Michael Row The Boat Ashore - Chords, Lyrics and Origins

Origins

The chords for Michael Row The Boat Ashore are a little more subtle than you might think.  It isn't just a three-chord trick.  You can play a C chord at the end of the first line of each verse and chorus if you want to, but using Am7 instead gives the song a nice plaintive ring (the seventh is important, as it is a G, which is the note you should be singing).

Michael Row the Boat Ashore is surely one of the best known folk songs of all time, and, in my opinion, also one of the loveliest.  Brought to international attention by singers like Pete Seeger during the era of the American civil rights movement, 'Michael' has African-American origins, and seems to have started life around the time of the Civil War.  You can find more information about its origins here.

Chords

Capo at 4th Fret


Chorus

C                                                          F  Am7

Michael row the boat ashore, hallelu-jah

C            Em                   Dm7     C     G7 C
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelu-jah




Verse

C                                                     F   Am7
Sister help to trim the sail, hallelu-jah

C         Em                      Dm7  C     G7  C
Sister help to trim the sail,   hallelu-jah

Lyrics

Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah

Sister help to trim the sail, hallelujah
Sister help to trim the sail, hallelujah

Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah

Jordan's river is deep and is wide, hallelujah
Meet my mother on the other side, hallelujah

Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah

River Jordan is chilly and cold, hallelujah
Chills the body but not the soul, hallelujah

Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah

Michael's Boat is a music boat , hallelujah
Michael's Boat is a music boat , hallelujah

Other American Folk Songs
Other Traditional Folk Songs