The Wild Miz-Zou-Rye (Alan Lomax) -River Song

Interesting Facts about The Wild Miz-Zou-Rye

This is one of the origins, of the “Shenandoah”, the most popular of all capstan and windlass shanties. Mentioned origin is the “The Wild Miz-Zou-Rye”, given by J. A. Lomax & Alan Lomax “American Ballads & Folk Songs” (1934), his version is ‘cavalry version’. It seems to be nothing more than a river song–one of the songs used by boatmen of the great American rivers (like Ohio). The story from Lomax’s book is this:
“The cavalry jealously claims this song for its very own, having acquired it, no doubt, during for frontier days. Sometimes the ‘would not have me for a lover’ stanza is followed by one beginning, ‘Because I was a wagon solider’; but the cavalry claims this to be a field artillery intrusion and an attempt to steal its song.”

The source of this river song

The music: “American Ballads & Folk Songs” by J. A. Lomax & Alan Lomax (1934).

The lyrics:  “American Ballads & Folk Songs” by J. A. Lomax & Alan Lomax (1934).

Mentioned in: “Shanties from the Seven Seas” by Stan Hugill (1st ed p 173).

The Record of The Wild Miz-Zou-Rye

This song will be performed as an average song, not even in intention is to recreate this song by me as a shanty.

You also can find this record on my YouTube channel here or directly listen below. Additionally, if you want to share your opinion about the record or share your opinion you can do it in my Facebook forum here, or leave a comment at the bottom of this blog article.

The musical notation

The Wild Miz-Zou-Rye music notation

The full lyrics

The Wild Miz-Zou-Rye

For seven long years I courted Nancy,
– Hi! Ho! the rolling river!
For seven long years I courted Nancy,
– Ha! Ha! I’m bound away
– for the wild Miz-zou-rye!

* 2 *

She would not have me for a lover–
She would not have me for a lover–

* 3 *

And so she took my fifteen dollars–
And so she took my fifteen dollars–

* 4 *

And then she went to Kansas City–
And then she went to Kansas City–

* 5 *

And there she had a little sh-sh-baby–
And there she had a little sh-sh-baby–

* 6 *

She must have had another lover–
She must have had another lover–

* 7 *

He must have been a ——th Cavalry Solider–
He must have been a ——th Cavalry Solider–

* 8 *

I’m drinkin’ of rum and chawin’ tobacco–
I’m drinkin’ of rum and chawin’ tobacco–

* 9 *

I learned this song from Tommy Tompkins–
I learned this song from Tommy Tompkins–

Related to this song

Timber Drogher’s Shanty

The Powder Monkey – Shore Sea-Song

Roll The Wood-pile Down – Shore Song