#01327
River Driver (MacEdward Leach)
See also: The River Driver's Lament (Peacock)
And also: River Driver (Great Big Sea)

I was scarce the age of sixteen
when I first went on a drive,
In less than six weeks later
Quebec I did arrive;
I fell in love with a pretty girl,
a girl caused me to roam,
For I'm a river driver
and I'm far away from home.

I'll eat when I am hungry,
I'll drink when I am dry,
Get drunk whenever I'm ready
and get sober by and by;
And if the river don't drown me,
when I go out to roam,
For I'm a river driver
and I'm far away from home.

I'll build my love a castle
upon some mountain high,
Where she can sit there
and view me as I go riding by;
Where she can sit there
and view me when I go out to roam,
For I'm a river driver
and I'm far away from home.

I'll eat when I am hungry,
I'll drink when I am dry,
Get drunk whenever I'm ready
and get sober by and by;
And if the river don't drown me,
when I go out to roam,
For I'm a river driver
and I'm far away from home.

When I get old and feeble
and in my sadness lie,
Just wrap me up in my shanty-blanket
and lay me out to die;
Just get one tiny bluebird
to sing for me alone,
For I'm a river driver
and I'm far away from home.

####.... Author unknown. Traditional lumber camp song ....####
This variant was sung in 1950 by Mrs Peter Mushrow [1912-2002] of Cape Raye, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

A shorter variant was collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1959 from John T O'Quinn [1923-1992] of Searston, NL, and published as The River Driver's Lament in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 3, pp.759-760, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

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 Sea Studio, St John's, NL).


See more songs by Great Big Sea.

See more lumber camp songs from NFLD.


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