Home > Music > Down Where the Swanee River Flows Site Map

Down Where the Swanee River Flows

Words by Chas McCarron and Shas. S. Alberte
Music by Albert Von Tilzer
Copyright 1916


Also available for download as an MP3 file.



I had a big surprise today
While in a ten-cent photo play,
I really saw my old hometown way down in Dixie land
It was simply grand, Just to sit right there and gaze
On the scenes of bygone days,
Made me yearn to return to the land and people,
I will love always, I even saw the same old school,
Where I learned the golden rule.

Down where the Swanee River flows, I want to be there.
Down where the cotton blossom grows, I want to see there,
My little sister Flo keepin’ time with Uncle Joe,
Singing a song and raggin’ on his old banjo.
I see my dear old Mother oh Lordy, Lordy, Lordy,
How I love her,
When the birds are singing in the wildwood
My happy childhood
Comes back once more, my heart is sore,
That’s why I’m going back where they care for me
Every night they say a little prayer for me
Down where the Swanee River flows.

Another in the lineage of the popular “Swanee River” songs (after Stephen Foster’s “Old Folks at Home”), this number holds considerable weight: it was embraced and performed by the world famous Al Jolson. While many of the early twentieth-century songs about Florida were written by amateur composers, this composition is notably created by professionals. Such elements as tight-knit lyric construction and intricate ragtime harmonies are examples of qualities that artists look for in selecting performance music.

Credit: QuickTime audio file arranged and performed by Jeff Donovick for the Florida Center for Instructional Technology. Cover scan courtesy of the USF Libraries Digitization Center.


Home > Music > Down Where the Swanee River Flows Site Map

Exploring Florida: A Social Studies Resource for Students and Teachers
Produced by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology,
College of Education, University of South Florida © 2008.