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Lyr Req/Add: When I First Came to This Land^^^

DigiTrad:
WHEN I FIRST CAME TO THIS LAND


In Mudcat MIDIs:
Wann ich vun dem Land rei kumm (Pennsylvania Dutch original of "When I First Came To This Land" - from Pennsylvania Songs and Legends, 1949)
When I First Came To This Land (Oscar Brand's version of the tune from Singing Holidays, 1957)
When I First Came To This Land (Pete Seeger's version of the tune, from American Favorite Ballads (1961))


sam@focalpointinc.com 07 Jun 99 - 04:11 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 07 Jun 99 - 04:25 PM
Matthew B. 07 Jun 99 - 04:27 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 07 Jun 99 - 04:30 PM
Bert 07 Jun 99 - 04:53 PM
Roger in Baltimore 07 Jun 99 - 05:50 PM
Art Thieme 07 Jun 99 - 08:16 PM
raredance 07 Jun 99 - 09:24 PM
GUEST,maxine 04 Nov 01 - 03:13 PM
Metchosin 04 Nov 01 - 03:26 PM
Willa 04 Nov 01 - 05:38 PM
Willa 04 Nov 01 - 05:39 PM
Charley Noble 04 Nov 01 - 09:52 PM
GUEST,Maxine 05 Nov 01 - 12:02 PM
GUEST,abuwood 05 Nov 01 - 12:05 PM
GUEST,Jeri 05 Nov 01 - 12:11 PM
GUEST 05 Nov 01 - 01:45 PM
Willa 05 Nov 01 - 05:20 PM
Charley Noble 05 Nov 01 - 06:08 PM
Charley Noble 19 May 03 - 07:37 PM
Joe Offer 20 May 03 - 12:17 AM
Joe Offer 20 May 03 - 01:05 PM
Snuffy 20 May 03 - 07:38 PM
Charley Noble 20 May 03 - 09:09 PM
GUEST,Oscar Brand 03 Feb 04 - 04:43 PM
Charley Noble 03 Feb 04 - 08:32 PM
Joe Offer 04 Feb 04 - 02:50 PM
GUEST,richardwstr@netscape.net 30 May 05 - 05:56 PM
Genie 23 Jun 06 - 03:12 AM
Mo the caller 23 Jun 06 - 06:06 AM
GUEST 03 Jul 08 - 05:27 PM
Joe Offer 04 Jul 08 - 10:26 AM
GUEST,Jim 04 Jul 08 - 11:51 AM
GUEST,ANDRE ("\(o_0) 11 Mar 09 - 04:46 PM
GUEST,Peter Tidmarsh 07 May 09 - 12:16 PM
PHJim 07 May 09 - 01:00 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 07 May 09 - 02:41 PM
GUEST,Harrie Hayward 17 Apr 11 - 04:43 PM
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Subject: When I first
From: sam@focalpointinc.com
Date: 07 Jun 99 - 04:11 PM

I know this as a summer camp song:

When I first came to this land, I was not a wealthy man, So I got myself a _____________ (variable lyric), And I did what I could.

Anyone know all the words? Anyone associate this song with anyone?

The beauty of my NOT knowing the words, of course, is that I have to make 'em up for my kids, which is how folk songs change in the oral tradition. Still, I'd like to know the "actual" words, if only to have a better springboard.

I have fond memories of the summers of '74 and '75, at a summer camp where the "camp songs" overlapped broadly with the folk pop of the day -- John Prine (Spanish Pipe Dream, Please Don't Bury Me) and even Donovan (Dona, Dona -- yes I know it's an older song than that!).

Thanks


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Subject: RE: When I first
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 07 Jun 99 - 04:25 PM

Called my Shack/ Break my back
Cow/ No milk now
Horse/ Lame of course
Wife/ Joy of my life (or, Run for your life- you choose!)
Son/ Day's work's done
But the land was sweet and good, and I did what I could.


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Subject: RE: When I first
From: Matthew B.
Date: 07 Jun 99 - 04:27 PM

I learned it differently

Farm - Muscle in the arm
Shack - Ache-in in the back
Truck - Out of luck
Cow - No milk now
Wife - Run for your life
Son - My work's done


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Subject: RE: When I first
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 07 Jun 99 - 04:30 PM

That's the beauty of this song- Sam, I think you had the right idea in the first place by making it up!
I've also heard:
duck/ out of luck
elephant/ I'm so elegant
llama / want my mama

etc., etc., etc.!


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Subject: RE: When I first
From: Bert
Date: 07 Jun 99 - 04:53 PM

I have heard that the popular version was translated by Oscar Brand.


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Subject: RE: When I first
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 07 Jun 99 - 05:50 PM

OK, everybody,

All together now! The first place to look for a song on the Mudcat is...

The DigiTrad Database!

CLICK HERE and find the song!

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: When I first
From: Art Thieme
Date: 07 Jun 99 - 08:16 PM

And I call my son/out of breath.

And I call my rhinoceros/how prepocerous.

Call my wife/the love of my life!


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Subject: RE: When I first
From: raredance
Date: 07 Jun 99 - 09:24 PM

I recall first hearing it on a recording by the Limeliters with Glenn Yarbrough tenoring the lead.

Told my daughter/ You hadn't oughter

rich r


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Subject: When I first came to this land
From: GUEST,maxine
Date: 04 Nov 01 - 03:13 PM

Does anyone remember this song?

When I first came to this land
I was not a wealthy man
So I got myself a shack
I did what I could

And I called my shack
Break my back
In this green and pleasant land
I did what I could


When I first came to this land
I was not a wealthy man
So I got myself a donkey
I did what I could

And I called my donkey
Horse gone wonkey
And I called my shack
Break my back
In this green and pleasant land
I did what I could............

It goes on and on in this manner, he gets himself a cow called 'no milk now' a hen called 'now and then' a wife called 'run for you life' and the final part is a son called 'my works done'

It really is a nice little 'happy song' - my kids love it.

I am trying to find out what it is called. I have tried the obvious...'when I first came to this land' and 'I was not a wealthy man', etc but nothing has become apparent.

I think the lyrics are corrrect but I would like to find the chords to play it correctly if possible....always a bonus! Anyone got any ideas?
thanks Maxine


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When I first came to this land
From: Metchosin
Date: 04 Nov 01 - 03:26 PM

Maxine, When I First Came to This Land is in the DT


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Subject: Chords Add: WHEN I FIRST CAME TO THIS LAND
From: Willa
Date: 04 Nov 01 - 05:38 PM

These are the chords shown in my songbook.
  D		   G	   D     
When I first came to this land
G D A7 D
I was not a wealthy man
G D
So I got myself a shack
Em A7 D
I did what I could
G D A7 D
And I called my shack Break my back
G D
But the land was sweet and good,
Em A7 D
and I did what I could


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When I first came to this land
From: Willa
Date: 04 Nov 01 - 05:39 PM

Hi, Maxine; sorry, the chords haven't come out as I placed them - hope you can make sense of them!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When I first came to this land
From: Charley Noble
Date: 04 Nov 01 - 09:52 PM

Willa - I've been using "dashes" in between "Chords" instead of "spaces" and they still don't end up in esactly the right place but would if folks copy and re-paste them into Word or whatever word processing program one uses.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When I first came to this land
From: GUEST,Maxine
Date: 05 Nov 01 - 12:02 PM

Thanks, that's great...don't worry about the chords, my playing so bad it won't matter if they're in the wrong place anyway. Still, practice makes perfect and I'll definately be practising this one now. Maxine


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When I first came to this land
From: GUEST,abuwood
Date: 05 Nov 01 - 12:05 PM

I know a christmas parody that I used for my class carol concert if yo are interested


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When I first came to this land
From: GUEST,Jeri
Date: 05 Nov 01 - 12:11 PM

  I was not a wealthy man 
G D
So I got myself a shack
Em A7 D
I did what I could
G D A7 D
And I called my shack Break my back
G D
But the land was sweet and good,
Em A7 D
and I did what I could

Willa, is this how the chords should look?

(Pre-formatted text: I stuck <pre> before all the text and </pre> at the end)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When I first came to this land
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Nov 01 - 01:45 PM

yeah, a christmas parody would be good. Lets have it! Maxine


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When I first came to this land
From: Willa
Date: 05 Nov 01 - 05:20 PM

Thanks Charly/Jeri. The chords looked OK when I copied them and transferred them to Word. Think Maxine will manage to sort out the placing.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When I first came to this land
From: Charley Noble
Date: 05 Nov 01 - 06:08 PM

My partner, Landlady's Daughter, used to sing a housing parody of this song called "I Ripped Off What I could." The first verse ran:

When I first came to this land,
I was not a wealthy man;
So I bought a row of shacks
And I ripped off all I could!
I called those rows,
"Pay Through the Nose"
And the rents were sweet and good,
I ripped off what I could!

Them was the days!


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Subject: Lyr Add: I RIPPED OFF WHAT I COULD (Ipcar/Parshall
From: Charley Noble
Date: 19 May 03 - 07:37 PM

Here's the rest of the housing organizing parody of "When I First Came to This Land":


I RIPPED OFF WHAT I COULD!

(Written by Charles Ipcar & Maxine Parshall © 1974
Tune Traditional: parody of "I Did What I Could")

When I first came to this land,
I was not a wealthy man;
So I bought a row of shacks
And I ripped off all I could!
I called those rows,
"Pay Through the Nose"
And the rents were sweet and good,
I ripped off what I could!

When I first...(as above),
So I wrote myself a lease...(as above)
I called that lease "The Golden Fleece"
I called those rows...(as above)

When I first...(as above),
So I hired a managing crew...(as above)
I called that crew "My Rent's Due"
Called that lease...(as above)

When I first...(as above),
So I bribed a building inspector...(as above)
I called that inspector "My Protector"
I called that crew...(as above)

When I first...(as above),
So I bribed an assessor chief...(as above)
I called that chief "My Tax Relief"
Called that inspector...(as above)

When I first...(as above),
So I bribed a councilman...(as above)
I called that man "Screw Who You Can"
Called that chief...(as above)

When I first...(as above),
So I bribed a district judge...(as above)
Called that judge "Waffle and Fudge"
Called that man...(as above)

When I first...(as above),
So I wrote a housing bill...(as above)
Called each line "I've Got Mine"
Called that judge...(as above)

Now that I've been in this land,
I am quite a wealthy man;
So I sold off all I owned,
I ripped off what I could;
I called that deal "I'm Well Heeled"
And I quietly skipped town,
I ripped off what I could!

Warm regards,
Landlady's Daughter, not to be confused with Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When I first came to this land
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 May 03 - 12:17 AM

I wondered where this song came from. I never quite liked Glen Yarbrough, and his is the only voice I can recall singing it - but I kinda guessed it came from Oscar Brand. The Traditional Ballad Index says I'm right - partially. Now, I wonder if we can find the original. In American Favorite Ballads, Pete Seeger says Oscar Brand translated it from an old Pennsylvania Dutch song. Brand's book says the tune is from an old nursery rhyme - his tune sounds like "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" to me. Seeger's version of the tune has evolved a bit, and Yarbrough changed it even more. Brand and Seeger agree on the lyrics.
-Joe Offer-


Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry:

When I First Came To This Land

DESCRIPTION: Immigrant comes to the USA, gets a shack, cow, duck, wife and son, and sings about them in a cumulative fashion: "Called my wife 'Run for your life'; called my duck, 'Out of luck'", etc.
AUTHOR: Words translated by Oscar Brand from Pennsylvania Dutch song
EARLIEST DATE: 1957 (Oscar Brand, "Our Singing Holidays")
KEYWORDS: animal cumulative emigration farming marriage nonballad
FOUND IN: US
REFERENCES (3 citations):
PSeeger-AFB, p. 13, "When I First Came to this Land" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 120 "When I First Came To This Land" (1 text)
DT, FIRSTCAM

Roud #16813
RECORDINGS:
Pete Seeger, "When I First Came to This Land" (on PeteSeeger24)
Notes: This should not be confused with the traditional "When First To This Country." - PJS
File: PSAFB013

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Bibiography
Go to the Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2009 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


The lyrics in the Digital Tradition are quite similar to the Brand lyrics. Here are the lyrics for the last verse from Brand's Singing Holidays (1957):
    When I first came to this land
    I was not a wealthy man
    Then I got myself a son-
    I did what I could
    I told my son: "My work's done."
    I called my wife, Run-for-your-life
    I called my duck, Out-of-luck
    I called my horse, Lame-of-course
    I called my cow, No-milk-now
    I called my shack, Break-my-back
    For the land was sweet and good
    I did what I could.

Click to play Oscar Brand tune


Click to play Pete Seeger tune


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Subject: DTADD: Wann Ich Vun Dem Land Rei Kumm
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 May 03 - 01:05 PM

Hey, I found the Pennsylvania Dutch version!
-Joe Offer-


WANN ICH VUN DEM LAND REI KUMM
(When I Came To This Country)

Wann ich vun dem Land rei kumm
No war ich en armer Mann
No kaf ich mir en Hinckel
Un fang des Hausen a
Wann di Leid mich froje deede
Wie mei Hinckel heest
Gickerigie heest mei gleines Hinckelie

Wann ich vun dem Land rei kumm
No war ich en armer Mann
No kaf ich mir en End
Un fang des Hausen a
Wann di Leid mich froje deede
Wie mei Endli heest
Endli Bendli heest mei Endli
Gickerigie heest mei gleines Hinckelie

and so on...

Kuh...Uff un Zu


Genzel...Schtumm Schwenzel


Gaul...Hawwer Maul


Hund...Immer Gsund


Haus...Rei un Naus


Wann ich vun dem Land rei kumm
No war ich en armer Mann
No grie ich mir en Fra
Un fang des Hausen a
Wann di Leid mich froje deede
Wie mei Weiwel heest
Hell Deiwel heest mei Weiwel
Rei un Naus heest mei Haus
Immer Gsund heest mei Hund
Hawwer Maul heest mei Gaul
Shtumm Schwenzel heest mei Genzel
Uff un Zu heest mei Kuh
Endli Bendli heest mei Endli
Gickerigie heest mei gleines Hinckelie
1. When I came to this country
I was a poor man;
Then I bought a chicken
And began housekeeping.
Should the people ask
The name of my chicken,
Gickerigie is the name of my little chicken.

2. When I came to this country
I was a poor man;
Then I bought a duck
And began housekeeping.
Should the people ask
The name of my little duck,
End-of-the-String is the name of my little duck,
Gickerigie is the name of my little chicken.



3. Then I bought a cow...Open-and-Shut is the name of my cow
End-of-the-String is the name of my little duck, etc.

4. Then I bought a little goose...Bobtail is the name of my little goose,
Open-and-Shut is the name of my cow, etc.

5. Then I bought a horse...Oats-Mouth is the name of my horse.
Bobtail is the name of my little goose, etc.

6. Then I bought a dog...Always-Well is the name of my dog.
Oats-Mouth is the name of my horse, etc.

7. Then I bought a house...In-and-Out is the name of my house,
Always-Well is the name of my dog, etc.

8. When I came to this country
I was a poor man;
Then I got a wife
And began housekeeping.
Should the people ask
The name of my little wife,
Hell-Devil is the name of my wife,
In-and-Out is the name of my house,
Always-Well is the name of my dog,
Oats-Mouth is the name of my horse,
Bobtail is the name of my little goose,
Open-and-Shut is the name of my cow,
End-of-the-String is the name of my little duck,
Gickerigie is the name of my little chicken.



Wann ich vun dem Land rei kumm
(When I Came to This Country)
(Sung by Marvin Wetzel at Crackersport, Lehigh County, 1939. Recorded by Thomas R. Brendle and William S. Troxell.)

Notes: This cumulative ballad was probably brought into Pennsylvania by the early immigrants. We heard different versions in Lehigh, Berks, Snyder, and Northumberland counties. A common variation is in the opening line, which gives the ballad its title. Two of these are: Wann ich in des Land bin kumme and Wann ich noch dem Land bin kumme, both meaning literally, "When I came to this country."

source: Pennsylvania Songs and Legends (George Korson, editor. University of Pennsylvania Press, 1949)
The tune certainly bears no resemblance to the Brand-Seeger version.

Click to play


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When I first came to this land
From: Snuffy
Date: 20 May 03 - 07:38 PM

Gickerigie (or Kikeriki) is German for cock-a-doodle-doo (or whatever noise roosters make)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When I first came to this land
From: Charley Noble
Date: 20 May 03 - 09:09 PM

Good catch, Joe!

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When I first came to this land
From: GUEST,Oscar Brand
Date: 03 Feb 04 - 04:43 PM

Thirty four years ago I married and changed the lyric I had written in 1948..It's now, "I called my wife, 'Joy of my life'. I heard it originally, at the home of the Leonards of Allentown, sung in what was either low German or high Yiddish. The melody was very much like "Oleanna". I changed the melody to a version of "Bah, Bah, Black Sheep", sang it on my radio show on which Pete was my guest. He recorded it, as he remembered it. and I've been grateful to him ever since.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When I first came to this land
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 Feb 04 - 08:32 PM

Well, thanks, Oscar, for this and so many other fine songs you arranged and presented for us to learn. Then there are also your songbooks and radio show.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When I first came to this land
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Feb 04 - 02:50 PM

I had a typo in the link for the tune for the Pennsylvania Dutch (low German) lyrics. Click here to play it. Yeah, I think it does sound like "Oleanna." Is that the tune you heard, Oscar?
Thanks for stopping by. I hope you'll come again.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: Chords Add: WHEN I FIRST CAME TO THIS LAND
From: GUEST,richardwstr@netscape.net
Date: 30 May 05 - 05:56 PM

I learnt this song from Martin Wyndham-Read in Sydney in 1961

in 4/4 tempo

The chords were simply C, F, G7

Roughly as follows:

(C) When I first came (F) to this (C) land

(C) I was not a (G7) wealthy (C) man

(C) So I got my (F) self a (C) cow

And (G7) I did what I (C) could

And I (F) called my (C) cow

(G7) no milk now

,,,
C) for the land was (F) sweet and good

and (G) I did what I C) could

Cheers, Richard-Warren Strong


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Subject: When I First Came to This Land - The Limeliters
From: Genie
Date: 23 Jun 06 - 03:12 AM

The Limeliters' version, which is the first one I heard, went like this:

When I first came to this land, I was not a wealthy man,
So I got myself a farm, And I did what I could.
And I called that farm "the muscle in my arm,"

Ref: But the land was sweet and good and I did what I could.

That farm had neither dog not cat, not a sould to holler at,
So I got myself a wife ... .
And I called my wife "run for your life." ...

When a year had passed away, I came home one summer's day,
Found I'd got myself a son ... .
And I called my son "my work's done" ...

Now he grew up and left the farm, brought a wife back on his arm.
Soon the rooms were full of kids ... .
And I called those kids "flip your lids" ... .

When I first came to this land, I was not a wealthy man.
Now I've built my fam'ly tree as I did what I could.
And I called those kids "flip your lids,
Called my son "my work's done,"
Called my wife "run for your life,"
Called my farm "the muscle in my arm,"
Fam'ly tree's enough for me,
But the land was sweet and good and I did what I could.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When I First Came to This Land
From: Mo the caller
Date: 23 Jun 06 - 06:06 AM

I've just listened to the Dutch tune. Sounds a bit like "I had a little nut tree" to me.


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Subject: RE: When I first
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Jul 08 - 05:27 PM

Farm/ Muscle and arm
Horse/ Diamond of course
Cow/ no milk now
Hen/ Booorrrnnn again
Duck/ out of luck
Wife/ Love of my life
Daughter/ do what you oughter
Son/ my works done


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Subject: RE: Req/Add: When I First Came to This Land^^^
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Jul 08 - 10:26 AM

Cultural note for you, Mo - "Pennsylvania Dutch" isn't Dutch. It's Low German (Deutsch). As far as I know, there is no Dutch version of this song.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Req/Add: When I First Came to This Land^^^
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 04 Jul 08 - 11:51 AM

...called my pig,
Root and dig


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Subject: RE: Req/Add: When I First Came to This Land^^^
From: GUEST,ANDRE ("\(o_0)
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 04:46 PM

When I first came to this land. I was not a wealthy man. But i bought myself a _.
A what!?
A _
Oh, a _
And I named my _, _ _ _
Farm; muscle in the arm
Cow, no milk now
Whife, run for your life
Son, Elton John
Horse, cheser ofcourse


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Subject: RE: Req/Add: When I First Came to This Land^^^
From: GUEST,Peter Tidmarsh
Date: 07 May 09 - 12:16 PM

How I was taught it.

    ...Then I got myself a Cow.
       called my cow - no milk now,
       called my horse - lame of course,
       called my pig - thin a ma jig,
       Called my Donkey - gone all Wonky
       called my hen - no eggs again,
       called my wife - bane of my life,
       called my shack - break my back,
       but the land was sweet and good and I did what I could.

the final verse being surprisingly short.

       Then I got my self a Son
       Called my son - my works done.

Song Ends.


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Subject: RE: Req/Add: When I First Came to This Land^^^
From: PHJim
Date: 07 May 09 - 01:00 PM

I first heard this song by Josh White Jr. sung at the Happy Medium Coffee House in Hamilton, Ontario in the sixties.
I have always sung ...called my horse Dobbin of course
...called my pig Root and Dig


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Subject: RE: Req/Add: When I First Came to This Land^^^
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 07 May 09 - 02:41 PM

My late adopted mother was raised in Kansas in the Mennonite Bretheren church, which is not so distantly related to Pennsylvania Dutch, or Amish. Her family spoke a dialect known as "Platdeutcsh" or Low German, which closely resembled Dutch itself, the family having originated in Holland two centuries earlier, prior to relocating to Prussia to escape conscription, among other things.


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Subject: RE: Req/Add: When I First Came to This Land^^^
From: GUEST,Harrie Hayward
Date: 17 Apr 11 - 04:43 PM

Hi and thanks to all - especially to Joe Offer for bringing us the PA Dutch version.

Does anyone know of anywhere online where I can listen to this sung in PA Dutch (not just the midi file).

Many thanks!


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