“The Erie Canal”


"I've got a mule, her name is Sal, Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal." "Low bridge, everybody down, Low bridge, for we're going through a town...." About the long, slow trip along the Erie Canal -- and the mule the singer works with


The Erie Canal, as originally constructed, was a small, shallow channel which could only take barges. These vessels -- if such they could be called -- were normally hauled along by mules.

The Lomaxes, in _American Ballad and Folk Songs_, thoroughly mingled many texts of the Erie Canal songs (in fairness, some of this may have been the work of their informants -- but in any case the Lomaxes did not help the problem). One should check all the Erie Canal songs for related stanzas. - RBW

Historical references

  • 1825 - Erie Canal opens (construction began in 1817)

Cross references


  • Vernon Dalhart, "Low Bridge Everybody Down" (Columbia 15378-D, 1929)
  • Edward Meeker, "Low Bridge! Everybody Down" (CYL: Edison [BA] 1761, 1913)
  • Pete Seeger, "Erie Canal, " (PeteSeeger31) (on PeteSeeger46)


  1. Sandburg, pp. 171-173, "The Erie Canal" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Lomax-ABFS, pp. 457-458, "The Erie Canal" (1 text plus a separate verse which may or may not be part of the same song); p. 464, "Erie Canal" (2 texts, the first going here while the second is "The Raging Canal (I)"); p. 466, "(A Trip on the Erie)" (the second song files under the title "A Trip on the Erie," but is actually this piece); pp. 467-469, "Low Bridge, Everybody Down or Fifteen Years on the Erie Canal" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Spaeth-ReadWeep, pp. 102-103, "The Erie Canal" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Silber-FSWB, p. 126, "The Erie Canal" (1 text)
  6. Roud #6598
  7. BI, San171


Author: Thomas S. Allen?
Earliest date: 1905
Found in: US(MA,MW)