Deep River Blues

Words & Music:

Alton & Rabon Delmore


Great tune.  Two versions of Doc Watson's fingerpicking arrangement are below.



E7           Edim         E7            A7

Let it rain, let it pour, let it rain a whole lot more,

       E                     B7    B7#5

'Cause I got them deep river blues.

E             Edim            E             A7

Let the waves drive right on, let that wind sweep along,

       E          B7         E    E6  E

'Cause I got them deep river blues.


My old gal, she's a good old pal, looks like a water fowl.

When I get them deep river blues.

Ain't no one to cry for me and the fish'll go out on a spree

When I get them deep river blues.




I'm gonna take my old boat, I'm gonna sail if she'll float,

'Cause I got them deep river blues,

I'm goin' back to mussel shores, times are better there I'm told,

'Cause I got them deep river blues.




If my boat sinks with me, I'll go down, don't you see?

'Cause I got them deep river blues.

Now I'm gonna say goodbye, and if I sink, just let me die

'Cause I got them deep river blues.




1.  Short Watson tab from Cowboy Lyrics:

I love this tune too Bill and have been working on it for a while.  I

start it with these chords E7 and E flat7 and back to E7, up the neck:


-------7---     and the Eb6        -------6--

-------5---                        -------5--

-------7---                        -------6--

-------6---                        -------5--

xxxxxxxxxxx                        xxxxxxxxxx

-------0---                        -------0--


The progression then goes:

(E7) Give me back (E flat 6) my old boat (E7) I'm gonna sail boys (A) if

she'll float (E, played at 1st fret) I've got them deep river (B7)blues










(E7) If my boat (Efl6) sinks with me (E7) I'm going down boys (A)don't you

see (E)I've got them (B7)deep river (E) blues



2. Craig Ostrom's full Watson tab:

Position your fingers like so:









This is the chord shape you want to start with (E7). Just bounce between the 6th and 4th strings with your thumb for now:









Then move the same chord shape down one fret for 4 notes, and back up again for 4, keep bouncing till you're ready to start.


It looks like this tabbed out. Mute strings 4,5,and 6 with the heel of your palm against the bridge. This stays fairly constant throughout the song and gives the effect of two different guitars playing.















(E7) Let it rain---------------------(E flat 6) let ...








(E7) Let it rain--------------(A) a ...








(E) I've got them deep-------------- river ---- (B7) blues








(E7) Let that rain----------------------(E flat 6) drive ...








(E7) Let that river just (A) sweep me along--(E) I've got them (B7) deep








-river (E) blues



That's it for the verses, here's a nice way to finish it:






-0--4---------------------0 (let ring)-----------------------0-----------




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