E-ri-e Canal by Unknown

E-ri-e Canal is a song written probally sometime during the 1800's about about life on the Erie Canal. It tells the story of a problem ridden trip from Albany to Buffalo. Like most folk songs, this song has a few variants. The two songs shown below tell roughly the same tale, just slightly different.

Audio Versions Available:

1.) Rojer McGuinn -- click here***. This song is sung to first set of lyrics shown below.
(right click and 'save as' if necessary)

E-RI-E Canal Lyrics

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

Chorus:
O the E-ri-e was a-rising
And the gin was a-getting low.
And I scarcely think we'll get a drink
Till we get to Buff-a-lo-o-o
Till we get to Buffalo.

We were loaded down with barley
We were chock-full up on rye.
The captain he looked down at me
With his gol-durned wicked eye.

Chorus

Two days out from Syracuse
The vessel struck a shoal;
We like to all be foundered
On a chunk o' Lackawanna coal.

Chorus

We hollered to the captain
On the towpath, treadin' dirt
He jumped on board and stopped the leak
With his old red flannel shirt.

Chorus

The cook she was a grand old gal
Stood six foot in her socks.
Had a foot just like an elephant
And her breath would open locks.

Chorus

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

Chorus

The cook came to our rescue
She had a ragged dress;
We h'isted her upon the pole
As a signal of distress.

Chorus

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

Chorus

The cook is in the Police Gazette
The captain went to jail;
And I'm the only son-of-a-gub
That's left to tell the tale.

Chorus

Alternative Version

This is similar to the previous version, but changes the order slightly, repeats the last line of every verse and sings the chorus every other verse.

We were forty miles from Albany and
Forget it I never shall
What a terrible storm we had that night
On the Er-i-e Canal
On The Er-i-e Canal

Our Captain he came up on deck
With a spyglass in his hand
And the fog it was so tarnald thick
That he could not spy the land
That he could not spy the land

Chorus:

Oh the Erie was a risin' and the
Gin was a gettin' low
And I did not think we'd get a drink
Till we got to Buffalo ho ho
Till we got to Buffalo

We were loaded down with Barley
We were chock up full of Rye
And the Captain he looked down at me
With his dirty wicked eye
With his dirty wicked eye

Two days out of Syracuse
Our vessel struck a shoal
And we all like to been foundered
On a chunk of Lackawanna Coal
On a chunk of Lackawanna coal

Chorus

We hollared to the Captain
On the towpath treadin dirt
He jumped on board and stopped that leak
With his old red flannel shirt
With his old red flannel shirt

Our cook she was a grand old gal
She wore a ragged dress
We hoisted her upon a pole
As a signal of distress
As a signal of distress

Chorus

When we got to Syracuse
The off mule he was dead
The nigh mule had blind staggers
So we cracked him on the head
And we cracked him on the head

Oh the girls are in the Police Gazette
And the crew is all in jail
And I'm the only Sea Cook's son
That is left to tell the tale
That's left to tell the tale

Chorus

_____________________________

***Song performed by Roger McGuinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.



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