Monday, August 17, 2015

Shenandoah

Wandering trader
Falls for an Indian girl.
Then he wanders off.

Bob Dylan's version of this old song appeared on the 1988 album "Down in the Groove." I think that the song has been unjustly maligned. It's a lovely, minimal precursor to the kind of modern roots country and Americana music that NPR listeners favor, and Dylan adds to that kind of wooden groove the sound of his backup singers, who give the whole song a nice push. The song apparently comes from the early 19th century, and sing about the Indian chief Shenandoah, or Oskanondonha, as well as his beautiful daughter, whom a trader in a canoe wants to marry. The song has since evolved into a sea shanty as well, says Wikipedia. 

Oh, Shenandoah, I long to hear you
Look away, you rollin' river
Oh, Shenandoah, I long to hear you
Look away. We're bound away
Across the wide Missouri

Now the Missouri is a mighty river
Look away, you rollin' river.
Indians camp along her border
Look away. We're bound away
Across the wide Missouri

Well a white man loved an Indian maiden
Look away, you rollin' river
With notions his canoe was laden
Look away, we're bound away
Across the wide Missouri

Oh Shenandoah, I love your daughter
Look away, you rollin' river
It was for her I'd cross the water.
Look away, we're bound away
Across the wide Missouri

For seven long years I courted Sally
Look away, you rollin' river
Seven more years I longed to have her
Look away, we're bound away
Across the wide Missouri

Well, it's fare-thee-well, my dear,
I'm bound to leave you
Look away you rollin' river
Shenandoah, I will not deceive you
Look away, we're bound away
Across the wide Missouri



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