E-Ri-E Canal

"The E-Ri-E Canal" is not to be mistaken with another song about the Erie Canal, the more famous "Low Bridge." Work on the Erie Canal began in 1817 and was completed in 1825.

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The E-Ri-E Canal
(text from arrangement of composer Roger Ames)

We were forty miles from Albany
Forget it I never shall.
What a terrible storm we had one night
On the E-ri-e Canal.

We were loaded down with barley
We were all of us full of rye.
And the captain he looked down on me
With a dog-gone wicked eye.

O the E-ri-e’s a-rising
And the whiskey’s gettin’ low.
And I hardly think we’ll get a drink
Till we get to Buff-a-lo-o-o
Till we get to Buffalo.

The cook, she was a kind old soul.
She had a ragged dress;
So we h’isted her upon a pole
As a signal of distress.

The wind begins to whistle
The waves begin to roll
We had to reef our royals
On that ragin’ canal.


When we got to Syracuse
Off-mule, he was dead;
The high mule got blind staggers and
We cracked him on the head.

The girls are in the Police Gazette
The crew are all in jail;
And I’m the only sea cook’s son
That’s lived to tell the tale.


Related Information


Song of America

(Leonard Bernstein, Henry T. Burleigh, Walter Damrosch, John Woods Duke, Stephen Foster, Charles Griffes, Ned Rorem, Charles Naginski, Clifford Shaw, Abraham Wood, Elinor Remick Warren and Kurt Weill)





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