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Boating on a Bullhead I was sleepin' in a line barn and eatin' beans and hay While the boss was kickin' my starn ev'ry night and ev'ry day So I hired out canawlin' as a horny hand of toil Drivin' mules that kept a-bawlin' 'long the towpath's smelly soil. Well, my feet raised corns and blisters While the mules but raised a stink; I took and threw them twisters Plumb into the dirty drink. I thought I'd give up driving And the Cap he thought so, too He said,"Hire out a diving Or go bowing a canoe." I was drying on the heel path Watching boats haul up and down, Shivering from the first good bath I got since I left town. When a boat tied up in the basin At the wood dock for the night. And I lost no time to hasten 'Round the bridge to ask for a bite. They filled me up with beans and shote And they lighted me a cob. They asked if I could steer a boat And they offered me a job. The next morning I was boosted To the stern cabin's roof. With the tiller there I roosted And watched the driver hoof. Now the boat she was a Bullhead Decked up to the cabin's top. Many canawlers now are dead Who had no place to drop. When the bowsman he forgot to yell "Low bridge, duck 'er down." The Bullhead steersman went to Hell With a bridgestring for a crown. We were loaded down with Star Brand salt The Captain was loaded, too. I wouldn't say it was all his fault But what was a man to do? The bridge was only a heave away When I saw it 'round the bend. To the Cap a word I didn't say While tumbling end over end. So canawlers take my warning Never steer a Bullhead boat. Or they'll find you some fair morning In the E-ri-e afloat. Do all your navigating From a line barn filled with hay. And low bridge you won't be hating And you'll live 'til Judgement Day. From The Canaller's Songbook Collected from Lyman King RG
Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!