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Lighter Lyr Add: Shenandoah (41) RE: Lyr Add: Shenandoah 09 Jun 20


Fred R. Bechdolt, "The Sailor's Chantys," S.F. Sunday Call, Mag. Section (June 4, 1911) p. 5

“Of these windlass chantys there are many and they come from many places. The negro roustabouts on the Mississippi invented one, to sing while carrying cotton from the levee to the steamers. That was taken up by deep sea sailors and now is sung on every sea. ‘Shenandoah’ is its name. It goes like this:


Shenandoah, I love your waters
First chorus—And awa-a-a-y, you rolling river
I love your clear and rushing waters.
Second chorus—Ah! ah! ah! We’re bound away,
Across the western ocean.

(In the negro roustabout version, ‘Western Ocean’ was ‘Wide Missouri.’ The stanzas follow without choruses, which are always the same.)

The ship sails free, a gale is blowing,
Her braces taught and sheet a-flowing.
Black eyed Sue is sure a beauty,
To sing her praise it is our duty.
Give me a good old Yankee clipper,
A bully crew and a swearing skipper.
Shenandoah, my heart is longing
To see again your rolling waters."


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