Shenandoah
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Barry Taylor
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This song was a shanty used with the windlass, capstan, and with winches for loading cargo

The origin of the song is mysterious. Some believe the song originated among the early American rivermen or Candian voyageurs. Others believe it was a land song before it went to sea. Most agree that it incorporates both Irish and African-American elements.

Shenandoah was tremendously popular both on land and sea and was known by countless names, including: Shennydore, The Wide Missouri, The Wild Mizzourye, The World Of Misery-Solid Fas (a West Indian rowing shanty that may be older than other versions), The Oceanida and Rolling River.

Two verses of the song were published in an article by W. J. Alden in Harper's Magazine (1882). A version of Solid Fa's was collected by R. Abrams in England in 1909. The shanty is said to date at least to the 1820s.

Shenandoah was an Indian chief living on the Missouri River.

Missouri, she's a mighty river
Way-aye, you rolling river
The redskin's camp lies on its borders,
A way - we're bound away
'cross the wide Missouri!

The white man loved the Indian maid,
Way-aye, you rolling river!
With notions his canoe was laden
A way - we're bound away
'cross the wide Missouri!

Oh Shenandoah, I love your daughter
Way-aye, you rolling river
I'll take her 'cross yon rolling water
A way - we're bound away
'cross the wide Missouri!

The Chief disdained the trader's dollars,
Way-aye, you rolling river
My daughter you shall never follow
A way - we're bound away
'cross the wide Missouri!

For seven years I courted Sally,
Way-aye, you rolling river
For seven more I longed to have her
A way - we're bound away
'cross the wide Missouri!

She said she would not be my lover
Way-aye, you rolling river
Because I was a tarry sailor
A way - we're bound away
'cross the wide Missouri!

At last there came a Yankee skipper
Way-aye, you rolling river
He winked his eye, and he tipped his flipper
A way - we're bound away
'cross the wide Missouri!

He sold the Chief that fire-water
Way-aye, you rolling river
And 'cross the river he stole his daughter
A way - we're bound away
'cross the wide Missouri!

Oh Shenandoah! I long to hear you,
Way-aye, you rolling river
Across that wide and rolling river.
A way - we're bound away
'cross the wide Missouri!

From Book of Navy Songs
See Bibliography for full information.
Information from a Digital Tradition thread, particularly by Barry Finn and Bruce Olsen.