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We will be adding more tablature arrangements regularly... please visit again.


Each time a new file is posted in Current Tablature, the previous file is moved to "Archived tab files".

Oh Shenandoah
~ circa 1820 ~ 


flatboatmen relaxing in port

Traditional American folk song
Arr. Merv Rowley & Ruth Randle, 2013

Much is known about how and when this popular music originated, but virtually nothing about what the lyrics mean. Both melody and lyrics are believed to have originated as sea chanteys, written by riverboat tradesmen selling their wares to friendly Indian tribes. Among these thousands of tradesmen of the early 1800's, Abraham Lincoln served as a flatboatman twice, in 1828 and 1831. It was here that he first witnessed slavery, and in New Orleans he also saw a slave auction firsthand. Lincoln would later recall these journeys as essential in shaping his personal views on slavery and the slave trade. There are numerous lyrics, some dealing with a tradesman's love for an Indian maiden, along the course of the Missouri River. Others, such as college songs of the Virginia Military Institute, and William and Mary College, refer to the Shenandoah River in Virginia. The only definitive information we could find was the meaning of the word "Shenandoah" - in Algonquin Indian parlance it means "river between high mountains". It is probably the oldest traditional American folk tune on record, since it appeared before our Nation was complete. We hope you enjoy the version we have chosen.

 Your 1-3-5 Team


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