The Banks of the Sacramento

Jeff Warner from New Hampshire, USA: On Autumn Harvest ah010: Old Songs & Bothy Ballads: Hurrah Boys Hurrah! Live from the Fife Traditional Singing Festival May 2010.

A sea shanty of the gold rush era. This version was collected by Jeff's parents, Frank and Anne Warner, from New England singer Lena Bourne Fish who had the title of the song as Ho, Boys Ho! There are versions in most of the shanty collections: four versions in Hugill's "Shanties From the Seven Seas" and three in Doerflinger's "Shantymen & Shantyboys" with one dated a year before Stephen Foster, known as the father of American music, wrote Camptown Races (according to him in 1850) - a minstrel song that is clearly related in tune and form.

1: It was in the year eighteen hundred and forty nine,
To me hoo dah, to me hoo dah,
It was in the year eighteen hundred and forty nine,
To me hoo dah, hoo day day;
We left New York in the month of May,
To me hoo dah, to me hoo dah,
And we ended up in Frisco Bay,
To me hoo dah, hoo day day.

Chorus:
And it's ho, boys ho, to Californ-I-O,
Well, there's plenty of gold, so I've been told,
On the banks of the Sacramento.

2: It's round Cape Horn in the heat and cold,
For we know at the end we will find gold;
It's all on the ground we will sleep sound,
At least till the wolves they come prowling round.

3: No dainty fair we miners know,
For our bread it is made of the sour dough;
It was in the year eighteen hundred and forty nine,
It was in the year eighteen hundred and forty nine.

Chorus:
And it's ho, boys ho, to Californ-I-O,
Well, there's plenty of gold, so I've been told,
On the banks of the Sacramento.

 

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