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  1. Riverboat John by Nelson Hopwood

Lyrics

Riverboat John by: N. Hopwood ©
(John Hartford reference Riverboat John, and song title references…Skippin’ in the Mississippi Dew, Steamboat Whistle Blue, Natchez Whistle, Heading Down into the Mystery Below, Heavenly Sunlight, Gentle On My Mind…)

Intro: G G7 C G# D7 A B --- G
[G] Riverboat John was a [C] fiddleman, he [G] played the banjer [D] too
And [G] when he’d take the [C] pilots wheel, he’d [D] navigate so [G] true.
He’d navigate the Big [C] Muddy, The [G] Ohio and Illinois [D] too
And [G] when the [G7] fog would [C] get too [ G#] thick, [D] this is what he’d [G] do.

[G] He’d tune up the 5 string, [C] rosin up the bow
[G] Riverboat John is [D] rarin’ to go.
He’d [G] play the the old songs [C] for the crew,
While they [D] sit there Skippin’ In The Mississippi [G] Dew. SCAT!

[G] On the Cumberland he [C] made his home in [G] Nashville,Tennes [D] see
You could [G] find at The [C] Station Inn or [D] on the Op [ G] ry.
[G] With his bowler hat [C] upon his head and [G] taps upon his [D] shoes,
He’d [G] sing the [G7] songs about the [C] Missi[G#]sip and the [D] Steamboat Whistle [G] Blues.
SCAT!

[G] On the river John’s [C] heart belongs, you can [G] hear it in his [D] songs.
He’d [G] sing about the [C] paddlewheels and of [D] days past and [G] gone.
[G] He would sing about the [C] Delta Queen and hear the [G] Natchez Whistle [D] Blow,
And [G] then he’d [G7] tell of [C] Headin’ [G#] Down [D] into The Mystery [G] Below.
SCAT!

[G] When the Tallstacks would [C] come to town, [G] Riverboat John was [D] all around.
You could [G] find him with his [C] fiddle in hand, [D] making music with his own string [G] band.
[G] You would find him on the [C] northern shore and [G] on the southern [D] side,
And [G] when the [G7] sun was [C] sinking [G#] down, he’d [D] get on the river and [G] ride.

[G] And then he’d tune up the 5 string, [C] rosin up the bow,
[G] Riverboat John was [D] rarin’ to go.
He would [G] play the songs they [C] asked him too,
Like [D] sittin’ here Skippin’ In The Mississippi [G] Dew. SCAT!

[G] Riverboat John has [C] gone on now, on [G] to life’s other [D] side.
[G] Towards the Heavenly [C] Sunlight he’s [D] making his last [G] ride.
[G] If there’s riverboats in [C] heaven, [G] John will be on [D] board,
[G] Pickin’ and [G7] singin’ them [C] old time [G#] songs, [D] playin’ for the [G] Lord.

[G] There he’ll tune up the 5 string, [C] rosin’ up the bow,
[G] Riverboat John is [D] rarin’ to go.
[G] There he’ll pick with [C] Big Mon too,
As they [D] sit here Skippin’ In The Mississippi [G] Dew. SCAT!

[G] Riverboat John will [C] live on now, [G] in my memo [D] ries.
I [G] hear his songs [C] in my mind with [D] each steamboat I [G] see.
[G] And when the Tallstacks [C] return to port, I’ll [G] miss his face so [D] kind.
But the [G] memo[G7]ries I [C] have to[G#]day are [D] Gentle On My [G] Mind.

[G] He’d tune up the 5 string, [C] rosin’ up the bow,
[G] Riverboat John was [D] rarin’ to go.
His [G] songs live on thru [C] me and you,
Like [D] Sittin’ Here Skippin’ In The Mississippi [G] Dew. SCAT! (ENDING G,G7, C, G#, D7, G)

Notes:
John Hartford was one of my all time favorite entertainers. I’ve traveled to many different venues around my part of the country just to see John. I’ve seen him on the Riverboats, Cabin Stages, in City Parks, Bluegrass Festivals, standing on street corners, etc. John’s Aereo-Plain LP is what I credit with my deep love of bluegrass music. This is my tribute to his memory.