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The Ohio River Flood of 1937-any songs?

Janie 03 Jan 11 - 07:37 PM
Janie 03 Jan 11 - 08:07 PM
GUEST,DWR 03 Jan 11 - 10:11 PM
Janie 04 Jan 11 - 08:21 PM
GUEST 04 Jan 11 - 10:55 PM
GUEST,DWR 04 Jan 11 - 11:52 PM
Janie 05 Jan 11 - 01:23 AM
Janie 13 Aug 16 - 12:59 PM
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Subject: The Ohio River Flood of 1937-any songs?
From: Janie
Date: 03 Jan 11 - 07:37 PM

Spent a wonderful New Year's night listening to Dad and my aunt Hank reminisce about their childhoods in Huntington, WV. They devoted considerable time to their memories of the 1937 Ohio River flood. Dad was 12 and Hank was 6 at the time. They climbed out a 2nd story window into a boat, were rowed to the train tracks, and from there were evacuated to Milton, WV. Nannie and Hank rode in the passenger cars with the other women and young children. Dad and his brothers, along with countless other men and older boys, climbed down into coal cars for the journey.

Came home and have been doing a little research about the flood. It was (and remains,) the highest flood of the Ohio in recorded history. In many places it took 3 weeks for the waters to recede. 1,000,000 people from Pittsburgh, PA to Cairo, ILL were made refugees and rendered homeless. 385 people died. Figured in today's dollars, it may be the most expensive natural disaster in the history of the USA.

Is anyone aware of any songs that were written about, or related to that mighty flood? Seems like the experience and the scale ought to have inspired at least a few.

(I know about Joe Dobbs' band, The 1937 Flood.)


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Subject: RE: The Ohio River Flood of 1937-any songs?
From: Janie
Date: 03 Jan 11 - 08:07 PM

I'm wondering if Lonnie Johnson's "Flood Water Blues", written in 1937 may be about this flood.

"Flood Water Blues" (Lonnie Johnson)

It's been snowin' forty days and nights, lakes and rivers begin to freeze.
It's been snowin' forty days and nights, rivers and lakes begin to freeze.
Some places through my old hometown, water 's up above my knees.

Storm begin risin', and the sun begin sinking down.
Storm begin risin', the sun begin sinking down.
I says, "Mother and Dad, pack your trunk. We ain't safe here in this town.

When it lightnin' my mind gets frightened, my nerves begin weakenin' down.
When it lightnin' my mind gets frightened, my nerves begin weakenin' down.
And the shack where we was livin' begin movin' 'round.

Women and children were screamin', sayin', "Mama why must we go?"
Women and children were screamin', sayin', "Lord, where must we go?"
"The floodwater have broke the levees and we ain't safe here no more."

And begin cloud as dark as midnight, keep raining all the time.
I say, "Oh, I wonder why the sun don't ever shine?"
And the way it keeps rainin' its drivin' me out my mind.


The 1937 flood resulted from a combination of significant snow that rapidly melted during a warm spell that also included days and days of rain. Johnson was living in Cleveland, Ohio at the time.


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Subject: RE: The Ohio River Flood of 1937-any songs?
From: GUEST,DWR
Date: 03 Jan 11 - 10:11 PM

Janie, I thought I had this, but if I do, I haven't found it.

Tex Fletcher - I Lost My Love In The Ohio Flood

Also look for sheet music Gene Arnold, M.M. Cole Pub. Co. 1937

More later if I find anything


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Subject: RE: The Ohio River Flood of 1937-any songs?
From: Janie
Date: 04 Jan 11 - 08:21 PM

Thanks, DWR. Looks like I would have to buy the music to get any idea at all what the song is like. No lyrics or samples on line that I can find.

Looks like Gene Arnold was a pretty busy writer. One fun thing is even when I don't find what I'm looking for, these searches always lead down interesting side paths and detours.

He also wrote, or co-wrote "Tell Mother I'm In Heaven" and "Little Old Church in the Valley."

Any one else know of any songs that might have been inspired by the Great Ohio River Flood of 1937?


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Subject: RE: The Ohio River Flood of 1937-any songs?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jan 11 - 10:55 PM

Back in the '80s, I wrote a song about the flood. It was used in a 50th Anniversary Celebration of the 1937 flood in Cincinnati. This (obviously) was in 1987. The name of the song is The Flood of '37.....(pretty clever, eh?)
Don


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Subject: RE: The Ohio River Flood of 1937-any songs?
From: GUEST,DWR
Date: 04 Jan 11 - 11:52 PM

Janie, I HAVE IT! It was mislabeled, so it took me a while to find where it was. Shoot me an email, and I'll send it to you. dale8r AT hotmail.com

It DOES need a bit of EQ to clean up the sound some, but I think that won't be too much of a problem. I just did a bit of preliminary work on it, and it sounds good enough to listen to. I can also send you the original info on the 78rpm release.

Dale


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Subject: RE: The Ohio River Flood of 1937-any songs?
From: Janie
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 01:23 AM

e-mail sent, Dale.

Tell us more, Don. Share the song? Tell what it was that inspired you? Personal connections? etc.


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Subject: RE: The Ohio River Flood of 1937-any songs?
From: Janie
Date: 13 Aug 16 - 12:59 PM

Not sure who Don is, but wondering if this is the song he wrote? Flood of '37


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