The Unknown Boatman by Dusty Miller He was born in a back cabin Was a boater all his life Weathered skin, and a wicked grin, Two boats and a wife He steered the boats on the London road And on the Oxford too His bright old eyes shone of the days of old And the mates that he new. I met him down by Wigrams three As he sat on an old lock beam I could tell his mind was sharp And the memories still keen Of boating days, the good and bad And the boats that he’d once had For he’d been a boater all his life Two boats and a wife. Chorus One : He didn’t say his name but boating was his game A single room in an old folks home Is not the way to go. He didn’t say his name but boating was his game A roof of tiles is a million miles From the life he used to know. He told me he had a plan To take a final load, Visit the places he knew so well Along that watery road. He had to do that one last trip Before his time was nigh And the good Lord came to take him home To the cut up in the sky. If you’re moored up one dark night Along the Blisworth pound Or maybe down near Coventry And hear the eerie sound Of a National pounding in the dark, Then feel the waters swell And glimpse the passing of a pair Loaded down so well. Chorus Two : He didn’t say his name but boating was his name Sitting there in a rocking chair Is not the way to go No he didn’t say his name but boating was his game A roof of tiles is a million miles From the life that he once new. The steerer slowly comes in sight Proudly standing there, A young man dark and handsome The captain of the pair. Then the butty comes into view The snubber stretching tight A young lass leaning on the ‘elm Brasses shining bright The motors’ echo disappears Muffled by the night All becoming dark again The glow from the cabin light Swallowed by the darkness And the water settles down. One thing you will always know He’s made his final run The sleeve notes state that "this was inspired by a Slim Dusty recording ("Paddy William") written by Norma O'Hara Murphy about an old Australian drover recalling his life on the outback trails. This version of the song tells of an old boatman dreaming of one last trip." Recorded on :
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WATERWAY          SONGS