiTrad:
DE BOATMAN DANCE


GUEST,Mimsey 01 Dec 00 - 04:50 PM
Jim Krause 01 Dec 00 - 05:21 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 01 Dec 00 - 05:38 PM
Elise 01 Dec 00 - 07:11 PM
GUEST,Mimsey 04 Dec 00 - 08:46 PM
Malcolm Douglas 04 Dec 00 - 09:15 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 04 Dec 00 - 11:02 PM
GUEST,Fretless 05 Dec 00 - 08:52 AM
GUEST,Les B 05 Dec 00 - 05:12 PM
GUEST,Fretless 06 Dec 00 - 08:51 AM
GUEST,Les B 06 Dec 00 - 01:13 PM
Jim Krause 06 Dec 00 - 03:38 PM
GUEST,Les B 06 Dec 00 - 04:20 PM
GUEST,hg 05 Jul 13 - 11:59 PM
banjoman 06 Jul 13 - 07:42 AM
Jim Dixon 15 Jul 13 - 02:46 PM
Rumncoke 15 Jul 13 - 05:15 PM
Mr Red 16 Jul 13 - 08:38 AM
Jack Campin 16 Jul 13 - 09:10 AM
fretless 16 Jul 13 - 09:32 AM
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Subject: The Boatmen (fiddle tune)
From: GUEST,Mimsey
Date: 01 Dec 00 - 04:50 PM

Hi, folks!

My significant other has learned a tune called "The Boatmen" (plural is right; it's not Fhear A'Bhata) and has heard there are words to it. (Not in your index, though.) He got the tune out of a huge collection book of Irish (and English?) fiddle tunes, where some pretty odd and obscure stuff is present. (I forget the name of it.)

Got any clues for us? Thanks a million. Mimsey


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Boatmen (fiddle tune)
From: Jim Krause
Date: 01 Dec 00 - 05:21 PM

If it's the same "The Boatmen" I am thinking of, it is credited to Dan Emmett, composer of "Dixie." The original title is "The Boatman's Dance." You can find the lyrics in Dan Emmett And The Rise of Negro Minstrelsy by Hans Nathan. Look in your library, the book is out of print. Jim Krause


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Boatmen (fiddle tune)
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 01 Dec 00 - 05:38 PM

My best guess: There's a tune called "The Boatman" in Michael Raven's '1000 English Country Dance Tunes'.
Also, there's the Scots "The Boatman = The Bonny Boatman = The Bonny Scot", but this is a song tune. [See Scots tune index on my website for early sources]
There's a "Bonny Boatman" in an English MS of c 1625, and I copied it, but haven't figured out the notation. [Are solid ovals with no stems half notes or whole notes? Timing doesn't work out right for either.]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Boatmen (fiddle tune)
From: Elise
Date: 01 Dec 00 - 07:11 PM

Is it:

Boatman dance boatman sing boatman do most anything

That one?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Boatmen (fiddle tune)
From: GUEST,Mimsey
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 08:46 PM

Elise,

I showed Ben your posting and asked if the meter fit with the tune. It did -- so, are there more lyrics that you know?

Mimsey


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Boatmen (fiddle tune)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 09:15 PM

Tell us the name of the book it came from; we'll tell you what we know.  Otherwise it's just guesswork.

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Boatmen (fiddle tune)
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 11:02 PM

I thought we were looking for a British Isles tune. "Dance Boatman, Dance" (several copies) and other songs to the tune and in Medleys (one arranged by Old Dan Tucker) and other 'Boatman' songs can be found by searching on 'boatman' in the Levy sheet music collection (Mudcat's Links)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Boatmen (fiddle tune)
From: GUEST,Fretless
Date: 05 Dec 00 - 08:52 AM

Elise's one line is all I've ever heard sung with the fiddle tune. Debbie McClatchy wrote some lyrics about the California Goldrush to the tune, modified the tune very slightly, and recorded it on her album with the Red Clay Ramblers. But for the canonical fiddle tune as performed today, Elise's line is it.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BOATMAN'S DANCE
From: GUEST,Les B
Date: 05 Dec 00 - 05:12 PM

Fretless - there are three or four verses, plus a chorus, to "Boatman's Dance" it's just that today's fiddlers don't sing them - Jim Krause pointed out the right direction in his post above. It's an interesting song with, as I've heard it, a chorus of sorts both before and after each verse - ie:

(first part of chorus)
High ho, the boatmen go
Polein' down the river on the Ohio
(or, Polein' down the river to 'Tucky hoe)

verse:
Boatman dance boatman sing
Boatman do most anything
When the boatman gets on shore
spends his money then works for more

(second part of chorus)
Dance boatman dance
Dance boatman dance
Dance all night till the broad daylight
Go home with the girls in the mornin/

Chorus
The boatman is a thrifty man
There's none can do as the boatman can
He'll steal your sheep, steal your shoat
Put 'em in a bag and take 'em to the boat
Chorus

I've never seen a pretty girl in my life
But what she was a boatman's wife
When the boatman blows his horn
Look out old man, your daughter's gone

etc. - There are several more verses, some more non-sensical or not PC in this day and age.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Boatmen (fiddle tune)
From: GUEST,Fretless
Date: 06 Dec 00 - 08:51 AM

Thanks, Les. That's a great addition. Now I just have to learn how to clawhammer and sing at the same time.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Boatmen (fiddle tune)
From: GUEST,Les B
Date: 06 Dec 00 - 01:13 PM

Fretless - "Boatman" is a great clawhammer tune, or better yet, fiddle & banjo together !

I just went out to the Levy Sheet Music site - (listed in the Mudcat links) and found a couple of versions there, they both a verse I hadn't seen before. The verses I listed above have been considerably "condensed," but they work for me.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Boatmen (fiddle tune)
From: Jim Krause
Date: 06 Dec 00 - 03:38 PM

Yeah, this is a sure enough funky tune to play as a clawhammer banjo/fiddle duet. Sounds even better played on a gut strung fretless banjo. And if you decide to take up the old minstrel stroke style, you'll know you've mastered it when you can play The Boatman's Dance
Jim Krause


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Boatmen (fiddle tune)
From: GUEST,Les B
Date: 06 Dec 00 - 04:20 PM

Jim - I suspect I know part of the answer, but how would you say the old minstrel "stroke" style differs from clawhammer ? (Thread drift, thread drift !!!)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Boatmen (fiddle tune)
From: GUEST,hg
Date: 05 Jul 13 - 11:59 PM

Is there a study. of this song???


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Boatmen (fiddle tune)
From: banjoman
Date: 06 Jul 13 - 07:42 AM

We know this as The Ohio Boatman's Song and my wife & I have been singing it for years. Lyrics much as above with a few minor word changes.
Its a great song to accompany on banjo and claw hammer style goes very well


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Subject: Lyr Add: DE BOATMEN'S DANCE (Dan D. Emmit)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 15 Jul 13 - 02:46 PM

From the sheet music at The Lester S. Levy Sheet Music Collection:


DE BOATMEN'S DANCE
An original Banjo Melody, by Old Dan. D. Emmit;
Leader of the VIRGINIA MINSTRELS.
Boston: Pub. By C. H. Keith, 67 & 69 Court Street, 1843.


CHORUS [part 1?]: High row, de boatmen row,
Floatin' down de river de Ohio

[Verse 1?] De boatment dance, de boatment sing,
De boatmen up to ebry ting,
An when de boatmen gets on shore,
He spends his cash an works for more.

[Chorus part 2?] Den dance de boatmen dance,
O dance de boatmen dance.
O dance all night till broad daylight,
An go home wid de gals in de morning.

2. De oyster boat should keep to de shore.
De fishin smack should venture more.
De schooner sails before de wind.
De steamboat leaves a streak behind.
O dance, &c.

3. I went on board de odder day
To see what de boatmen had to say.
Dar I let my passion loose
And dey cram me in de callaboose.
O dance, &c.

4. I've come dis time; I'll come no more.
Let me loose I'll go on shore,
For dey whole hoss, an dey a bully crew,
Wid a hoosier mate an a captin too.
O dance, &c.

5. When you go to de boatmen's ball,
Dance wid my wife, or don't dance at all.
Sky blue jacket an tarpaulin hat,
Look out, my boys, for de nine tail cat.
O dance, &c.

6. De boatman is a thrifty man.
Dars none can do as de boatman can.
I neber se a putty gal in my life
But dat she was a boatman's wife.
O dance, &c.

7. When de boatman blows his horn,
Look out, old man, your hog is gone.
He cotch my sheep; he cotch my shoat,
Den put em in a bag an toat em to de boat.
O dance, &c.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Boatmen (fiddle tune)
From: Rumncoke
Date: 15 Jul 13 - 05:15 PM

This was a tune we used to dance to when I was at junior school, in South Yorkshire, England about 55 years ago. Another one was Nellie the Elephant.

I seem to remember it as two line verses rather than four, though that could be to fit with the figures of the dance, which was a simple long morris.

The 'hey ho boatmen row sailing down the river on the Ohio' was sung twice, AFTER the 'chorus part two' and the figures were the simple cross over and back, cross corners, cross back, swing partners, and the chorus was to skip up the line, turn outwards, skip down to the bottom turn inwards and back up. It was processional so we danced around the playground or in the hall if wet.

I think at the bottom turning we went into one line ahead, then at the right place in the music turn outwards and move apart back into two lines, then turn around for the next figure.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Boatmen (fiddle tune)
From: Mr Red
Date: 16 Jul 13 - 08:38 AM

I recorded Rees Wesson of melodeons.com/ playing a tune he referred to as "the Boatman".
I used it to put behind a canal video it is one of the 12 or so (probably one with Ryeford in the title) on youtube.com/cresbydotcom f anyone wants to hear that tune. I might have referred to Rees in the text, but he definitely is pictured at the end.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Boatmen (fiddle tune)
From: Jack Campin
Date: 16 Jul 13 - 09:10 AM

What do you call the kind of banjo depicted on the cover of that Lester Levy sheet? (Very long neck, tiny body, no more than 3 strings).

I've never seen anything like them in a bluegrass or old-time lineup, but my pal Lindsay Porteous has made lots of them. They play like dulcimers (one melody string and couple of drones) which makes them an instrument I can't see the point of.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Boatmen (fiddle tune)
From: fretless
Date: 16 Jul 13 - 09:32 AM

For another recording, try "SOUTHERN SOLDIER: Favorite Camp Songs of the Civil War" by the 2nd South Carolina String Band.


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