I heard someone singing this on the radio a few weeks ago and thought I’d come up with a banjo arrangement for it.
It is relatively easy to play. Play Gumtree Canoe slowly (¾ time) with bounce—it is not a breakdown. The melody reminds me of Sweet Betsy From Pike.
Here is a beginner’s melodic version.
Singing row away, row, o’er the waters so blue,
Like a feather we float in our gum-tree canoe.
We rowed we rowed o’er the water so blue
Like a feather we would float in our gum tree canoe.
I’ll sing you a ditty a sweet little song
It will just take a moment I won’t keep you long
I will sing of the days when our love was so new
And we sailed down the river in a gum-tree canoe.
In a hut made of husks of the tall yellow corn,
And there I first met with my Julia so true,
And I rowed her about in our gum-tree canoe.3)
I think of my Julia and sing as I go,
And I’d catch her a bird with a wing of true blue,
And at night sail her round in our gum-tree canoe.
With my hands on the banjo and a toe on the oar,
I sing to the sound of the river’s soft roar,
While the stars they look down at my Julia so true
And dance in her eye in our gum-tree canoe.
That we couldn’t come back so we thought we’d just stay,
And, we spied a tall ship with a flag of true blue,
And it took us in tow with our gum-tree canoe.
To set myself up as a farmer so grand.
But the life didn’t suit me it made my heart sore
So I went to the river with Julia once more.