Red River Valley

TITLE: Red River Valley
AUTHORoriginal text (“The Bright Mohawk Valley”) by James Kerrigan, 1896
CATEGORY: Author Known (text only), Public Domain
KEYWORDSseparation, river, farewell
EARLIEST PRINTED OR RECORDED REFERENCE: 1896

Red River Valley Movie Poster“This latter-day Western piece stands as proof of what folk-singers can do to refine and purify a song which comes to them from written sources. It has the origin from New York State, The Bright Mohawk Valley. Western singers not only changed the locale of the song, they cut away much of the original pretentiousness from both the melody and the lyrics. There emerges a chorus of great simplicity and a lazy little tune that drifts straight into your heart like smoke from a lonely cabin rising and disappearing into the prairie sky.” (from The 111 Best American Ballads: Folk Songs U.S.A., John A. Lomax and Alan Lomax)

OTHER TITLES AND VARIATIONS:

  • The Bright Mohawk Valley (tune)

RECORDINGS: (mp3’s available through Amazon.com)

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Red River Valley

From this valley they say you are going
We will miss your bright eyes and sweet smile
For they say you are taking the sunshine
That has brightened our path for a while

Come and sit by my side if you love me
Do not hasten to bid me adieu
But remember the Red River Valley
And the one who has loved you so true

Won’t you think of the valley you’re leaving
Oh how lonely, how sad it will be?
Oh think of the fond heart you’re breaking
And the grief you are causing to me

Come and sit by my side if you love me
Do not hasten to bid me adieu
But remember the Red River Valley
And the one who has loved you so true

As you go to your home by the ocean
May you never forget those sweet hours
That we spent in the Red River Valley
And the love we exchanged mid the flowers

Come and sit by my side if you love me
Do not hasten to bid me adieu
But remember the Red River Valley
And the one who has loved you so true

SOURCES:

  • Country Music Sources: A Biblio-Discography of Commercially Recorded Traditional Music, Guthrie T. Meade, Jr. with Dick Spottswood and Douglas S. Meade, Southern Folklife Collection, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries, NC 2002—Amazon Books

SONGBOOKS:

NOTICE: I’m not the best guitar player or vocalist, but no one loves these songs more than I do. The tune and lyrics are in the public domain unless otherwise noted. The recording © copyright 2013 by Stephen Griffith and may be used by permission of the copyright holder. The variation of the song I’m posting is the version I perform and is not exactly replicating the sources cited, but is always in the same song family. If anyone has more details about this song, or believes I’ve stated something in error, please let me know. I’m also open to suggestions to improve the site. Thanks. sgg

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