Shenandoah - Chords, Lyrics and Origins

Origins

The origins of this American song are hazy, though it appears to have been popular before the end of the nineteenth century.  The song makes reference to two rivers, one of the same name as the song, which runs through Virginia and West Virginia ('Shenandoah', was, by the way, considered as Virginia's official state song).  The other, the Missouri.  There is a theory that the song started out as a river shanty, which then worked its way down the Missouri and Mississippi rivers to the sea, thus becoming a sea shanty.  It's certainly very easy to imagine it as a shanty - with the first and third lines sung solo, and the second and fourth sung as group choruses.

However it developed, Shenandoah has certainly been recorded by a whole raft of musicians, including Arlo GuthrieBob DylanBruce SpringsteenJudy GarlandPaul RobesonVan Morrison and Richard Thompson.

See this Wikipedia article about Shenandoah for more information

song - Shenandoah - on iTunes

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Chords

Capo at 2nd Fret


     
C                                     F       C

Oh Shenandoah, I long to hear you

         F          Dm           G7       C
Look away,           you rolling river.

      F                      Dm                  Am             F
Oh Shenandoah,          I long to hear you

        
C            F                         C               F
Look away,         we're bound away

                   C         G7  C
Across the wide          Missouri.

Lyrics

Oh, Shenandoah, I long to hear you
Look away, you rollin' river
Oh, Shenandoah, I long to hear you
Look away, we're bound away
Across the wide Missouri.

Now the Missouri is a mighty river
Look away, you rollin' river
Indians camp a long her border
Look away, we're bound away
Across the wide Missouri.

Well, a white man loved an Indian maiden
Look away, you rollin' river
With notions his canoe was laden
Look away, we're bound away
Across the wide Missouri.

Shenandoah, I love your daughter
Look away, you rollin' river
It was for her I'd cross the water
Look away, we're bound away
Across the wide Missouri.

For seven long years I courted Sally
Look away, you rollin' river
Seven more years I longed to have her
Look away, we're bound away
Across the wide Missouri.

Well, it's fare-thee-well, my
dear, I'm bound to leave you
Look away, you rollin' river
Shenandoah, I will not deceive you
Look away, we're bound away
Across the wide Missouri.
 

Traditional, arranged by Peter Webster. 

Other American Folk Songs
Other Traditional Folk Songs


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