“The Raging Canal (I)”


"Come listen to my story, ye landsmen one and all, I'll sing to you the dangers of that raging canal." When the mules trip on a stormy night, the crew faces a wreck. The usual exaggerations, e.g. the cook's dress on a pole, are employed


The Erie Canal, as originally constructed, was a completely flat, shallow waterway. The barges were drawn along by mules. Thus, apart from getting wet, storms posed little danger. As for needing a distress signal, one could always step off onto dry land....

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

Cross references


  1. Sandburg, pp. 178-179, "The Raging Canawl" (1 text)
  2. Lomax-ABFS, pp. 464-465, "(Erie Canal)" (2 texts, the second of which goes here; the first is "A Trip on the Erie (Haul in Your Bowline)"); pp. 471-474, "The Raging Can-all" (1 text)
  4. Roud #6611
  5. BI, San178


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1927 (Sandburg)
Keywords: canal storm humorous cook
Found in: US