Down by the Riverside (also known as Ain’t Gonna Study War No More and Gonna lay down my burden) has roots that date back before the American Civil War.
It was first published in 1918 in Rodeheaver’s Plantation Melodies: A Collection of Modern, Popular and Old-time Negro-Songs of the Southland. The song was first recorded by the Fisk University Jubilee Quartet in 1920 (published by Columbia in 1922). It has been covered by many artists, including Bill Haley, Bing Crosby, and Willie Nelson.
Because of its pacifist imagery, Down by the Riverside was used as an anti-war protest song during the Vietnam War.
Key: G Major
Mood: upbeat, excited
Pedagogy: syncopation, accents