SHENENDOAH

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs
  • SHENENDOAH
    “Oh Shenandoah” (also called simply “Shenandoah”) is an American folk song, dating to
    the early 19th century. The lyrics may tell the story of a roving trader in love with the
    daughter of an Indian chief; in this interpretation, the rover tells the chief of his intent to
    take the girl with him far to the west, across the Missouri River. Other interpretations tell
    of a pioneer’s nostalgia for the Shenandoah River Valley in Virginia, and a young woman
    who is its daughter; or of a Union soldier in the Civil War, dreaming of his country home
    to the west of the Missouri river, in Shenandoah, Iowa. For a time in early 2006, it
    appeared that “Shenandoah” would become the “interim state song” for Virginia. While
    the authorizing legislation passed the Senate of Virginia, the measure died in committee
    on the Virginia House of Delegates side. It was a problematic choice because the song
    never specifically mentions Virginia and, in many versions of the song, the name
    “Shenandoah” refers to just the Indian chief, not the Shenandoah Valley or Shenandoah
    River.
    Oh, Shenandoah, I long to hear you
    Look away, you rollin’ river
    Oh, Shenandoah, I long to hear
    Look away, we’re bound away
    Across the wide Missouri.
    Now the Missouri is a mighty river
    Look away, you rollin’ river
    Indians camp a long 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.
    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.