Red River Valley

Red River Valley is a popular Canadian folk song and like many others songs from that time,such as Alouette, it has a somber mood to it. Red River Valley tells the tale of a Metis local woman worried about her lover, a soldier preparing to return to the East.
The origins of this song are unknown because it bears so many titles, depending on the region where it was sung. Some of the common titles that it is known as are Bright Sherman Valley, Cowboy Love Song, In The Bright Mohawk Valley, Bright Laurel Valley, and Bright Little Valley. 

The earliest surviving manuscript of the Red River Valley contains the notations Harlan 1885 and Nemaha 1879. These are the names of towns in Iowa and counties in Nebraska which adds another layer of confusion about its origin.
According to Canadian folklore enthusiast Edith Fowke, Red River Valley was famous in a number of Canadian provinces before 1896. Based on anecdotal evidence, it is speculated that Red River Valley was composed around 1870 during the Wolseley Expedition. 

Despite variations in titles, you can’t fail to recognize the song as soon as you hear the chorus.

Red River Valley

From this valley they say you are going,
We will miss your bright eyes and sweet smile,
For they say you are taking the sunshine
Which has brightened our pathways a while.


Come and sit by my side if you love me;
Do not hasten to bid me adieu,
But remember the Red River Valley,
And the girl that has loved you so true.

I’ve been thinking a long time, my darling,
Of the sweet words you never would say,
Now, alas, must my fond hopes all vanish?
For they say you are going away.

Won’t you think of the valley you’re leaving,
Oh, how lonely and sad it will be,
Just think of the fond heart you’re breaking,
And the grief you are causing to me.

From this valley they say you are going,
When you go, may your darling go too?
Would you leave her behind unprotected,
When she loves no one other than you.

As you go to your home by the ocean,
May you never forget those sweet hours,
That we spent in the Red River Valley,
And the love we exchanged ‘mid the flowers.

I have promised you, darling, that never
Will a word from my lips cause you pain,
And my life, it will be yours forever,
If you only will love me again.

They will bury me where you have wandered,
Near the hills where the daffodils grow,
When you’re gone from the Red River valley,
For I can’t live without you I know.

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