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I wrote this song in 2005 after a trip to Alton, Illinois where I saw the high water marks left by the floods of 1927 and 1993 on the side of a grain elevator high above my head. The current drought resonates with the "river runs low" line.
Mississippi River on a lazy afternoon.
People come from miles on a Sunday in June.
Some folks fish while others just play,
river carries all their troubles away.
River flows slow and river glides wide.
Birds fly over and trees float by.
B oats sail up and barges sail down.
Mississippi River so muddy and brown.
Oh, the river rolls high,
Oh, the river runs low.
Mississippi river don't ask no leave.
River just does whatever it please.
Mississippi River rose up one day.
Swept two little children and their dog away.
People went looking while their mama she cried.
Found them over on the other side.
River kept rising right into the town.
Folks went a running for the higher ground.
Water stayed high for a month or more,
Left muddy river bottom on the kitchen floor.
John Shaw lived on a Mississippi farm.
River started rising so they sounded the alarm.
Spring floods came and the river moved o'er.
Now he's farming on the Louisiana shore.
Mississippi River don't mean no harm.
But it doesn't stop flowing for the city or the farm.
Build all the walls and the levees that you please.
Mississippi rivers always going to be free.