Ol ‘Man River is a song written by Oscar Hammerstein II , on a music by Jerome Kern , dating from 1927 . It is the theme of the musical show Boat 1 , which tells the sad story and struggle of African-American workers , from the point of view of ablack docker , picturing it by the never-ending stream of Mississippi .

It is considered a classic of the American song and many musicians and bands have taken over this song, such as Bing Crosby 2 , Frank Sinatra 3 , Charles Ray , Django Reinhardt , Paul Robeson , Ruth Brown , John William , Nino Ferrer and Art Pepper .

French translation

Note: This translation is not the French adaptation written by Lucien Boyer in 1927 .

“Here we all work along the Mississippi,
Here, we all work while the whites play,
Shooting boats from dawn to sunset,
Without knowing rest until the day of the last judgment.
Do not look up or down,
You can not take the risk of displeasing the white boss,
Bend your knees, bend your head,
And pull this rope to death.
Let me go away from Mississippi,
Let me go away from the white boss,
Show me this river called the Jordan,
This old river that I long to cross.
Sacred river man, sacred river man,
He must know something,
But he does not say anything,
He’s just following his course,
He goes imperturbably his way.
He does not plant potatoes,
He does not plant cotton,
And those who plant them are quickly forgotten,
And this sacred river man,
He is quietly following his course.
You and I, we sweat and trim,
The body sore and tired,
Hauling barges, lifting bullets,
And for a drink too many you find yourself in jail.
I am tired and sick of exhaustion,
Tired of living and I’m scared to die,
And this damn old man of the river imperturbably pursues his way. “

Notes and references

  1. ↑ Jerome Kern, Show boat , New York, NY: Columbia. ( OCLC 18734354 )
  2. ↑ Crosby Bing, Ol ‘Man River , Sentry, 1940. ( OCLC 28878555 )
  3. ↑ Frank Sinatra, Ol ‘man river Vol. 4 , Folcroft, PA. : Creative Sounds, 1990. ( OCLC 26101555 )