#00869
The River Driver's Lament (Kenneth Peacock)
See also: River Driver (MacEdward Leach)
And also: River Driver (Great Big Sea)

sheet music

I was just the age of sixteen when I first went on the drive,
And after six months' hard labor at home I did arrive;
I courted a pretty girl, 'twas her caused me to roam,
Sure I'm a river driver and I'm far away from home.

I'll eat when I'm hungry and I'll drink when I'm dry,
Get drunk when I'm ready, get sober by and by;
And if this river don't drown me, it's down I mean to roam,
Sure I'm a river driver and I'm far away from home.

Now I'm old and feeble and in my sickness lie,
Just wrap me up in my shanty blankets and lay me down to die;
Just one little bluebird to sing for me alone,
Sure I'm a river driver and I'm far away from home.

I'll eat when I'm hungry and I'll drink when I'm dry,
Get drunk when I'm ready, get sober by and by;
But if the river don't drown me, it's down I mean to roam,
Sure I'm a river driver and I'm far away from home.

####.... Author unknown. Traditional lumber camp song ....####
This variant was collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1959 from John T O'Quinn [1923-1992] of Searston, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 3, pp.759-760, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that Mr O'Quinn who comes from the Codroy Valley learned this shanty-boy lament in the lumber camps. The Codroy Valley was settled by the Scots and French of Cape Breton, and the original form of the name O'Quinn was Aucoin.

A longer variant was collected from Mrs Peter Mushrow [1912-2002] of Cape Raye, NL, by MacEdward Leach and published as River Driver in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

A variant was arranged and recorded as River Driver by Great Big Sea (The Hard And The Easy, trk#3, 2005, WEA, Toronto, Ontario, recorded at The Great Big Studio, St John's, NL).


See more songs by Great Big Sea.

See more lumber camp songs from NFLD.


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