MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
River Driver
Mrs. Peter Mushrow NFLD 1 Tape 18 Track 5
Cape Ray Audio:
Ballad / lumbercamp

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


Notes

Sources:  Mercer 172 "River Drivers"; Peacock 759, recorded on Songs of the Newfoundland Outports and Labrador (2003); Fowke 1958: #59 ("I Am a River Driver"); Roud 4564.

History: Of Canadian origin, probably. Peacock collected this song from John T. O'Quinn (a name that was originally Aucoin), a Codroy Valley resident who learned the song in the lumbercamps.

Text notes: Singer describes his loneliness in the lumbercamps.

Tune notes: An abba pattern in triple metre, the melody is the same as the one on the Peacock recording listed above.

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