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River Celebrations

I Love the Mississippi River

The following is the complete I Love The Mississippi River song created by Larry Long, with the help of children we met during the Audubon Ark 2000. Enjoy!

Why do I live on the river
With the mosquitoes and flies
Why do I stand here and shiver
I'll tell you the reason why

I love it, I love it, I love it,
I love the Mississippi River

The banks are clay and muddy
The waters turning brown
The old folks came to greet us
With rhubarb cake in Jacobson Town

We have walleye and catfish
Low life suckers,too
Bullheads and crappies
And that big Mississippi Moon

Let the river show you
Let the river be your guide
Let the river lead you onward
Peace I know you'll find

New Lyrics by 4th grade students from Commerce, Illinois
October 3, 2000

It isn't hard or easy
But it sure is fun
It's pleasant and "streamy"
On this river I love

The waves of the current
That crosses Illinois
The boats on the big blue waters
Fill me up with joy

The river unites us
Brings together many states
It keeps the fish healthy
Without it we'll dehydrate

New Lyrics by 4th & 5th grade students from Chester, Missouri
October 5, 2000

Beautiful river, Beautiful trees
Beautiful great blue heron
Flying graceful and free

Fishing with fish sticks
Carrots, bananas, celery
Like monkeys on a grape vine
Swinging from tree to tree

New Lyrics by 4th & 5th grade students from Ste. Genevieve, Illinois
October 6, 2000

The river started rising
When the rain began to pore
Up north along the river
Until the levee couldn't take it no more

We got sand bags from the junk yard
Turned the bags inside out
Filled the bags with sand from the desert
To keep the water out

We looked just like an island
In the middle of a flood
When the water receded
The streets were filled with mud

Everyone pitched in together
To save this historic town
Now we have a new levee
To keep us on dry ground

We want more birds on the river
We want more fish that swim
We want wolves, bears, and eagles
In a world filled with friends

New Lyrics by 7th to 12th grade students from Alton, Illinois
October 10, 2000

Most of my life is spent
Just trying to get there
Where it is I don't know
Just anywhere but here

I want a beautiful safe world
Where all people have enough
Clean water, air, and houses
And money when times get rough

I dream of fame and fortune
That mansion on the hill
But for now it's education
To help me earn that ten mil'

More doctors, more lawyers,
And people to help us
Express what we are feeling
To heal, to know, to trust

To do what I want to do
Is freedom to me
To have control, to get the key
To unlock my destiny

I see birds, I see boats
On this river barge of hope
We won't quit until we're done
On this river we float

New Lyrics by 4th grade students from Grafton, Illinois
October 13, 2000

There's owls and great blue heron
Kingfish, eagles, too
Sandpipers, mallards, pelicans
Living right here with you

In the mud and the crud of the river
The river otter lives
Big, brown, and furry
With little web feet that love to swim

Wildlife, pollution
Sparkly, muddy, beautiful
Meandering and rocky
Sunny, wavy, colorful

With a boat we go rafting
On the river in the summer time
With those snakes and snapping turtles
With those skitters and horseflies

Too much trash and litter
On the river banks
Pick up and recycle
When you do we give thanks

New Lyrics by 4th grade students from La Grange, Missouri
October 16, 2000

The river is in danger
The river needs our help
The river needs our hands and minds
To help it out

The Audubon Ark is coming
To help us understand
The world would be better
If we all would lend a hand

New Lyrics by 7th grade from Central Lee School, Montrose, Missouri
October 20, 2000

The water is moving
It's such a pretty view
It makes you think of what you've done
The love I have for you

Elm, oak, hickory
Sycamore, cherry, pine
Maple, cedar, walnut, hedge
You are a friend of mine

The water is peaceful
While fishing in my boat
Watching birds fly over head
Watching fish come a float

Captain Ike has a parrot
The Lillie Belle is the best
I don't know the all of it
So you can make up the rest

The sycamore trees are moving
North, east, south, and west
they're changing to October
To give the earth a rest

Walking on the water
When the river turns to ice
But down below Keokuk
The river flows real nice

New Lyrics by 5th & 6th grade students from New Boston, Illinois
October 23, 2000

On the shores of the river
Picking up trash
Pop bottles, candy wrappers
Garbage bags and glass

We want more rocks and clam shells
We want more garbage cans
To throw away the garbage
We pick up with our hands

Crock butter containers
Aluminum, potty bits
Cigarettes, styrofoam
I don't care for none of it

It feels good to help others
It feels good to clean up the earth
Please do not litter
Together we'll make it work

New Lyrics by 5th & 6th grade students from Muscatine, Iowa
October 25, 2000

Don't throw away your garbage
Don't dump your oil and bleach
Pick it up recycle
So we can swim at a clean beach

In the summertime we love her
'Cause we can jump in and get wet
With the duck boats, fish, plants, turtles, and frogs
Bald Eagles and river sunsets

The river is muddy
The river is strong
The river needs our respect
So she can live long

Catfish and crappie
Turtles and northern pike
Dragon flies and bull frogs
Croakin' through the night

New Lyrics by 6th grade students from East Moline, Illinois & Davenport, Iowa
October 27, 2000

We're here to listen
To study the river, too
On this highway and byway
It's so good to be with you

We can go fishing
For bass and blue gills
But those catfish and dogfish
Are so ugly they give me chills

On this stern wheeler
From the stern to the bow
From the head to the galley
To where we're singing now

I live along the river
I pick up trash and "poo"
When I'm done with my duties
I just scream out, "Oo...!"

Extra verse by 4th & 5th grade students from Ste. Genevieve, Illinois
October 6, 2000

We're French and we're German
Osage, and African
In this town of my ancestors
In this town of the big flood

Extra verse by 4th grade students from La Grange, Missouri
October 16, 2000

The barges are coming
Pollution needs to stop
If you harm the water
You are harming us!

Words by students from Commerce, Chester, Ste. Genevieve, Cape Girardeau, Grafton, La Grange, Montrose, New Boston, Muscatine, Grafton, East Moline, Davenport, and Alton with Larry Long. Verses one, two, three, and four by Larry Long. Music by Larry Long

Total: 48 Verses

© Copyright Larry Long Publishing 2000

News & Events

Cashton, WI - 8th Grade Leadership will host a Cashton Community Celebration in honor of Mrs. Marian Sullivan Schwarz’s 104th Birthday at the Cashton Community Hall on Wednesday, October 18, 2017, 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM.  

Community Celebration of Place is partnering with Little Free Library on Saturday, May 21, in Minneapolis, Minnesota for the first-ever Little Free Library Festival.

Join highly acclaimed author Kent Nerburn and Larry Long, Executive Director of Community Celebration of Palce for an evening of songs, stories and music.

Save Our History!

During 2017-2018, it is a primary program of Community Celebration of Place to transfer their collection into archives that will be open to the public for generations to come

We can not do this work without you.


My heartfelt thanks to Larry Long and all the voices from which our history continues to generate encouragement, enthusiasm and wisdom.

Arlo Guthrie, Songwriter, Son of Woody Guthrie

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