Old man river original lyrics

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old man river original lyrics

Who Should Sing ol Man River?: The Lives of an American Song by Todd R Decker

A Broadway classic, a call to action, and an incredibly malleable popular song, Ol Man River is not your typical musical theater standard. Written by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II in the 1920s for Show Boat, Ol Man River perfectly blends two seemingly incongruous traits-the gravity of a Negro spiritual and the crowd- pleasing power of a Broadway anthem. Inspired by the voice of African American singer Paul Robeson, who adopted the tune for his own goals as an activist, Ol Man River is both iconic and transformative. In Who Should Sing Ol Man River? The Lives of an American Song, author Todd Decker examines how the song has shaped, and been shaped by, the African American experience. Yet Ol Man River also transcends both its genre and original conception as a song written for an African American male. Beyond musical theater, this Broadway ballad has been reworked in musical genres from pop to jazz, opera to doo wop, rhythm and blues to gospel to reggae. Pop singers such as Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Judy Garland made Ol Man River one of their signature songs. Jazz artists such as Bix Biederbecke, Duke Ellington, Dave Brubeck, Count Basie, and Keith Jarrett have all played Ol Man River, as have stars of the rock and roll era, such as Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, the Temptations, Cher, and Rod Stewart. Black or white, male or female-anyone who sings Ol Man River must confront and consider its charged racial content and activist history. Performers and fans of musical theater as well as students of the Civil Rights movement will find Who Should Sing Ol Man River an unprecedented examination of a song thats played a groundbreaking role in American history.
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Published 20.12.2018

Frank Sinatra - Ol' Man River

Ol' Man River is a show tune from the musical Robeson (played by James Earl Jones) about the original lyrics, and he responds "No, I don't sing it that way anymore".
Todd R Decker

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Featured lyrics. Hot lyrics. 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. You an'me, we sweat an' strain, Body all achin' an' racket wid pain, Tote dat barge! Lif' dat bale! Git a little drunk An' you land in jail.

Paul Robeson often changed lyrics of songs he performed to better reflect the reality of the Black American experience of his time. It's been said that Robeson felt it was an artist's duty to devote all of his skills and celebrity status toward upholding the rights of all people to enjoy the full benefits of democracy. In applying this philosophy to his performance career, one could deduce Robeson felt freedom of speech and expression was an integral part of being a performer. Robeson altered the lyrics when he performed in the musical as well as in concert. After reading the lyrics from the original "Ol' Man River" and then the lyrics that Robeson changed, address the following questions to better understand the underlying motivation for the alteration of lyrics.

Make Believe

Old man river by sakhira

Forgot password? Don't have an account? Controversies about whether the song should be performed at all are also discussed and the importance of hearing the voices and opinions of African American performers and listeners across the history of the song is emphasized. Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter. Please, subscribe or login to access full text content. To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.

If ever there was an human embodiment of the traits I most value in an artist and human — communication, fearlessness, skill, an open heart, a brilliant mind, hard work, and a deep sense of service — it was Robeson. Though the role, Joe, was written with Robeson in mind, he was not available for the original Broadway production. International concert tours, theater productions, and Hollywood films followed. But it was not to be. Fiercely political, Robeson viewed his work as inseparable from its political context, and advocated for pro-labor, anti-fascist, anti-racist, anti-colonialist policies and organizations.


  1. Aubine G. says:

    Dere's an ol' man called de Mississippi Dat's de ol' man dat I'd like to be!

  2. Esperanza B. says:

    Ol' Man River Lyrics: 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'.

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