Old Folks at Home (Swanee River) Printable Lyrics – PDF

Old Folks at Home, also known as Swanee River, is a minstrel song from the 19th century. The American composer Stephen C. Foster wrote it in 1851; soon after he sold it to E. P. Christy, a businessman who operated a series of minstrel shows. The original text was written in the the dialect of an African slave at a time when slavery was legal in 15 of the US states.  Over time, as is the case with many minstrel songs, the lyrics have been revised to cast off the racist contents and hints.

From 1935 to 2008 Old Folks at Home was the official state song of Florida.

On this page you can find lyrics, a printable lyrics PDF file for free download plus two sing-along and one karaoke video. Enjoy!

 

Printable Lyrics PDF

Click on the button to download a PDF file with lyrics to this song for free.

Lyrics PDF download

 

Lyrics

(Here you will see the revised lyrics, adopted by the Center for American Music, Stephen Foster Memorial, at the University of Pittsburgh).

Way down upon the Suwannee River,
Far, far away,
There’s where my heart is turning ever,
There’s where the old folks stay.
All up and down the whole creation,
Sadly I roam,
Still longing for my childhood station,
And for the old folks at home.

Chorus
All the world is sad and dreary
Everywhere I roam.
O dear ones, how my heart grows weary,
Far from the old folks at home.

All ‘round the little farm I wander’d,
When I was young;
Then many happy days I squander’d,
Many the songs I sung.
When I was playing with my brother,
Happy was I.
Oh, take me to my kind old mother,
There let me live and die.

Chorus
All the world is sad and dreary
Everywhere I roam.
O dear ones, how my heart grows weary,
Far from the old folks at home.

One little hut among the bushes,
One that I love.
Still sadly to my memory rushes,
No matter where I rove.
When will I see the bees a humming,
All ‘round the comb?
When shall I hear the banjo strumming,
Down in my good old home.

Chorus
All the world is sad and dreary
Everywhere I roam.
O dear ones, how my heart grows weary,
Far from the old folks at home.

 

Sing-along Video with Original Lyrics

In the following video you’ll hear the song in the original lyrics where you can trace the words and phrases that are no longer in use, conforming to the modern cultural views of the west.

 

Animated Sing-along Video with Lyrics

 

Karaoke Video

 

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