The Longest Song Wiki

A traditional shanty contemporary to General Taylor, and debatedly pre-dating it. This song, like Taylor, has many variations and tracing its exact original lyrics would be difficult, though its refrain has been traced to some chanties sung by south American sailors and freedmen. The song is sometimes called Plains of Mexico, due to its chorus.

Santiana is the second track on Between Wind and Water.

Factoids

On the subject of Santa Anna (Santiana) Stan Hugill once wrote:

Quite a number of British seamen deserted their ships to join Santa Aña's wild and ragged army—Britishers, it would appear, favoured the cause of the Mexicans.”

Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón, or Santiana to the British sailors, was a Mexican politician, President of Mexico, and General during the Mexican-American war, He was a wealthy landowner with a strong political base in Veracruz, and is widely controversial figure in Mexican history.

Contrary to his storied death in the song, Santa Anna wasn't killed by General Taylor. After his defeat by Taylor during the Mexican-American war in 1848, Santa Anna was exiled, first to Kingston and then Colombia...but would return to Mexico five years later, where he was restored as President. Political corruption saw a final short end to his career in 1854, and he was exiled once more.

Molley Del Ray referenced in the song refers to the Battle of Molino del Rey, part of the Battle for Mexico City during the Mexican-American War. Neither Santa Ana nor Taylor were actually present for it.

Some might argue Santa Anna got the last laugh, given that he outlived Taylor by more than 25 years.

Lyrics

These lyrics are based on the version performed by the Longest Johns on their album, Between Wind and Water. The original lyrics can be found here.

{Robbie}
Oh, Santiana gained the day!
(Away Santiana!)
Napoleon of the West, they say!
(Along the plains of Mexico!)

{Chorus}
Well heave her up and away we'll go,
Away Santiana,
Heave her up and away we'll go,
Along the plains of Mexico

{Robbie}
She's a fast clipper ship and a bully good crew
(Away Santiana!)
and an old salt yank for a captain too
(Along the plains of Mexico!)

{Chorus}

{Robbie}
Santiana fought for gold,
(Away Santiana!)
Around Cape Horn through the ice and snow
(Along the plains of Mexico!)

{Chorus}

{Robbie}
Twas on the field of Molley-Del-Rey
(Away Santiana!)
Well both his legs got blown away
(Along the plains of Mexico!)

{Chorus}

{Robbie}
It was a fierce and bitter strife
(Away Santiana!)
the General Taylor took his life
(Along the plains of Mexico!)

{Chorus}

{Robbie}
Santiana now we mourn,
(Away Santiana!)
We left him buried off Cape Horn
(Along the plains of Mexico!)