Banks of Sacramento


As I was walking on the Quay
With a hoodah and a doodah
A pretty gal I chanced to see
Hoodah doodah day!
Blow, ye winds, hioh, for Californioh!
There's plenty of gold, so I am told
On the banks of Sacramento

Her hair was brown, her eyes were blue
With a hoodah and a doodah
Her lips were red and sweet to view
Hoodah doodah day!
Hoodah doodah day!
Blow, ye winds, hioh, for Californioh!
There's plenty of gold, so I am told
On the banks of Sacramento

I raised my hat and said, "How do?"
With a hoodah and a doodah
She bowed and said, "Quite well, thank you!"
Hoodah doodah day!
Hoodah doodah day!
Blow, ye winds, hioh, for Californioh!
There's plenty of gold, so I am told
On the banks of Sacramento

I asked her, then, to come with me
With a hoodah and a doodah
Down to the docks, my ship to see
Hoodah doodah day!
Hoodah doodah day!
Blow, ye winds, hioh, for Californioh!
There's plenty of gold, so I am told
On the banks of Sacramento

She quickly answered, "O dear, no!"
With a hoodah and a doodah
"I thank you, but I cannot go!"
Hoodah doodah day!
Blow, ye winds, hioh, for Californioh!
There's plenty of gold, so I am told
On the banks of Sacramento

"I have a sweetheart, young and true"
With a hoodah and a doodah
"And cannot give my love to you!"
Hoodah doodah day!
Blow, ye winds, hioh, for Californioh!
There's plenty of gold, so I am told
On the banks of Sacramento

And as I bid that gal adieu
With a hoodah and a doodah
I thought that gals like her were few
Hoodah doodah day!
Blow, ye winds, hioh, for Californioh!
There's plenty of gold, so I am told
On the banks of Sacramento

 

I think this is a truly great song! It gives a fine insight of the customs of the times; especially where the "gal" immediately understood (and responded to) the sailor's use of that euphemism.

This chorus is less frequently used than "Blow, Boys, blow?" for the many, many versions of "Banks of Sacramento"shanties but is not necessarily associated with THIS particular version. The two refrains are interchangeable.
heino best

S-06 The Banks of Sacramento
1. Ick heff mol en Hamborger Veermaster seh'n, to my hoodah, to my hoodah!
De Masten so scheef as den Schipper sien Been', hoodah hoodah ho!
Blow, boys, blow for Californioh! There's plenty of gold, so I am told, on the banks of Sacramento.

2. Dat Deck weer vun Isen, vull Schiet un vull Smeer *** Dat weer de Schietgang eer scheunstes Pl?seer ***
3. Dat Logis weer vull Wanzen, de Komb?s' weer vull Dreck *** De Besch?ten, de leupen von s?lben all weg
4. Dat Soltfleesch weer greun, un de Speck weer vull Moden *** K?hm geev dat blo? an'n Wiehnachtsobend
5. Un woll'n wi mol sailn, ick segg dat jo nur *** Denn leup he dree vorut un veer weeder retur ***?
S-06a In the Blackball Line, I serve my time, with a hoodah and a doodah,
In the Blackball Line I serve my time, hoodah doodah day!
Blow, boys, blow for Californioh! There's plenty of gold, so I've been told, on the banks of Sacramento.
2. We're a bully ship and a bully crew *** But the mate's a bastard, through and through, hoodah doodah?
3. We are the boys to make her go *** Around Cape Stiff, in frost and snow, hoodah doodah?
4. Around Cape Stiff in eighty-nine days *** Around Cape Stiff is a very long way, hoodah doodah day?
5. Oh, eighty-nine days to Frisco Bay *** Yes, eighty-nine days means jolly good pay, hoodah doodah?
6. Back around Cape Stiff, in the months of snows *** If we ever get there, no one knows, hoodah ?
S-06b As I was walking on the Quay, with a hoodah and a doodah,
A pretty gal I chanced to see, hoodah doodah day!
Blow, ye winds, hioh, for Californioh! There's plenty of gold, so I am told, on the banks of Sacramento.
2. Her hair was brown, her eyes were blue *** Her lips were red and sweet to view, hoodah doodah day?
3. I raised my hat and said, "How do?" *** She bowed and said, "Quite well, thank you!" Hoodah?
4. I asked her, then, to come with me *** Down to the docks, my ship to see, hoodah doodah day?
5. She quickly answered, "O dear, no!" *** "I thank you, but I cannot go!" Hoodah doodah day?
6. "I have a sweetheart, young and true" *** "And cannot give my love to you!" Hoodah doodah day?
7. And as I bid that gal adieu *** I thought that gals like her were few, hoodah doodah day?
S-06c Ich ging einmal die Stra?' entlang, to my hoodah, to my hoodah,
Und sah ein M?dchen, sch?n und schlank, to my hoodah hoodah day.
Sailt, Jungens, sailt nach Kalifornio! Da gibt es Gold, soviel Ihr wollt, in dem Sand des Sacramento.
2. Die Augen blau, die Haare braun *** Die Deern war lieblich anzuschau'n, to my hoodah hoodah day?
3. Ich sagte: "Deern, wie geht es denn?" *** Sie sagte: "Gut! Tun wir uns kenn'n?" To my hoodah?
4. Ich sagt': "Noch nicht! Doch komm', wir geh'n *** zum Pier, um dort mein Schiff zu seh'n!" ***?
5. Die Deern, die hatt' mich ausgelacht *** Ich hab' mich aus dem Staub' gemacht, to my hoodah?
6. Und seit der Zeit geht dieser Sang *** Mit allen Deerns die Stra?' entlang, to my hoodah hoodah day?

Please, note the difference in the chorus of that German. version of "The Banks of Sacramento" ("As I was walking on the Quay"). I remembered seeing this, some years ago, while browsing in the music department of a library in Germany; and I incorporated it in my adaption of that song from your Liedersammlung. It makes more sense than "die Bank von Sacramento", because, as you know, the song was born in 1849; and, in the English language version, the song refers to the river banks of the Sacramento River, and NOT to the gold in the banks of downtown Sacramento City. In German, the word Bank is NEVER used for a river bank, but only to financial institutions (or park benches)


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Cynthia A. Zorn * Rochester, NY* cindy@cazoo.org
Copyright © 2002