California

(1849)

"California" is a folk song from the 19th century, arranged by Steven Mark Kohn. The California Gold Rush began in 1849, which is probably when this song was written.

Steven Mark Kohn's arrangement of "California" is contained in the volume American Folk Set, Vol. 2, published by Classical Vocal Reprints (links listed to the right).

California
Traditional


We've formed our band, and we're all well manned
To journey afar to the promised land
Where the golden ore is rich in store
On the banks of the Sacramento shore


Chorus:
Then, ho! Boys ho!
To California go
There's plenty of gold or so I'm told told
On the banks of the Sacramento
On the banks of the Sacramento


We expect our share of the coarsest fare
And sometimes sleep in the open air
On the cold damp ground we'll all sleep sound
Except when the wolves come howling 'round


As we explore the distant shore
We'll fill our pockets with the shining ore
And how 'twill sound as the wind goes 'round
Of our picking up gold by the dozen pound


As the gold is thar most any whar
And they dig it out with an iron bar
And where 'tis thick, with a spade or pick
They can take out lumps as big as a brick


As off we roam through the dark sea foam
We'll ne'er forget kind friends at home
But memory kind shall bring to mind
The love of those we left behind


Audio PLaylist