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MISSISSIPPI RIVERBOAT MAN - Copyright 1997 by Dave Saunders
Published by Sgt Joe Music (BMI)
From the Dave Saunders CD "Uncle John's Tree"
Available for purchase from

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My daddy was a Mississippi riverboat man
He knew that river like the back of his hand
From St. Louis all the way to New Orleans
Daddy was the pilot of the Memphis Queen

The Memphis Queen was a paddlewheel steamer
The kind that makes a Mississippi man a dreamer
And the people on the river have a story they tell
About a race between the Queen and the Arkansas Belle

It was early one mornin' in late September
Near as anybody here can remember
When the Memphis Queen pulled away from a landin'
Right where the Arkansas Belle was standin'

There was two proud boats in the middle of thet stream
Two boilers cookin' up a head of steam
And then a whistle blew a challenge and it was taken
The boats started movin' and the river started shakin'

Great big paddlewheels started to turnin'
Mississippi water started splashin' and churnin'
Fire and smoke came out of those stacks
And neither one of those pilots took the time to look back

When it came to racin', Daddy never had a rival
He could read a river like a preacher reads a bible
Every little ripple on the top of that water
Told him where he could go, and where he hadn't oughta

They was comin' up close on a bend in the river
Where the pilot of the Belle gave her all he could give 'er
And that riverboat drifted just a little bit wide
And a mud bar lifted her high and dry

From that point on there ain't much to say
About what happened that September day
Daddy just turned and waved farewell
To the pilot and the crew of the Arkansas Belle

Daddy always tried to be a good clean liver
'Cause he understood who made that river
He'd say "When I die, tell my redeemer
I'm a-comin' home on a paddlewheel steamer"

It was nineteen-hundred-and-somethin'-and-seven
When Daddy cast off to go lookin' for Heaven
He said "I'll find it, 'cause it's my understandin'
That the Pearly Gates are at a riverboat landin'"

Now Daddy's gone, and the Memphis Queen
Is fast becomin' just a faded dream
But that's OK, 'cause I understand
My daddy was a Mississippi riverboat man

Yeah, I'm the son of a riverboat man

A Mississippi Riverboat man

I'll have you to know...

Copyright © 2002 Dave Saunders
Portions Copyright © 2002 Bobby Addison
Contact Dave Saunders with questions regarding this site.
Last updated: 2/5/2006