“Mighty Mississippi”


"Way out in the Mississippi valley, Just along the plain so grand, Rose the flooded Mississippi River, Destroying the works of man." The Mississippi River flood of 1927 is described, and the plight of those flooded out detailed


Kelly Harrell wrote this poem but never attempted to record it (shows how different attitudes toward composed songs were back then); it was Ernest Stoneman who took the piece, found a traditional tune for it, and recorded the result. - RBW

And the recording was out within a few months of the disaster -- probably by September, 1927. - PJS

According to Kip Lornell, _Virginia's Blues, Country & Gospel Records 1902-1943_, the recording session was even more timely: It was made May 21, 1927. Stoneman also cut "Jim Hoover's Mississippi Flood Song" in that session, but Victor declined to issue it. - RBW

Cross references


  • New Lost City Ramblers, "Mighty Mississippi" (on NLCR02)
  • Mike Seeger, "The Story of the Mighty Mississippi" (on MSeeger01)
  • Ernest Stoneman, "The Story of the Mighty Mississippi" (Victor 20671, 1927)


  1. Cohen/Seeger/Wood, p. 87, "Mighty Mississippi" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. BI, CSW087


Author: Words: Kelly Harrell
Earliest date: 1927 (recording, Ernest Stoneman)
Keywords: flood river disaster
Found in: US(SE)