This song is available on Phil Rosenthal's This Land Is Your Land.
The Erie Canal was completed in 1825, and before long thousands of barges, pulled by horses or mules, made the 425-mile trip between Albany and Buffalo. Dozens of songs were written and sung by the crews -- this was one of the most popular.
We were forty miles from Albany
Forget it I never shall.
What a terrible storm we had one night
On the E-ri-e Canal.
Oh, the E-ri-e was a-rising
And the gin was a-gettin' low.
And I scarcely think we'll get a drink
'Till we get to Buff-a-lo-o-o
'Till we get to Buffalo.
We were loaded down with barley
We were chock-full up on rye.
The captain he looked down at me
With his goll-darned wicked eye.
Well, two days out of Syracuse
The vessel struck a shoal;
We like to all be drownded
On a chunk o' Lackawanna coal.
We hollered to the captain
On the towpath, treadin' dirt
He jumped on board and stopped the leak
With his old red flannel shirt.
The cook she was a grand old gal
Stood six foot in her socks.
Had a foot just like an elephant
And her breath would open locks.
The wind begins to whistle
The waves begin to roll
We had to reef our royals
On that ragin' canal.
The cook came to our rescue
She had a ragged dress;
We hoisted her upon the pole
As a signal of distress.
The captain, he got married
And the cook, she went to jail;
And I'm the only son of a gun
That's left to tell the tale.
See more of our Geography Song Lyrics
Lyrics and background courtesy of Phil Rosenthal.