Rowboat Ride 1980

Milton Gore and I wrote this in 1980 after we visited a friend in NC and took a lazy drift down a small river on his farm. It was actually a mill pond with a mile of upstream water. As we floated under the trees that summer day, I had this song come to me. Milton fleshed out the chord progression and is playing several instruments on it. The lyrics slide from one scene to the next, just like the music does.

The song was found on a cassette I gave him of our work during those years, and he sent it to me to re-invigorate and publish here. So it's old, originally recorded around 1980. But it's good. I think it's one of the best songs I ever did...


Rowboat Ride


I borrowed a rowboat to go for a ride

On a river of beauty I rowed, for what seemed like miles

I slid down that river

Peaceful and calm as a child in the lap of his mom

Hear all those birds…


The oars in my hands doing nothing at all

Cause the current keeps pulling me on, a continuous sigh

Surrounding me now

Like the trees on the shore and the branches that hang overhead


Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream

Merrily, merrily, life is but a dream


The smell of the sea is reaching me now

And the salt in the air is as thick as the foam on the waves

Where life all began

I return to renew for the good of my body and mind

By the shimmering sea…


The heavens above, the crash of the waves

Send a thundering message of hope to me in my boat

Sun going, gone

So I lay down to rest on the beach only inches from God


Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream

Merrily, merrily; life is but a dream


I borrowed a rowboat to go for a ride

I borrowed a rowboat and went for a ride

Oh, I went for a ride…


© 1980 Rooting Star Production/ Fielding Darden/ Milton Gore/ Boulder, Colorado.
Milton on lead and bass. Fielding on the rest. I had to re-sing it in 2013 and you can hear both voices on this take. It was not possible to re-mix at that time. It was already in a stereo form. This is one of the rare songs that Milton and I shared the writing of the lyrics. The "borrowed a rowboat" was what he brought to me first. Then it went from there. Done on the Sony four track Teac, this was a hard song to record because of all the sound effects I had to add. I actually went to the store and bought a sound effects record and acquired an old stereo record player to get the sounds. Just put a mic on the speaker and hoped no trucks would drive by in the background....