Titanic (X), The ("Down With the Old Canoe") (Titanic #10)
DESCRIPTION: The Titanic sets sail, but sinks. The singers then draw morals, including that the hand of Man is no match for God Chorus: "Sailing out to win her fame, the Titanic was her name... Many passengers and her crew went down with that old canoe"
AUTHOR: Dorsey Dixon
EARLIEST DATE: 1938 (recording, Dixon Brothers)
LONG DESCRIPTION: The Titanic sets sail amid gaiety and laughter, but sinks. The singers then draw morals, including that the hand of Man is no match for God, and that one should obey the commands of Jesus. Chorus: "Sailing out to winter pain, the Titanic was her name/When she had sailed 500 miles from shore/Many passengers and her crew went down with that old canoe/They all went down to never ride no more"
KEYWORDS: pride death ship party disaster wreck religious Jesus
April 14/15, 1912 - Shortly before midnight, ship's time, the Titanic strikes an iceberg and begins to sink. Only 711 survivors are found of 2224 people believed to have been aboard.
FOUND IN: US(SE)
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Joyner, pp. 55-56, "Down With the Old Canoe" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: Steven Biel, _A Cultural History of the Titanic Disaster_, 1996, pp. 98-99 (in the Norton edition), "Down with the Old Canoe" (1 text)
ST RcTDWtOC (Full)
Dixon Brothers, "Down With the Old Canoe" (Bluebird B-7449, 1938; on Dixons01, Dixons04)
cf. all the other Titanic songs (plot)
NOTES: This can be distinguished from the other Titanic songs by the presence of the phrase, "Down with the old canoe," and by the proportion of narrative (1 verse) to moralizing (3 verses). - PJS
In light of the song's ludicrously un-Christian attempt at theology, it should probably be noted that, at the time the Titanic sank, the Germans already had an even bigger liner under construction. The Imperator had a number of design flaws, but she never hit any icebergs, and was retired, quite un-sunk, in 1938 (by which time she had become the British Berengeria).
Lyle Lofgren thinks this is a rewrite of the Cofer Brothers song "The Titanic Was Her Name." There is some similarity in the chorus, but the rewriting is substantial; I'd be inclined to regard that as just an instance of a floating verse. But there seems no doubt that Dorsey Dixon wrote the song, because it is dated 25 years after the Titanic sank, i.e. around 1937. Which is right about the time the Dixon Brothers recorded the song.
For an extensive history of the Titanic, with detailed examination of the truth (or lack thereof) of quotes in the Titanic songs, see the notes to "The Titanic (XV)" ("On the tenth day of April 1912") (Titanic #15) - RBW
Last updated in version 3.8
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography
The Ballad Index Copyright 2017 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.