Rivers of Babylon

The Bird Sings Oral Tradition Song Library

Rivers of Babylon

Originally composed as a reggae song using words from Psalm 137, this song has been adapted to a variety of styles. The version I sing and teach has a gospel flavor and is based on an arrangement by former women’s acapella group from Colorado, The Rhythm Method.

Composer & Copyright

Written by and copyright Brent Dowe and Trevor McNaughton of the The Melodians ©1970.


Inspiration Track


(By the rivers of) Babylon
(Where we sat) down
And there we wept
When we remembered Zion

(Then the wicked) carried us away from captivity
Required from us a song
How can we sing King Alpha’s song in a strange land?

(So let the) words of our mouths
(And the medi)tations of our hearts
(Be ac)ceptable in thy sight, ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh

Soprano descant:

Down in the muddy water
Down by the riverside
There we lay us down and we cried
Carry us away in captivity
Require from us to sing to you
How can we sing King Alpha’s song when we don’t even know the words?
So let, let words of love
Flow from my deep deep heart

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