Rivers and History… Old man River by Paul Robeson

Old Man River by Paul Robeson Lyrics

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Lyrics from the Original Libretto ( Old Man River By Paul Robeson )

Dare’s an ol’ man cal’d de Mississipi Dat’s de ol’ man dat I’d lek to be Whot does he care  iv de world gets trouble Whot does he care iv de land lev’s free.

Ol’ man river,
Dat ol’ man river
He mus’know sumpin’
But don’t say nuthin’,
He jes’keeps rollin’
He keeps on rollin’ along.

He don’ plant taters, He don’t plant cotton, An’ dem dat plants’em is soon forgotten, But ol’man river,
He jes keeps rollin’along. You an’me, we sweat an’ strain, Body all achin’ an’ racket wid pain, Tote dat barge! Lif’ dat bale! You gits a little drunk An’ you lands in jail. Ah gits weary An’ sick of tryin’ Ah’m tired of livin’ An’ skeered of dyin’, But ol’ man river, He jes’keeps rolling’ along.

[Colored folks work on de Mississippi, Colored folks work while de white folks play, Pullin’ dose boats from de dawn to sunset, Gittin’ no rest till de judgement day.

Don’t look up An’ don’t look down, You don’ dast make De white boss frown. Bend your knees An’bow your head, An’ pull date rope Until you’ dead.)

Let me go ‘way from the Mississippi, Let me go ‘way from de white man boss; Show me dat stream called de river Jordan, Dat’s de ol’ stream dat I long to cross.

O’ man river,
Dat ol’ man river,
He mus’know sumpin’
But don’t say nuthin’
He jes’ keeps rollin’
He keeps on rollin’ along.

(Long ol’ river forever keeps rollin’ on…) He don’ plant tater, He don’ plant cotton, An’ dem dat plants ’em
Is soon forgotten, but ol’ man river, He jes’ keeps rollin’ along. (Long ol’ river keeps hearing dat song).

You an’ me, we sweat an’ strain, Body all achin an’ racked wid pain. Tote dat barge! Lif’ dat bale! Git a little drunk An’ you land in jail. Ah, gits weary An’ sick of tryin’ Ah’m tired of livin’ An’ skeered of dyin’,
But ol’ man river, He jes’keeps rollin’ along!