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Down by the Riverside?

Dear Friends,

I wonder if you can help me?

I'm writing an article on the history of the song Down by the Riverside etc., and
I'm especially interested in the old 78rpm 45, EP and LP recordings of the song.

but also new versions of the song are being recorded.

So far I have indexed about 2100 recordings of the song, but I might be missing a lot of the early recordings before world war 2.

I got the Fisk 1920 recording on a cd and Sam Morgans 1927 version, but if you got other versions, I would like to recieve them as I'm interested in the early development of the tune to the song.

Holger Terp

The Danish Peace Academy



"Down By The Riverside"


My understanding is that is an old Black gospel song. Quite old as a matter of fact. I'm a musician myself, and it's one of my favorite songs. I'll check more on the history of it for you (and myself). It's always more interesting when I'm performing if I can give a bit of history on the material I do. Have no clue who wrote it. The research project will be interesting. I do know the song came out of the period of Black slavery in this country.

P.S. How's about coming over here and helping us build our levees right :) I see you're from HOLLAND!

A Book on Slavery ... connection to the song.

This is a link to some info on a book about American Slavery that mentions the song. It definitely has it's roots in our tragic buying and selling of human beings. Anyhow, check it out. I'm not sure if you download the book or have to buy it, but anyhow, the link will give you the title and author so you can at least try and find it in a library.

Lynn Magnuson WB7PTR
New Orleans, LA.


hello julia here... This song, Down by the Riverside has a long history and was known in Civil War times. It was sung by both whites and blacks. The verse "I ain't goin' to study war no mo'" perhaps originated about this time. Slaves from the American South adopted this song as a work song and added many lines to it from other spirituals. It has endured far into modern times with little changes since.

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