Mudcat Café message #3713808 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #157370   Message #3713808
Posted By: Lighter
01-Jun-15 - 09:00 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: 'Shenandoah' in the U.S. army
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Shenandoah' in the U.S. army
Hi, John. You seem to have uncovered a real conundrum. While there's nothing especially unlikely about "Shenandoah"/ "Seven Long Years" being sung in Texas in 1862, the near identity between Price's (reported) lyrics and Spalding's, plus the order the songs appear in, is surprising.

I suppose, though, that stranger coincidences have happened. After all, versions of "Seven Long Years" and "Across the Wide Missouri" do tend to be similar. And there's nothing unlikely about remembering the first stanza of a song. Another possibility is that Cowan, to make a more interesting story, inserted the lyrics from Lomax & Lomax. I certainly think it more likely that the WPA interviewer was the one with access to "American Ballads and Folk Songs." Or perhaps Price mentioned a line or two and she filled them out from the "authoritative" book.

It's hard to forget songs learned in childhood, and it must have been harder without radio, TV, etc., to distract you. All one can say is that Price seems to have recollected the songs from his childhood. That in itself would not be surprising.

Captain Whall in his book (1909) also recalled the chantey "Shenandoah" from the 1860s.