E-ri-e, The

DESCRIPTION: About a "terrible storm" on the Erie Canal. "Oh, the E-ri-e was a-rising And the gin was a-getting low, And I scarcely think we'll get a little drink Till we get to Buffalo." Humorous anecdotes of a highly hazardous voyage
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1927 (Sandburg)
KEYWORDS: canal humorous cook animal wreck
1825 - Erie Canal opens (construction began in 1817)
FOUND IN: US(MW) Canada(Mar)
REFERENCES (12 citations):
Creighton-Maritime, p. 144, "It's Let Go Your Bowline" (1 text, 1 tune)
ThompsonNewYork, pp. 245-246, "(no title)" (assorted excerpts; see also "Black Rock Pork" on pp. 243-244, which includes much of this song although without a chorus); pp. 250-251, "The E-ri-e" (1 text)
Sandburg, p. 180, "The E-ri-e" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-FSUSA 45, "The E-ri-e" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-ABFS, pp. 470-471, "The E-ri-e" (1 text, 1 tune); see also pp. 455-457, "Ballad of the Erie Canal" (1 text, composite and probably containing stanzaswhich belong here); pp. 459-463, "The Erie Canal Ballad" (8 texts, some fragmentary, the fourth of which appears to belong here)
Cohen-AFS1, pp. 103-104, "The E-ri-e" (1 text)
Warner-Eastern, pp. 36-36, "The E-ri-e" (1 text)
Darling-NAS, pp. 333-335, "The Erie Canal" (1 text)
Arnett, p. 56, "The Erie Canal" (1 text, 1 tune)
PSeeger-AFB, p. 87, "Erie Canal" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 43, "E-ri-e" (1 text)

Roud #6599
Pete Seeger, "Erie Canal" (on PeteSeeger07, PeteSeeger07a)
cf. "The Raging Canal (I)" (plot)
cf. "A Trip on the Erie (Haul in Your Bowline)" (plot)
cf. "The Erie Canal"
cf. "Black Rock Pork" (plot, lyrics)
cf. "Canalman's Farewel (Lay Me on the Horse-Bridge)" (lyrics)
cf. "The Calabar" (theme)
cf. "Stormy Weather Boys" (subject)
cf. "The Farmington Canal Song" (theme)
cf. ""The Wreck of the Mary Jane"" (theme)
cf. "The Wreck of the Varty" (theme)
cf. "On Board the Bugaboo" (theme)
cf. "Changing Berth" (theme)
cf. "The Wreck of the Gwendoline" (theme)
cf. "The Fish and Chip Ship" (theme)
cf. "The Shipwreck on the Lagan Canal" (theme)
NOTES [168 words]: The Erie Canal, as originally constructed, was a completely flat, shallow waterway. The barges were drawn along by mules. Thus, apart from getting wet, storms posed little danger, and the only way one could run aground was to run into trash that had fallen into the canal.
As for needing a distress signal ("We h'isted (the cook) upon the pole
As a signal of distress"), one could always step off onto dry land....
The Lomaxes, in American Ballad and Folk Songs, thoroughly mingled many texts of the Erie Canal songs (in fairness, some of this may have been the work of their informants -- but in any case the Lomaxes did not help the problem). One should check all the Erie Canal songs for related stanzas.
Dan Milner, in the essay "Collecting Occupational Songs" in Scott B. Spencer, editor, The Ballad Collectors of North America, Scarecrow Press, 2012, pp. 198-199, observes that it is not known whether this song derives from the Harrigan and Hart piece "Buffalo" (printed 1878) or vice versa. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.2
File: LxU045

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