Save the Delta Queen: A private initiative to save the steamboat Delta Queen A private initiative to save the steamboat Delta Queen
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DELTA QUEEN Songs – A Sentimental Journey

Dec 25, 2007

From how many steamboats can be said there are at least seven different songs written about them? The DELTA QUEEN can! Let me take you on a short but sentimental journey through these songs. Please let me know if I missed a DQ song.

“The whistle came out, such a deep mellow sound in the night”


First of all, there is John Hartford‘s wonderful bluegrass song “Delta Queen Waltz” (from the album “Down On The River”, 1989; at Amazon as CD or as MP3 download). Van Dyke Parks made a cover version of this song played by a country music orchestra (album: “Moonlight – Live At The Ash Grove”, 1998).

“When you go, you take a lot of dreams”


There are two songs related to the first Save The Delta Queen campaign of 1970. The more famous one is the “Salute to the Delta Queen” song Johnny Cash presented as part of his legendary “The Johnny Cash Show” at the Nashville Ryman Auditorium (No. 35, Oct 14, 1970, ABC) which literally is a “Good Bye” song more than an enthusiastic “let’s save her” tune. Unfortunately it’s very hard to find a recording of this show. Bootleg DVDs show up at eBay from time to time.

“Mr. Muster called it treason”


The other song related to the 1970’s campaign is from a relatively unknown band named CARP which only published one album (simply named “Carp”, 1970) plus this single record “Save the Delta Queen”, a powerful rock’n’roll song in favor of the boat. Unfortunately not many people did hear the song than as it had been banished from all major radio stations: The term “damn” appeared in the lyrics – something unheard of in these days … The singer and drummer of the band Carp was a man who became famous with his second career as actor: Gary Busey.

“This old gal got a lot of soul” (Country Gentlemen)


Some more Delta Queen songs are from the famous The Country Gentlemen (“Delta Queen”; at Amazon as MP3 download), Rockabilly Hall of Fame member Bobby Joe Swilley (“Roll on Delta Queen”, album: “Delta Pride”, 2006; at CD Universe as music CD), Danny O’Keefe (“Delta Queen”, album: “So long Harry Trueman”, 1975; at Amazon as music CD; Danny O’Keefe website) and The Andy Owens Project (“Delta Queen”, album: “A Compilation”, 2007; Andy Owens website).

Ragtime Mary Greene

I include Jazzou Jones‘ “Ragtime Mary Greene” to this collection of Delta Queen songs, though strictily it’s not a DQ song. But Mary Greene and the Delta Queen do have such close ties that I think it belongs here anyway. Jazzou published this wonderful piano tune just last year and the premiere performances actually was on the Delta Queen. (sheet music “A Ragtime Trilogy” available from Jazzou Jones, e-mail:, the music CD “Hilarity” can be ordered at


4 Responses to “DELTA QUEEN Songs – A Sentimental Journey”

  1. Neal Kapp Says:

    I have written to Gary Busey’s, long time attorney and acquaintence, about re-acquiring Mr. Busey’s Save the Delta Queen Support and long lost song.

  2. John LaCount Says:

    Bobby Goldsboro also did a song about the Delta Queen Called, Mississippi Delta Queen.

  3. » Blog Archive » Hommage an die Delta Queen Says:

    […] von hat eine Liste mit Delta Queen Songs gemacht. Da erfährt man nicht nur, dass es bereits 1970 eine erste Initiative gab, um das […]

  4. Bela K. Berty Says:

    Another song about the steamer DELTA QUEEN is “Thank You, Tom Greene” by The Ohio River Minstrels (John and Gwenn Noftsger). The song is #14 on their album titled “Ohio Pioneers”. Write to them at Post Ofice Box 224, SPRING VALLEY OH 45370 USA. Telephone them at (937) 862 – 5551. Visit their website: