The Dutchman: Another Song from the Pantheon of All-Time Great Story Songs

The Dutchman was written by Michael Peter Smith in 1968 and became a minor but intensely appreciated hit (in folk/acoustic circles anyway) in America by Steve Goodman — over the years it has gained a following, to the point that’s now become a true folk song, sung and loved around the world, with cover versions by John Gorka, Suzy Bogguss, Norm Hacking, Anne Hills, John McDermott, The New Kingston Trio, Gamble Rogers, Tom Russell, Jerry Jeff Walker, Robert James Waller, Cashman & West, Josh White, Jr., Wood’s Tea Company, John Friday, Keith Harkin, Celtic Thunder, David Soul and Brendan Grace.
Here’s the version by Steve Goodman that popularized the song in the US

And here is the version of Makem and Clancy, one of the best covers — and with a great introduction that captures the spirit of the song, and what makes it great……

The Dutchman’s story of an elderly couple in Amsterdam is one of the most poignant songs I’ve ever known — delivering real genius with lyrics that tell a story of unconditional, undying love. The Ductchman has his Margaret — and she is the wife anyone would dream of having. I’ve got my Margaret in my life …. and little by little maybe I’m becoming like the Dutchman — no, say it ain’t so, not yet…..15 more years before I’m the Dutchman, but I’ll get there, and my Margaret will be there to catch me when the streets trip me….right, Rena? (I know she will….)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *