Red River Valley

Another popular American folk song is Red River Valley.

Red River Valley

As with many folk songs the origin is unknown. The earliest known manuscript of the lyrics is titled “The Red River Valley” and has the notations “Nemaha 1879” and “Harlan 1885.”  “Nemaha and Harlan are the names of counties in Nebraska and are also the names of towns in Iowa.”

In 1896, James J. Kerrigan published the song under the title “In the Bright Mohawk Valley”.

Author and poet Carl Sandburg published the tune and lyrics in his 1927 American Song bag.

Carl T. Sprague, was a traveling cowboy from Texas, and recoded the song in 1925 as “Cowboy LoveSong”. Jules Verne Allen recorded the song under the same title in 1929,which provided the song with it’s greatest popularity.

The song has been recordedby Bing Crosby, Gene Autry, Woodie Guthrie, Connie Francis and The Ventures. The song has appeared in over a dozen films or TV shows, including The Grapes of Wrath, The Last Picture Show and Tombstone.

The Western Writers ofAmerica voted Red River Valley #10 of the Top 100 Western songs of all time.