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The Brazos River

 

About The Brazos River

The origins of The Brazos River, also known as The Texas Rivers Song, are unknown. It was first collected by Vance Randolph from the singing of Irene Carlisle in Fayetteville, Arkansas on January 30, 1942. It first appeared in Randolph's collection Ozark Folksongs (Volume 2). Carlisle said she learned it from a Texas man who boarded with her while he was working cutting timber in the Ozarks. Pete Seeger supposedly had bemoaned the fact that the song hadn't been published in Sing Out! magazine, and that it was in danger of being forgotten.

The Brazos River itself was called the Rio de los Brazos de Dios by early Spanish explorers, which means "The River of the Arms of God." The river features prominently in a number of prison songs, because at one time nearly every prison in Texas was near the Brazos.

Lyrics to The Brazos River

The Brazos River

We crossed the wild Pecos
We forded the Nueces
We swum the Guadalupe
We followed the Brazos
Red River runs rusty
The Wichita clear
But down by the Brazos
I courted my dear

Sing li, li, li, le, le, le
Give me your hand
Li, li, li, le, le, le
Give me your hand
Li, li, li, le, le, le
Give me your hand
There's many a river
That waters the land

The fair Angelina
Runs glossy and gliding
The crooked Colorado
Runs weaving and winding
The slow San Antonio
It courses the plains
But I never will walk
By the Brazos again

Sing li, li, li, le, le, le
Pole the boat on
Li, li, li, le, le, le
Pole the boat on
Li, li, li, le, le, le
Pole the boat on
My Brazos River sweetheart
Has left me and gone

She kissed me, she hugged me
She called me her dandy
The Trinity's muddy
And the Brazos quicksandy
She kissed me, she hugged me
She called me her own
But down by the Brazos
She left me alone

Sing li, li, li, le, le, le
Give me your hand
Li, li, li, le, le, le
Give me your hand
Li, li, li, le, le, le
Give me your hand
The Trinity is muddy
And the Brazos quicksand

The girls of Little River
They're plump and they're pretty
The sabine and the sulphur
Have many a beauty
On the banks of the Neches
There's girls by the score
But down by the Brazos
I'll wander no more

Sing li, li, li, le, le, le
Give me your hand
Li, li, li, le, le, le
Give me your hand
Li, li, li, le, le, le
Give me your hand
There's many a river
That waters the land

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