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Sunday, August 17, 2008

River, Stay 'Way from My Door

By Harry Woods & Mort Dixon
1931

From the same duo responsible for "I'm Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover" some four years earlier, this Tin Pan Alley ditty was in the then-common sub-genre of "Negro spiritual"-type tunes written by white composers. Ironically, it would be legendary African-American actor/singer Paul Robeson who introduced it with a hit record in 1931.

Lyrics:

You keep goin' your way,
I'll keep goin' my way.
River, stay 'way from my door.

I just got a cabin,
You don't need my cabin.
River, stay 'way from my door.

Don't come up any higher,
I'm so all alone.
Leave my bed and my fire,
That's all I own.

I ain't breakin' your heart,
Don't start breakin' my heart.
River, stay 'way from my door.

Lord, ain't I been faithful?
Ain't I worked, ain't I toiled in the sweat and sun?
Lord, ain't I come to you?
Ain't I come to you and thank you?
Thank you for all the good things you've done?
Listen Lord, I know you made that river,
But won't you please try to remember that you made me?
Oh Lord, can't you hear me pray to you?
Make that river, make that river hear my plea.

No, I ain't breaking your heart,
So don't start breaking my heart.
Oh, river stay away from my door.

Recorded By:

Kate Smith
Frank Sinatra
Charlie Rich
Sammy Davis Jr.
Fiona Apple

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