The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #4257   Message #126963
Posted By: paddymac
22-Oct-99 - 06:59 PM
Thread Name: Origin: Shenandoah
Subject: RE: Song info:
There's a barbershop arragement of this song that always seems to bring a standing ovation, no matter how well or poorly done. Beautiful evocative chord progressions! Thomas Jefferson wrote a book during 1780-81 called "Notes on the State of Virginia", which included a section on the rivers of Virginia. Note that the geographic expanse of the colony at that time was substantially different than the present state. Anyhow, his comment on the Shenandoah was limited to a single sentence: "The Shenandoah branch interlocks with James River about the Blue Ridge, and may perhaps in future be opened." (William Peden, Ed., UNC Press, 1982) I suspect that the word "about" might have been "above" originally, as the Shenandoha Drainage and the Jackson Drainage (uppermost James River Drainage)abut each other in "the great interior valley of Virginia" on the eastern slopes of the Alleghaney Mountains (in the Bath, Agusta & Highlands Counties area). In terms of the discussion in this thread, Jefferson's scant attention to the River suggests that he did not consider it of any great importance to commercial navigation, however beautiful the river and its valley might have been.