Ol’ Man River

OlManRiver

PROFILE
Composer Jerome Kern
Lyricist Oscar Hammerstein
Year Written 1927
About Ol’ Man River
“Ol’ Man River” is one of the most beloved songs from the 1927 Kern/Hammerstein musical
Show Boat. It was sung by Paul Robeson in the 1936 filmed version of the show and by William Warfield in the 1951 film version.

Lyrics

Ol’ Man River, that Ol’ Man River
He must know somepin’, but he don’t say nothin’
He just keeps rollin’, he keeps on rollin’ along

He don’t plant taters, and he don’t plant cotton
And them what plants ’em is soon forgotten
But Ol’ Man River, jest keeps rollin’ along

You and me, we sweat and strain
Bodies all achin’ and wracked with pain
Tote that barge and lift that bale
Ya get a little drunk and ya lands in jail

I gets weary and so sick of tryin’
I’m tired of livin’, but I’m feared of dyin’
And Ol’ Man River, he just keeps rollin’ along

Session / Album Information

1958

“Ol’ Man River” was recorded on December 30, 1958 and released in 1959 on the album In Person! . It was arranged by Ralph Sharon.

This recording was also released on:

  • Columbia LP 12″: LE 10125 — In Person! With Count Basie
  • CBS LP 12″: 35DP159 — In Person! With Count Basie [Japan]
  • CBS LP 12″: 20AP1418 — In Person! With Count Basie [Japan]
  • Philips LP 12″: 840059BY — In Person! With Count Basie [UK]
  • 1959: CBS LP 12″: BPG 62250 — In Person! [UK]
  • 1959: Columbia LP 12″: CS 8104 — In Person! With Count Basie
  • 1959: Columbia LP 12″ (Mono): CL 1294 — In Person! With Count Basie
  • 1959: Philips LP 12″: BBL 7398/SBBL 542 — In Person! With Count Basie [UK]
  • 1983: CBS LP 12″ (Mono): 32373 — In Person! [UK]
  • 1994: Columbia CD: CK 64276 — In Person! With Count Basie
  • 1999: Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab CD: UDCD743 — In Person!
  • 2008: Jasmine CD: JASCD482 — Together At Last/A Perfect Combination
  • 2011: Disc #14 in The Tony Bennett Complete Collection (88697874602-JK14) In Person!

1962

“Ol’ Man River” was recorded live at Tony Bennett’s concert at Carnegie Hall on June 9, 1962 and was initially released in 1962 on the album Tony Bennett at Carnegie Hall. Ralph Sharon arranged the song.

This recording released on:

  • 1962: CBS LP 12″: BPG62116 — At Carnegie Hall – Part 1 (UK)
  • 1962: Columbia LP 12″: C2L 23 — Tony Bennett At Carnegie Hall
  • 1962: Columbia LP 12″: C2S 823 — Tony Bennett At Carnegie Hall
  • 1993: Sony Music Special Products CD: 15056 — Tony Bennett Sings for You
  • 1995:  Sony Music CD: WK 75012 — Tony Bennett At Carnegie Hall
  • 1997: Columbia CD: C2K 64609 — At Carnegie Hall June 9, 1962: Complete Concert
  • 2011: Disc #24 in The Tony Bennett Complete Collection (88697874602-JK24) Tony Bennett at Carnegie Hall

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