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Words & Music: Rattlesnake Annie
Buddy Blackmon

Dancing John

Dancing John was a riverboat man he could play most anything
He danced while he fiddled and he fiddled while he danced to heart of your dreams
Folks would follow John around as he fiddled another reel
And the river keeps on rolling underneath the paddle wheel

Saint Louis levy ain’t no place for a boy of 12 to go 
Banjo playing was a whole lot safer but he just didn’t care you know
‘Cause the Mississippi mud and the steamboat fever was a runnin’ through his veins
The river couldn’t hold him, this dancing minstrel man

There seemed to be some magic in the way he held his bow
The rhythm of his heels and the tapping of his toes
His poetry charmed the ladies, their men didn’t seem to care
The children danced behind him as he played the Old Gray Mare

Dancing John heard the voice of a lady calling to him in the wind
It wasn’t the voice of a woman he knew but the river calling him again
So he went back to Saint Louis and he wished he’d never left her
Dreaming of the Golden Eagle with an S & D reflector

Dancing John was fiddling on the levy a midnight serenade 
He saw a light coming ‘round the bend and the man in the pilothouse waved
It was the Golden Eagle with Captain Buck standing at the wheel
On that night that John and the Captain made ‘um a little deal

John went to work on the old sternwheeler a deck hand for Captain Buck
But who was to know that the Golden Eagle would soon run out of luck
On a cold dark night in ’37 a fire broke out below
John called to the Captain and he rosined up his bow

He fiddled his way through the passenger’s quarters singing everybody follow me
The Golden Eagle was a sinkin’ fast to the bottom of the Tennessee
They climbed into their lifeboats and all their fears were gone
‘cause the pied piper of the river had saved them with his song

Publishers: © Ann McGowan Music Inc. BMI (International Copyright Secured)
Night of Joy Music BMI




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