Erie Canal (Low Bridge, Everybody Down) - Chords, Lyrics and Origins

Origins

The Erie Canal, also known as Low Bridge (subtitled 'Everybody Down') was written in 1905 by Thomas S. Allen, who was apparently an early Tin Pan Alley composer.  The Erie Canal itself was opened in 1825.  It runs from Albany, New York to Buffalo (also in New York State), and joins the Hudson River to Lake Erie.  Until the coming of the Railroad, it was the most important transportation system in the United States, and it is credited both with an increase in the population of  western New York State and with helping to establish New York City as the dominant U.S. sea port.   By the time Allen wrote the song, mule-drawn barges had given way to steam-powered barges.  So from the get-go his song probably tapped into nostalgia for a bygone era.  Travellers typically rode on the roofs of their barges, and hence would need to duck down as they approached a low bridge, hence the lyric of the chorus.  You can find out more about the song here.  The song has been recorded recently by Bruce Springsteen, and was also frequently performed by Pete Seeger (who features in the You Tube clip) amongst others.

Chords

Capo at 3rd Fret

Am            C                      Dm        E7

I've got a mule and her name is Sal

Am                                      E7 Am               
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal

Am                        C                      Dm          E7
She's a good old worker and a good old pal


Am                                     
E7 Am
Sixteen miles on the Erie Canal




       C                                            G

We haul'd some barges in our day


 Am                                           E7

Filled with lumber, coal, and hay


Am            C       Dm              E7

We know every inch of the way


          Am                            G7

From Albany to Buffalo
- o



C                                       G
Low bridge, everybody down

  C                                               G     C               
Low bridge, for we're coming to a town

                   C                             G7
And you'll always know your neighbor


                   C                              G7

And you'll always know your pal


           C               F                     G7       C
If you ever navigated on the Erie Canal

Lyrics

Lyrics to the Pete Seeger Version

I've got a mule and her name is Sal
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal
She's a good old worker and a good old pal
Sixteen miles on the Erie Canal

We've hauled some barges in our day
Filled with lumber, coal, and hay
And we know every inch of the way
From Albany to Buffalo

Low bridge, everybody down
Low bridge, for we're coming to a town
And you'll always know your neighbor,
You'll always know your pal
If you ever navigated on the Erie Canal

Well you bet your life I'd never part with Sal,
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal
She knows every inch of this old canal,
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal 

We've hauled some barges in our day
Filled with lumber, coal, and hay
And we know every inch of the way
From Albany to Buffalo

Low bridge, everybody down
Low bridge, for we're coming to a town
And you'll always know your neighbor,
You'll always know your pal
If you ever navigated on the Erie Canal

 

Lyrics to the Bruce Springsteen Version

I've got a mule and her name is Sal
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal
She's a good old worker and a good old pal
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal

We've hauled some barges in our day
Filled with lumber, coal, and hay
And we know every inch of the way
From Albany to Buffalo

Low bridge, everybody down
Low bridge, yeah we're coming to a town
And you'll always know your neighbor,
And you'll always know your pal
If you ever navigated on the Erie Canal

We'd better look around for a job, old gal
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal
You can bet your life I'll never part with Sal
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal

Get up mule, here comes a lock
We'll make Rome 'bout six o'clock
One more trip and back we'll go
Right back home to Buffalo

Low bridge, everybody down
Low bridge, we're coming to a town
You'll always know your neighbor
And you'll always know your pal
If ya ever navigated on the Erie Canal

Where would I be if I lost my pal
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal
I'd like to see a mule good as my Sal
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal

A friend of mine once got her sore
Now he's got a broken jaw
'Cause she let fly with an iron toe
And kicked him back to Buffalo

Low bridge, everybody down
Low bridge 'cause we're coming to a town
You'll always know your neighbor
And you'll always know your pal
If ya ever navigated on the Erie Canal

Low bridge, everybody down
Low bridge, we're coming to a town
You'll always know your neighbor
And you'll always know your pal
If ya ever made a livin' on the Erie Canal

Low bridge, everybody down
Low bridge, we're coming to a town
You'll always know your neighbor
And you'll always know your pal
If ya ever navigated on the Erie Canal

Low bridge, everybody down
Low bridge, we're coming to a town

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