Michael, Row the Boat Ashore

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    This song was popular in several versions in the early 1960's, all of them inspired by a Negro spiritual first recorded in 1863. The lyrics below are from the version credited to Milton T. Okun.

 

Michael, row the boat ashore, Halleluyah!

Michael, row the boat ashore, Hallelu-u-yah!

    Sister, help to trim the sails, Halleluyah!

    Sister, help to trim the sails, Hallelu-u-yah!

Jordan’s river is deep and wide, Halleluyah!

And I’ve got a home on the other side, Hallelu-u-yah!

    Michael, row the boat ashore, Halleluyah!

    Michael, row the boat ashore, Hallelu-u-yah!

Michael’s boat is a music boat, Halleluyah!

Michael’s boat is a music boat, Hallelu-u-yah!

    Michael, row the boat ashore, Halleluyah!

    Michael, row the boat ashore, Hallelu-u-yah!

The trumpets sound the jubilee, Halleluyah!

The trumpets sound for you and me, Hallelu-u-yah!

    Michael, row the boat ashore, Halleluyah!

    Michael, row the boat ashore, Hallelu-u-yah!

Michael, row the boat ashore, Halleluyah!

Michael, row the boat ashore, Hallelu-u-yah!

 

    With all the musical charm of Ninety-Nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall, this song is what men might sing while paddling a canoe up the Mississippi River. And it’s expandable: we can add verses.

 

Michael, help to make the meal, Halleluyah!

Michael, help to make the meal, Hallelu-u-yah!

    Michael, eat a bowl of beans, Halleluyah!

    Michael, eat a bowl of beans, Hallelu-u-yah!

Michael, blow a lot of gas, Halleluyah!

Michael, honk it out your ass, Hallelu-u-yah!

    Michael, help revive the crew, Halleluyah!

    Michael, help revive the crew, Hallelu-u-yah!

 

    This could actually become the musical equivalent to War and Peace. Imagine, if you will, an all-day concert with only one song being performed. Of course, the song would have to include announcements.

 

Let us take a break for lunch, Halleluyah!

Let us take a break for lunch, Hallelu-u-yah!

    We’ll be back at one o’clock, Halleluyah!

    We’ll be back at one o’clock, Hallelu-u-yah!

We’ll take some time to catch our breath, Halleluyah!

Then we’ll bore you all to death, Hallelu-u-yah!

 

    Yes. Yes, indeed, they will.

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