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Lyr Req: From Buffalo to Troy (canal song)

DigiTrad:
E-RI-E CANAL
ERIE CANAL (MULE NAMED SAL)
FROM BUFFALO TO TROY
OH, THAT LOW BRIDGE
THE ERIE CANAL


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: Erie Canal (5)
(origins) Origins: Got a Mule & Her Name is Sal/Erie Canal? (51)
(origins) Origins: The Erie Canal (E-Ri-E) (12)
Irish-American Railroad or Erie Canal Song? (4)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
From Buffalo to Troy (from The Canaller's Songbook, William Hullfish, 1984)


Barry Finn 03 Apr 98 - 08:51 AM
Art Thieme 03 Apr 98 - 11:23 AM
Bruce O. 03 Apr 98 - 03:10 PM
Susan of DT 04 Apr 98 - 10:45 AM
LaMarca 04 Apr 98 - 12:19 PM
Barry Finn 04 Apr 98 - 11:04 PM
Barry Finn 05 Apr 98 - 06:32 PM
dick greenhaus 06 Apr 98 - 06:38 PM
Catfeet 07 Apr 98 - 11:20 PM
GUEST 25 Jun 03 - 01:53 AM
Desert Dancer 25 Jun 03 - 02:44 PM
GUEST,lgldud 25 Apr 04 - 11:10 AM
GUEST,Mae Gill 21 Feb 05 - 12:19 PM
Amos 21 Feb 05 - 01:08 PM
Bev and Jerry 21 Feb 05 - 04:39 PM
Bev and Jerry 21 Feb 05 - 04:50 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 21 Feb 05 - 05:59 PM
Dave Ruch 21 Feb 05 - 07:29 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 21 Feb 05 - 07:46 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 21 Feb 05 - 08:00 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Feb 05 - 01:47 PM
GUEST,edge 13 Sep 10 - 12:21 PM
GUEST 14 Mar 13 - 02:07 AM
GUEST 20 Jan 14 - 09:09 AM
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Subject: Words? Old Ohio Canal Song?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 03 Apr 98 - 08:51 AM

I'm looking for the words to the refrain (or all of it if possible) of the Old Ohio Canal Song. Some of it goes

Tramp, tramp, tramp, tramp, tighten up the line
............... the flies as up the mule(s?) they climb
Who back, cuss the mule forget it, I never shall
I'm every inch a sailor on the Ohio Canal

I'm told it may have come from one of the Erie Canal songs. I thought there had been a thread on this some time back, tried but couldn't find one. The friend I had it from got it from Dick Swain, where he picked it up, I couldn't begain to guess. Any words and info would be great. Thanks. Barry


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Subject: RE: Words? Old Ohio Canal Song?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 03 Apr 98 - 11:23 AM

I'm pretty sure that Jerry Epstein has the song recorded on a cassette for Wally Macnow's Camsco Music.

Also, George Ward has a fine rcord of Erie Canal songs on Andy Spence's FRONT HALL label. (Wormer Road P.O. Box 307 R.D. 1 Voorheesville, N.Y. 12186 I've got the words somewhere in a book of Erie Canal songs by William Hullfish--but I can't lay hands on it right now. If I do I'll post the words . Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Words? Old Ohio Canal Song?
From: Bruce O.
Date: 03 Apr 98 - 03:10 PM

Take a look at file ERIECANL in DT


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Subject: RE: Words? Old Ohio Canal Song?
From: Susan of DT
Date: 04 Apr 98 - 10:45 AM

Bruce - That is not the right Erie Canal song. There ar elots of them. We will try to find that one.


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Subject: RE: Words? Old Ohio Canal Song?
From: LaMarca
Date: 04 Apr 98 - 12:19 PM

Barry, the Ohio canal song is a regional variant of one from the Erie Canal. Jerry Epstein and George Ward sing the New York version; I think they've both recorded it. Dick Swain got the Ohio version from Pearl Nye, a retired canaller from Ohio. I don't know all the verses, but the chorus goes:
    Tramp, tramp tramp tramp, tighten up your line,
    Watch the playful horseflies as on the mules they climb;
    Whoa back, a)cuss the mules(OH)/b)duck your nut(NY), forget it I never shall,
    a) For I'm every inch a sailor on the Ohio Canal!(Ohio version)
    b)Drivin' a team of spavined mules on the Er-i-e Canal!(New York version)

The song's verses are very similar to one called "Black Rock Pork", which is printed in a lot of collections; you can probably use them to spark your memory for the words you heard. See you at NEFFA...


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Subject: RE: Words? Old Ohio Canal Song?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 04 Apr 98 - 11:04 PM

LaMarca, thanks that's the one. See you early Sat morning, NEFFA. Barry


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Subject: RE: Words? Old Ohio Canal Song?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 05 Apr 98 - 06:32 PM

How rude of me, thank you everyone. Barry


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Subject: Lyr Add: FROM BUFFALO TO TROY (from Frank Warner)
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 06 Apr 98 - 06:38 PM

Here's the way Frank Warner sang it:

FROM BUFFALO TO TROY

I've Traveled all around this world
And Tonawanda, too,
Was cast on desert islands
And beaten black and blue;
I fought and bled at Bull's Run
And wandered since a boy,
But I'll never forget the trip I took
From Buffalo to Troy.

cho: For it was tramp, tramp, tramp
And tighten in the lines,
And watch the playful flies
As o'er the mules they climb,
Whoa back! Get up!
Forget it I never shall,
When I drove a team of spavined mules
On the E-ri-e Canal.

The cook we had on board the deck
Stood six feet in her socks
Her hand was like an elephant's ear
And her breath would open the locks;
A maid of sixty summers was she
Who slept upon the floor
And when at night she'd get to sleep,
O sufferin', how she'd snore.

One night on the Erie
I couldn't sleep a wink.
The crews were all bored down on me
Because I refused to drink.
Fearful storms and heavy fogs
Forget it I never shall,
But I'm every inch a sailor there
On the E-ri-e Canal.

As we arrived in Buffalo
Sally, Jack and Hank,
We greased ourselves in tallow fat
And slid right off the plank.
Sally's in the poorhouse
And the rest of the crew's in jail,
And I'm the only devil afloat
That's left to tell the tale.


Click to play


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Subject: RE: Words? Old Ohio Canal Song?
From: Catfeet
Date: 07 Apr 98 - 11:20 PM

This sounds like an ohio variant of "The E-ri-e was rising." The verses are quite similar. Any thoughts?

Catfeet


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Subject: RE: Words? Old Ohio Canal Song?
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jun 03 - 01:53 AM

Okay, this is from 45 years ago, but these are the scattered lyrics I remember from 5th grade singing class - I apologize for the fragments, etc.

...up the cuyahoga far as akron...
...then along the ... to coshocton...

...then to the scioto to the broad ohio...
...

float her high boys,
float her low-ow-ow,
thru the locks boys,
ease her slow.

if we...
...
...
we'll keep these boats a-movin if we pump lake erie dry...
...

So if that rings a bell, I'd appreciate hearing from you.
I want to get the music so I can play it on the piano or accordion.


Thanks again,
Charlie Berry


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Subject: RE: Words? Old Ohio Canal Song?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 25 Jun 03 - 02:44 PM

In reply to Catfeet (5 years ago), the Jerry Epstein - George Ward - Frank Warner song above is to a very different tune than "The E-ri-e Was A-Rising".

Guest's question is interesting. There are no DT/Forum search results for phrases from the chorus. I don't find anything comparable in William Hullfish's The Canaller's Songbook (1984, The American Canal and Transportation Center, York, PA). (The book is still available from The National Canal Museum store among other museum stores, and Hullfish is still at SUNY Brockport.)

Back to the first question, Hullfish says that "Buffalo to Troy" is

A vaudeville song sung by Johnny Bartley at the "Alhambra Varieties" on Commercial Street, Buffalo, New York, in the 1880's.

His version is Frank Warner's, too. In the Preface he says, "... many of the songs in this book were probably not sung by canallers, but by entertainers of the day in minstrel and vaudeville shows (e.g., ...Buffalo to Troy)."

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: ADD Version: Er-i-e canal
From: GUEST,lgldud
Date: 25 Apr 04 - 11:10 AM

I remember a song from my childhood that I heard recorded on a 45 record of childrens' songs. It was called The Erie Canal, but seems to have some words from the Buffalo To Troy song Catfeet wrote about 6 years ago. I've looked for the lyrics to the song, but the Erie Canal song usually appears with quite different lyrics. Unfortunatly this is all I can remember from that recorded song:


Er-i-e Canal

We were forty miles from Albany
forget it I never shall,
what a terrible time we had one night
on the Er-i-e canal.

REFRAIN
Oh, the Er-i-e was a-risin,
and the tank was gettin' low,
and I scarcely think we'll get a drink
til we get to Buffalo-o-o
til we get to Buffalo.

The cook we had on board the deck stood six feet in her socks,
her hand was like an elephant's ear
and her breath could open the locks.

(refrain)

The girls are in the police gazette
and the crew is all in jail,
and I'm the only son-of-a-gun
that's left to tell the tale.

(refrain)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Words? Old Ohio Canal Song?
From: GUEST,Mae Gill
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 12:19 PM

Hi, I am doing a school project (BHSU - Spearfish, SD), on the Erie Canal song ..."I've got a mule, and her name is Sal"... I am finding different lyrics and a different name for who wrote it (Thomas Allen or William Allen), some dates say 1905, some say later. Any ideas on the "real" thing? Thanks. Mae


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Words? Old Ohio Canal Song?
From: Amos
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 01:08 PM

Mae:

There's one discussion with some history in this thread.

The version listed for lyrics in the DT is pretty comprehensive but Norton1 had learned another verse or two from an old-timer he heard it from.

There are two references to a book called "The Canaller's Songbook" which might give you something more definitive.

A


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Words? Old Ohio Canal Song?
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 04:39 PM

Mae:

"The Canaller's Songbook" is a collection of songs compiled by William Hullfish of Brockport, NY and published in 1984. It gives the title of this song as "Low Bridge, Everybody Down" and says, "This song has found its way into folk tradition, although it is really a Tin-pan Alley tune written in 1905 by Thomas S. Allen."

The Erie Canal was completed in 1825 and was largely responsible for the growth of New York City at the expense of other Atlantic port cities such as Philadelphia and Boston, not to mention all the towns along the canal from Albany to Buffalo. The canal did well for many years producing significant revenues for the State of New York but, around the mid 1840s, railroads began to compete and business on the canal began to decline.

So, around 1905, the canal underwent a significant overhaul and its name was officially changed to The New York State Barge Canal though people call it the Erie Canal to this day. The canal was re-routed in many places and widened to accept larger barges. The depth was also increased from 4 feet to 12 feet. Also, the number of locks was greatly reduced from the original 83 to a much smaller number which sped up travel on the canal. At Lockport, for instance, the original canal had five locks in succession, like a staricase, and they are still there to be seen but right next to them are two locks which have taken their place (picture).

Sinc the New York State Barge Canal overhaul was started in 1905, this song may have been written to commemorate the event. It was completed in 1918 (the barge canal, not the song!).

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Words? Old Ohio Canal Song?
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 04:50 PM

And, by the way, the origin of the phrase, "Low bridge, everybody down" is as follows:

The 360 or so bridges across the canal were basically flat so that the barges barely got under them. When passengers were carried, they often rode on the roof of the barge but had to go inside when the barge passed under one of the bridges.

Why did they ride on the roof, you ask? We can think of at least two reasons. First, it was hot inside the barge during summer months. Second, in order to make better time, two mules were used. One of them pulled the barge for about six hours and then the barge was stopped and the mule replaced with the second one. The mule that wasn't pulling the barge rode inside until the next change of mules. Would you like to share a hot barge with a mule? Neither would we.

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: Lyr Add: OH! DAT LOW BRIDGE! (Harrigan, Braham)^^^
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 05:59 PM

OH! DAT LOW BRIDGE!

Words Edward Harrigan, Music Dave Braham

It's many miles to Buffalo-
Oh, dat low bridge!
Balky mule, he travel slow-
Oh, dat low bridge!
Dar's gravel on de tow path,
Dar's hornets in de sand,
Oh, pity poor canallers
Dat's far away from land.

Chorus:
Den look out dat low bridge,
look out dat low bridge.
The captain, cook and all de crew,
oh, duck your head way down,
The fastest boat in all de fleet,
Two sisters come to town.
Dance.

Dar's many locks to shut you in-
Oh, dat low bridge!
Ev'ry worm must learn to swim-
Oh, dat low bridge!
We're loaded down with barley,
And lumber from de west,
Oh, ev'ry poor canaller,
Now do your level best.

We're froze up in de winter time-
Oh, dat low bridge!
Summer how de sun do shine-
Oh, dat low bridge!
In rain or stormy weather,
De captain's on de poop,
All huddle up together,
Like chickens in de coop.

Dar's groceries in de cabin dar-
Oh, dat low bridge!
Never leaks, she's full of tar-
Oh, dat low bridge!
Dar's freckles on de children,
Dar's glanders on de mule,
Mosquitos by de million,
Who keep de golden rule.

Dance, with music. Song from Edward Harrigan's comedy, "The Grip," 1885, David Braham Pub., New York, Wm. A. Pond & Co.

http://levysheetmusic.mse.jhu.edu/levy-cgi/display.cgi?id=072.084.001;pages=3;range=1-3
^^^ (already in Digital Tradition)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Words? Old Ohio Canal Song?
From: Dave Ruch
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 07:29 PM

One explanation for the low bridges that's been put forth is that it was cheaper than building high bridges. Makes sense...the original Erie Canal project was financed entirely by NY State ($7 million in the early 1800's) after the federal govt wrote it off as an impractical project that wouldnt benefit the nation even if it were possible to pull off (it was, and it DID).

Interestingly, the refrain in the song "Low Bridge" as originally written is NOT "15 miles on the Erie Canal", but rather, "15 years on the Erie Canal". It went into the folk tradition shortly thereafter, as Hullfish notes, and by 1911, according to one source, it had appeared on a wax cylinder disc as "15 miles....".


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Words? Old Ohio Canal Song?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 07:46 PM

"'Low Bridge' as originally written." Anyone have the words?
Anything earlier than Harrigan and Hart's?
Is the 'tramp' refrain a modern singer's addition?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Words? Old Ohio Canal Song?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 08:00 PM

"Oh! Dat Low Bridge" is in the DT and in numachi, as "Oh, That Low Bridge," but not credited to the authors, Harrigan and Hart.
This was posted by MMario in the Missing Tunes thread 42222 back in Feb. 21, 2002.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Words? Old Ohio Canal Song?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 01:47 PM

"The Aged Pilot Man," from "Roughing It" by Mark Twain, pub. 1872, contains the line '"Low bridge! low bridge!" all heads went down, the laboring bark sped on.' The complete poem posted in thread 57127: Aged Pilor Man

Also see "The Raging Canal," a song by P. Morris, 1844, in thread 38205: Raging canal
(No mention of 'low bridge' here.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: From Buffalo to Troy (canal song)
From: GUEST,edge
Date: 13 Sep 10 - 12:21 PM

The Dady Brothers made an album for the 175th anniversary of the Erie Canal that has most of the songs mentioned in this thread on it - as distinct songs.

http://www.dadybros.com/dady5.html

Tonowanda Too (mentioned above as Buffalo to Troy: "tramp, tramp, tramp, tramp, and tighten up the line...")

The Er-i-e (aka The Er-i-e Was A-Rising or The Er-i-e Canal: "Oh the Er-i-e was rising, and the gin was getting low...")

The Erie Canal Song/Low Bridge, Everybody Down (aka the Erie Canal Song: "Got a mule and her name is Sal..."

Oh, That Low Bridge (here as Oh! Dat Low Bridge!: "It's many miles to Buffalo, O dat low bridge!...")

Don't have the liner notes on me to see who they're all attributed to...

edge


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Subject: Ohio Canal Song
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Mar 13 - 02:07 AM

Up the Cuyahoga far as Akron, over locks a plenty to Coshocton, Newark, Chillicothe, and down along the Scio, then to Portsmouth on the broad Ohio.

FLoat her high boys, float her low
through the locks boys, ease her slow
always heading for the valley we'll be seeing bye and bye
Oh, we'll keep the boats arunning if we pump Lake Erie dry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: From Buffalo to Troy (canal song)
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Jan 14 - 09:09 AM

Someone asked about another canal song and had fragments of lyrics. Here's the song (which I also learned in 5th grade, growing up in Akron).

Up the Cuyahoga far as Akron
Over locks aplenty to Coshocton.
Newark, Chillocothe, and down along the Sio.
Then to Portsmouth on the broad Ohio.

Float her high boys, float her low-ow-ow.
Through the locks boys, ease her slow-ow-ow.
Always heading for the valley we'll be seeing by and by.

For we'll keep the locks arunning til we pump Lake Erie dry.


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