Roll On, Columbia
DESCRIPTION: Tribute to the Columbia River, the development along it, and the Bonneville Power Administration that manages both: "Roll on Columbia, roll on (x2), Your power is turning our darkness to dawn, So roll on, Columbia, roll on."
AUTHOR: Woody Guthrie
EARLIEST DATE: 1941
KEYWORDS: technology nonballad river
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Scott-BoA, pp. 348-349, "Roll On, Columbia" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-FSNA 233, "Roll On, Columbia" (1 text, 1 tune)
Arnett, pp. 166-167, "Roll On, Columbia" (1 text, 1 tune)
Pete Seeger, "Roll On, Columbia" (on AmHist2) (on PeteSeeger41)
cf. "Goodnight Irene" (tune)
NOTES [106 words]: I've seen people claim that the tune Woody used was "Goodnight Irene"; others say it's "My Bonnie." I guess he managed to modify it enough to fool at least a few people.... - RBW
"My Bonnie"? Naah. This is "Goodnight Irene", almost unchanged. - PJS
Obviously true of the chorus. The verse has been altered to a slightly greater degree. Not that it really matters.
Incidentally, although the Grand Coulee Dam is no longer "the biggest thing built by the hand of a man," more than three quarters of a century after Woody wrote this song, it is still reported (in 2019) to be the single most productive hydroelectric plant in the world. - RBW
Last updated in version 5.1
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