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
KEYWORDS: technology nonballad river
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Scott-TheBalladOfAmerica, pp. 348-349, "Roll On, Columbia" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-FolkSongsOfNorthAmerica 233, "Roll On, Columbia" (1 text, 1 tune)
Arnett-IHearAmericaSinging, pp. 166-167, "Roll On, Columbia" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: Tom Nash and Twilo Scofield, _The Well-Travelled Casket: Oregon Folklore_, Meadowlark Press, 1999, p. 41, "Roll On, Columbia" (1 text, 1 tune)

Roud #17660
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 5.3
File: SBoA348

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2021 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.