Happy New Year. Down by the Riverside is an African American spiritual whose exact pre-Civil War origin is obscure. It may have originated among slaves held on and near the Georgia Sea islands, whose rich musical contributions include Michael Row the Boat Ashore, Wade in the Water, and Swing Low Sweet Chariot. The riverside in question is simultaneously that of the Jordan and the Ohio, across which first the Hebrew slaves and then the American ones would find the promised land and live in peace. The song was popularized after the war by the Fisk Jubilee Singers, who also (decades later, with a different lineup) made its first recording.