Boatman Dance


The Boatman’s Dance is a minstrel song credited to Dan Emmett in 1843 and arranged by Aaron Copland as part of his set of Old American Songs. (source) Dan Emmett also wrote Dixie and Jimmy Crack Corn.


1. The boatman dance, the boatman sing,
The boatman up to ev’ry thing,
And when the boatman gets to shore
He spends his cash and works for more.

Dance, boatman dance.
Oh dance, boatman dance.
Oh dance all night ’til broad day light,
Go home with the girls in the morning.
Hi ho the boatman row,
Floating down the river on the Ohio.

2. The boatman is a thirfty man,
There’s none can do as the boatman can.
Never saw a pretty girl in all my life,
But that she was some boatman’s wife. Refrain

3. I went on board the other day
To see what the boatman had to say.
And there I let my passion loose,
And they crammed me in the calaboose. Refrain

4. When the boatman blows his horn,
Look out, old man, your hog is gone;
He stole my sheep, he caught my shoat,
Put ’em in a bag and tote ’em to the boat. Refrain

See also


Extras for Plus Members

(or available for purchase here)

  • Song with chords, Adapted version, Lesson ideas for Melody (Verse is pentatonic) & Form AB, Line dance
  • MIDI file
  • Listen

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