Music Illustrations, Vinyl, CDs


Kern's SHOWBOAT Tommy Dorsey 78 record album cover

Fun cover art by Canadian illustrator James Hill who was a student of Norman Rockwell for a 1946 set of 4 78 records

Jerome Kern's SHOWBOAT
Starring Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra
RCA VICTOR Musical Smart Set

Tommy Dorsey And His Orchestra - Showboat

Label: Victor - P 152
Series: Musical Smart Set -
Format: 4 x Shellac, 10", 78 RPM, Album 1946
Another source says the album was released in 1945 and that it was ranked #33 for that year

Track list

Music Jerome Kern

Make Believe Vocal - Stuart Foster

I Still Suits Me Vocals - Sy Oliver and The Sentimentalists

Ol' Man River Vocal - Stuart Foster

Bill Lyrics - P.G. Wodehouse Vocal - Peggy Mann

Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man Vocal - Peggy Mann

You Are Love Vocal - Stuart Foster

Why Do I Love You Vocal - Stuart Foster and The Sentimentalists

Nobody Else But Me Vocal - Stuart Foster


Riverboat Shuffle (Bonus Track)

Hoagy Carmichael - Topic
Published on May 15, 2016

Provided to YouTube by The Orchard Enterprises

Riverboat Shuffle (Bonus Track) • Hoagy Carmichael

Hoagy Sings Carmichael (Bonus Track Version)

℗ 2016 Starlight Jazz

Released on: 2016-04-25

This recording also featured these musicians:

Harry "Sweets" Edison (1915-1999)-Trumpet player (he was a member of Count Basie's Band)

Jimmy Rowles (1918-1996) - Pianist (he was also a vocalist and composer himself)

Art Pepper (1925-1982) - Alto Saxophonist known also for being "a very occasional tenor saxophonist and clarinetist"

(the first dozen lines of the following lyrics were not sung on this recording):

All you cotton toters,
Mississippi floaters,
Gather all about!
Gather all about!
Got some things to tell ya.
Not a thing to sell ya.
Listen and you'll all find out.
What I'm about to say
Will take your breath away,
So, come a little closer,
Just a little closer,
Got a lotta news to shout! Say!

Good people, you're invited tonight
To the Riverboat Shuffle!
Good people, we got rhythm tonight
At the Riverboat Shuffle!
They tell me that slidepipe tooter is grand,
Best in Loosianna

So bring your freighter, come and alligator that band.
Good people, you'll hear Milneberg Joys
In a special orchestration!
Even Mama Dinah will be there to strut for the boys
In a room full of noise.
She'll teach you to shuffle it right,
So, bring your baby;
I'll be seeing you at the Riverboat Shuffle tonight.
The Riverboat Shuffle tonight.

slidepipe tooter - trombone player
Alligator: A devotee of jazz or swing music.
Mister Hawkins on the tenor! (tenor sax: Coleman Hawkins)
Mister Jordan on the alto (alto sax: Louis Jordan)
Mama Dinah - Dinah Washington

Bix Beiderbecke's cornet on this instrumental version of RIVERBOAT SHUFFLE is wonderfully bouncy Shuffle - Frank Trumbauer & His Orchestra (Bix Beiderbecke, Don Murray, Bill Rank) Recorded 9 May, 1927

Louis Armstrong And His Band - Milneberg Joys (Milneberg was a small town on the south end of Lake Ponchartrain north of New Orleans)

steamboat illustration

A friend in France helped me get a hold of this old LP which apparently dates back to the '60's . . . a French Dixieland Jazz band lead by "Mowgli" (named for the boy hero of The Jungle Book) Jospin a trombone player whose brother Lionel was of one of France's Prime Ministers.

The color scheme was black and purple which was too much for my eyes so I tamed it down to a nice blue.

Art work of the boat is pretty nice, reminds me of the style of MAD magazine artists like Jack Davis.

Mississippi River's Wrap Around LP album cover

Mississippi River Wrap Around LP album cover.


Attached scan of DVD cover of the 1980 T.V. movie based on Mark Twain's memoir LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI first broadcast on PBS. The movie was filmed on the Illinois River with Dennis Trone's JULIA BELLE SWAIN doubling for both the PAUL JONES and the ALECK SCOTT. Shot on 16mm film there is some softness to the resolution of the movie which appears to have been transferred from video tape to DVD rather than remastered in high resolution to DVD. If that upgrade can be made someday the image quality will be improved a great deal. Robert Lansing portrayed Horace Bixby the master pilot who "learned Sam the river and Lansing became a kind of surrogate incarnation of a grown-up Mark Twain in both appearance and characterization. He really makes the show come alive.

Life on the Mississippi (DVD) is available from the Mark Twain Museum shop in Hannibal, MO:

Presented by PBS and the National Endowment for the Humanities, this movie version of Twain's exciting river memoir sticks to the book in both narrative and dialogue. Newsday called it, "The most respectfully faithful translation of prose to film I have ever seen or yet imagined..." Starring Robert Lansing and David Knell, with an introduction by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1980; color; 115 min.) Note to teachers: Includes study guide in the Root level of the disk.



April 18, 2014
By David Knell from his website (Knell portrayed the youthful Sam Clemens in this show). In Movie Memories

My film debut. When Dennis Christopher broke his arm, two weeks before production began, the producers of this Great Performance epic scoured the globe for someone else to play young Sam Clemens in Mark Twain's autobiographical tale of his years as a young riverboat pilot. They found me.

It was an amazing experience that I will treasure as long as I live.

Beautifully shot by Walter Lassely, and Directed by Peter H. Hunt. I have fond memories of every single person who worked on this film.

A few years ago there was a 3-D IMAX film called, I think, "Mark Twain's America" that featured some footage shot on the Julia Belle Swain, the steamboat on which we filmed. I cannot express how wonderful it was, reliving a cherished memory in 3D. Amazing.

"When I was a boy, there was but one permanent and burning ambition among me and my comrades, and that was to be a steamboat pilot."

Lucky Luke Cover 75 DPI for NORI 4 Oct 2013

Wrap-around LP album cover for "MISSISSIPPI RIVER'S"

The chief interest is of course the cartoon-style steamboat DIXIE ROSE and those crazy caricatured singers and dancers down by the riverside.

This is a scan of the cover only for the 16th in 79 Volumes in the serio-comic Western series which began publication in 1949 featuring a light hearted Belgian-French reimagining of what Western hero as incarnated as cowboy Lucky Luke.

LUCKY LUKE EN REMONTANT LE MISSISSIPPI (Lucky Luke Going Up the Mississippi)
Dessins de (Drawings by) MORRIS
Scénario de (Story by) R. GOSCINNY

Published in 1961
Belgian artist Maurice De Bevere (1923 - 2001) who created Lucky Luke, signed his cartoons "Morris."

René Goscinny (1926 -1977) wrote over half of the Lucky Luke stories.

Goscinny also wrote the stories for the comic series Astérix which was drawn by Albert Uderzo. Note also there's an alligator sitting up taking notice in the river near the center of the steamer's profile. A 'gator is also included on the cover by the same artist for the cover of the Lucky Luke adventure EN REMONTANT LE MISSISSIPPI BOGALUSA, LOUISIANA is on a label attached to the barrel that the banjo player is sitting on in the far right foreground is sitting on.

The celebrated Belgian cartoonist signed this and his other cartoons "Morris."


CD cover art done in the tradition of MAD magazine cover artist/caricature expert Jack Davis. Nice technical accuracy on the li'l sternwheeler. Down Home Jazz Band records for the Stomp Off label. buy the CD at

Photo Youtube

popular song 1931

1931 sheet music cover promoting male soloist Wayne King with the silhouette of a single stacked sidewheel railroad-transport ferry/steamboat. Many of the Tin Pan Alley publishers hired artists who weren't familiar with the style of Western Rivers-style steamboats, so authentic representations of them were outnumbered by the anachronistic variety.

Sheet music dedicated to steamboats by their own names back in the mid 1800's were usually published in the Midwest or South where the contributing artists were familiar with the "real thing."

Boswell Sisters (Trio) sing:

"Roll On Mississippi, Roll On" (1931)


The Boswell Sisters were a close harmony singing group, consisting of sisters Martha Boswell (June 9, 1905 -- July 2, 1958), Connee Boswell (original name Connie) (December 3, 1907 -- October 11, 1976), and Helvetia "Vet" Boswell (May 20, 1911 -- November 12, 1988).

The trio was noted for intricate harmonies and rhythmic experimentation. They attained national prominence during the 1930s.


Song writers Eugene West, James McCaffrey and Dave Ringle
Recorded by The Boswell Sisters
With the The Dorsey Brothers Orchestra
April 23rd 1931
New York City

L Y R I C S : (The improvised jazz derived"scat" that the Boswells wove into their vocals were not transcribed)

Hear that whistle, there goes the bell,
That means we're on our way.
All aboard boy, I'm feelin' swell
This is my happy day.
Paddlewheel you're mighty mighty slow
That's why I keep on shoutin'
"Let her go!"

Roll on you Mississippi, roll on,
Hang on you lazy steamer, quit your stallin' and move along!
Clear the river, here we come,
Watch her smoke boy!
Hear that engine hummin' Lawdy!

Take a look at that shore
With the folks I adore.
There's a spot 'round that bend
That's my home, my journey's end.
Come on you old man river, come on
Roll on you Mississippi, roll!

New Orleans, Hel-lo!
Bye-bye New Orleans!
Get along, goin' strong
Baton Rouge, so-long!
Say Captain, tell me,
What's the next big town we'll see?
I'm so excited I'm as happy as can be!

Oh, roll on you Mississippi, roll on,
Come on, you lazy steamer, move on!
See that river, here we come!
Watch that smoke boy, hear that hum!
There's a spot 'round that bend,
That's my home, my journey's end.
Here we come!

Roll on, you old man river, come on!
Move on, you lazy steamer, move on!
Roll on, you Mississippi,
Roll on, you Mississippi, roll on!


Belafonte's MARK TWAIN song

Belafonte's song based on the calls of the "leadsmen" (that he called "gaugers") who took soundings on steamboats was a fictional interpretation that veered off quite a ways from the actual origin of the term "Mark Twain" - it didn't have anything to do with "marking the twine" which held the lead weight that they threw in the water to determine the depth for the pilots in places where it was uncertain how deep the river was in some places. On the original album cover Belafonte mentioned that he researched soundings at the Library of Congress. Captain Fred Way would have been very helpful in that pursuit.

Definition of twain
two fathoms

John Hartford knew the art of taking soundings very well and was probably often called upon to point out where the reality of the leadsmen's cries differed from the inventive "folklore-ification" of history.

Harry begins with a spoken introduction then sings the series of soundings to which he added the "gauger's" comments about his career and his life on shore.

Mark Twain by Harry Belafonte

Val Black
Published on Jul 8, 2010

From Harry Belafonte's 50's album, "Mark Twain and Other Folk Favorites."
This folk song, Mark Twain is Harry's own composition.

"I think this song is representative" he said, "of the efforts I exert in retaining the ethnic quality of the material while imposing it on an audience attuned to 32-bar popular melodies."

Mark Twain lyrics by Harry Belafonte

Many years ago on the Mississippi riverboats
They had men called gaugers
And the job of a gauger was to hang off
the side of the boat with one hand
And in the other hand he had a ball of twine
with a hunk of lead on the end of it
He'd heave the lead around his head
And let it fly into the river
Wherever the water marked the twine
He'd call up to the skipper and say

Markin' on the twine is four fathoms!

'Course day after day, year after year
This would get pretty monotonous
Until in the eighteen hundreds a little man
Came along and revolutionized the
Whole gauging industry

Instead of saying marking on the twine
He cut it short and said Mark Twain
And in between each marking he'd
Fill it in with a little patter about himself
And his every day life and in between each
marking he'd fill it in with a little patter
about himself and his every day life
Well if you'd been livin' at that time
Coming up from a distance on the Mississippi
It would have sounded like this:

Mark Twain!
Four fathoms off the starboard bow
I got a gal named Cindy Lou
Feeds me gin and bake beans too
Mark Twain

Mark Twain! Three fathoms off the starboard bow,
I got a friend his name is Pete, sings dirty songs down on Beale Street
Mark Twain

Mark Twain!
Two fathoms off the starboard bow
I've been working the river since '92 I get a penny a
day and bad liquor too Mark Twain

Gonna save my money 'till I die, they gonna bury me
all but my good right eye, Mark Twain

Mark Twain! No fathoms off the starboard bow!
Look out skipper pull it to the side
You gonna bust your bow and split your hide
Oh great God, we done run aground!
Skipper gonna chase me with a big blood hound!
Mark Twain


Steamboat Woody Banjo Songs for Broken Hearts

Below is the YouTube link to my favorite Steamboat Woody song: Leaving & Living. Wish the lyrics were available also. The style reminds me of Bob Dylan's folk songs.

Leaving and Living, by Steamboat Woody
Published on Feb 5, 2019
Provided to YouTube by iMusician Digital AG Youtube

Steamboat Woody's home is in Québec, Canada
Banjo Songs for Broken Hearts
by Steamboat Woody - purchase options on website - digital or CD
Send as Gift!
1. Nowhere to Stay 02:46
2. Goin' East 02:37
3. Leaving and Living 03:26
4. PBR and Beef Jerky 02:43
Recorded by LoSpider at Swampland Records.
Artwork by Jérémie Guneau.
released April 15, 2016
all rights reserved


At The Steamboat River Ball

At the Steamboat River Ball sheet music cover featuring The Star Gazers

The song was originally recorded by a group called The Four Tunes who were active from 1946 - 1958

The melody of the song sounds like it was based on "Sweet Georgia Brown" composed in 1925 by Ben Bernie and Maceo Pinkard, with lyrics by Kenneth Casey

Have to find the lyrics

On amazon (United Kingdom) you can hear a sample of the song as it was recorded by The Four Tunes:

At the Steamboat River Ball
The Four Tunes
From the Album I Understand Just How You Feel
6 Sep 2012


With the exception of images credited to public institutions,
everything on this page is from a private collection.
Please contact for permission for commercial use.*

All captions provided by Dave Thomson, primary contributor and historian.