The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #4571   Message #686090
Posted By: Joe Offer
09-Apr-02 - 09:34 AM
Thread Name: Origins: The Big Rock Candy Mountain(s)
Here's the quote from Greenway's American Folk Songs of Protest:
Some indication of what a competent investigator may turn up in the matter of buried significance of the conscious sort is in "The Big Rock Candy Mountains," a song that has been accepted for decades into the bosoms of American families as a delightful fantasy, a child's dream of heaven, a song to be printed in gay colors on the nursery wall. But George Milburn has shown the distasteful significance of this apparently innocent song:

"The Big Rock Candy Mountains," a tramp song, provides some excellent samples of tramp fantasy. In many small cities and villages the children of poor whites use the railroad yards as their playgrounds.
From these urchins the jockers sometimes recruit their preshuns, and to entice them they tell them roseate tales of tramp life. These abrications are known as ghost stories. To the Home Guards, "The Big Rock Candy Mountains" may appear a nonsense song, but to all pied pipers in on the know it is an amusing exaggeration of the ghost stories used in recruiting kids.

Mac McClintock claims also the authorship of this song, and in addition to virtually the same substantiation advanced to support his authorship of "Hallelujah, I'm a Bum," he offers his original version of the song, which, despite the necessary expurgation, retains enough of the original significance to certify its precedence over versions now current on family radio programs:
One summer day in the month of May
A jocker he came hiking.
He came to a tree and "Ah," says he,
"This is just to my liking."
In the very same month on the very same day
A Hoosier boy came hiking.
Said the bum to the son, "Oh will you come
To the Big Rock Candy Mountains?"

I'll show you the bees in the cigarette trees,
And the soda water fountain
And the lemonade springs where the blue bird sings.
in the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

So they started away on the very same day,
The bum and the kid together,
To romp and to rove in the cigarette grove
in the land of the sunny weather.
They danced and they hiked for many a day,
The mile posts they were counting;
But they never arrived at the lemonade tide
Or the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

The punk rolled up his big blue eyes
And said to the jocker, "Sandy,
I've hiked and hiked and wandered too,
But I ain't seen any candy.
I've hiked and hiked till my feet are sore
I'll be God damned if I hike any more
To be * * * * * * * *
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains."
See also Big Rock Candy Mountain 3 and Invitation to Lubberland in the Digital Tradition.
I suppose it isn't "big cock randy mountain," but what is the blank space?
-Joe Offer-