Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Erie Canal Song

Whenever we've explained our route to folks, many aren't aware of the extent and historic significance of the great Erie Canal (although not so great in recent days). It was built in 1825 and helped the United States open the West and of course, made New York and Albany cornerstones of commerce. While we've travelled this waterway, we've seen the mansions, banks and factories of yesterday towering out of forests as we've made our way through swamps, forests and mountains. Some are closed but recent efforts have seen them find a new life as a store, condos or other commercial purposes. Towns like Little Falls and Fairport were built on the waterway for commercial purposes.

Nowadays we use motors to push our vessels along but there was a day when the big barges carrying cargo were pulled along by donkey.

 Of course, I assumed everyone had heard of the Erie Canal song. Bruce Springsteen did a fantastic rendition of it on his album 'The Pete Seeger Sessions'. This link will take you to youtube at http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5209914/bruce_springsteen_erie_canal_2006/

For those of you who are interested, here are the lyrics:
I've got a mule, her name is Sal,

Fifteen years on the Erie Canal.

She's a good ol' worker and a good ol' pal,

Fifteen years on the Erie Canal.

We've hauled some barges in our day,

Filled with lumber, coal, and hay,

And we know ev'ry inch of the way,

From Albany to Buffalo.


Low bridge, ev'rybody down!

Low bridge, for we're comin' to a town!

And you'll always know your neighbor,

You'll always know your pal,

if you've ever navigated on the Erie Canal.

We better get on our way, old pal,

Fifteen years on the Erie Canal.

'Cause you bet your life I'd never part with Sal,

Fifteen years on the Erie Canal.

Get up there mule, here comes a lock,

We'll make Rome 'bout six o'clock,

One more trip and back we'll go,

Right back home to Buffalo.

You can find all kinds of info on the Erie Canal - and if you don't have a boat, you can cycle it or you can take a cruise, whatever you like. Check out http://www.canals.ny.gov/

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