Chesapeake Bay

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CHESAPEAKE BAY. AKA - "Old Dominion Line," "Sailin' Down the Chesapeake Bay." Old-Time, Song and Breakdown. "Chesapeake Bay" was recorded in 1929 by Lowe Stokes and his North Georgian's band, which included fiddlers Clayton McMichen and Bert Layne. It was later recorded in 1937 by Walter Couch and the Wilkes Ramblers. "Sailin' Down the Chesapeake Bay," however was an older song published in 1913 with words by Jean C. Havez, music by George Botsford. It begins:

'Round the bend I see the steamer comin', dear,
Headin' here, To this pier;
If you hurry we will make it, never fear,
On the old Dominion Line.
Ain't she sailing pretty as she hugs the shore,
Steamin' for Baltimore;
Hear the paddles turnin' Hear the water churnin'
She's the queen of Chesapeake Bay!

It can sometimes be heard in the repertoires of 'barbershop quartet' and Dixieland jazz ensembles. The name Chesapeake is derived from the Algonquin phrase chi sepi ook, 'at the big river' (Matthews, 1972).

Recorded sources: Document 8045, "Lowe Stokes, vol. 1: 1927-1930" (reissue). Marimac 9111, "Goin' Up Town: Old Time String Bands, vol. 2."


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