26 August 2009

Ol' Man River

Ol’ Man River is Joe’s song from the musical Show Boat (1927). This scene, where the song is performed by Paul Robeson, is from the 1936 film version of Show Boat directed by James Whale.
A showboat was a type of traveling theatre operating on rivers in the United States. In the musical, such a showboat operates along the Mississippi River. Show Boat showcasts, over the span of 47 years, the lives of those who lived and worked on it.
Robeson altered the original lyrics, in order to give Joe (weary an’ sick of tryin’ an’ tired of livin’ an’ skeered of dyin’) some spirit and defiance.
He jes' keeps rollin'
He keeps on rollin' along


  1. Btw, for Hindu version of this song, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzWa6yuLX2A

  2. What a voice. Robeson was a very interesting guy in many respects.
    I also found out the following bits of trivia:
    -The late Heath Ledger had OLD MAN RIVER tattooed on his arm.
    -The original Show Boat musical from 1927 was the first musical production to have a mixed cast.