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Songs about farm folk

09 Feb 00 - 06:44 PM (#175822)
Subject: Songs about farm folk
From: pastorpest

I am involved with the "Rural Life Committee" of a church denomination, United Church of Canada, that is primarily urban. Getting people to hear, let alone understand what is being lost as farm families disappear is never easy. People do not "feel" statistics about farm economics. With a good song you can think a feeling and feel a thought (I read that in Pete Seeger stuff and I am not sure he takes credit for it). We are looking for songs about farm folk and farm life that express both their joys and sorrows. For me Stan Rogers "Field Behind the Plow", Connie Kaldor's "Harsh and Unforgiving" and Ron Hynes "Sonny's Dream" are good examples. Please add to the list and if you can point me to where to find lyrics and music all the better. In advance, thanks!

09 Feb 00 - 07:00 PM (#175834)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: Clinton Hammond2

Stan Rogers "Lies" Lots of stuff from Tamarack, especially the 'Fields Of Rock and Snow album... Keelaghan has a few prarie tunes... Jethro Tull has allkinda of rural stuff, especially "Farm On The Freeway" on the album Crest Of A Knave...

Just off the top of my head...

09 Feb 00 - 07:06 PM (#175838)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: wysiwyg

On a Priscilla Herdman tape there's one that's quite rural, about seasons changing and lovers/spouses, I'll try to dig it up.

There's a good rural ministries web site. If I can did it out of my bookmarks I'll post it to you.

My husband is an Episcopal priest and fiddle/banjo/mandolin player. We are currently serving in rural land too. He hasn't visited Mudcat much but can be e-mailed at our home e-mail; if you want that, pls see me on the Personal Page.

09 Feb 00 - 07:08 PM (#175839)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: wysiwyg


go to:

I think you'll like it.

09 Feb 00 - 07:08 PM (#175840)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: Lanfranc

From the English Tradition, how about "The Farmer's Boy"?, "Scarborough Fair" (tell him to plough me ... etc). I'll try to come up with others.

I attend several singarounds out in rural parts of eastern England, and there a several "old boys" who turn up and sing obscure songs with a farming theme, some from the Music Hall ("Jollity Farm") and others from the point of view of the farm labourer ("Did you ever see a farmer on a bike")

I'll trace the thread and set some pointers when I get time.

09 Feb 00 - 07:13 PM (#175842)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: GUEST,Eric Johnson

I recommend some of the old country material from the '20s and '30s that was recorded on 78 rpms. Bands like Gid Tanner and the Skillet Lickers and the North Carolina Ramblers and Uncle Dave Macon. Here's a must: Fiddlin' John Carson playing "The Farmer is the Man Who Feeds Them All."

The County and Rounder record labels include compilations of these artists.

For something more recent, try the Clinch Mountain Boys "The Fields Have Turned Brown."

09 Feb 00 - 07:22 PM (#175849)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: Dan Evergreen

"Homestead on the Farm" as sung by Flatt and Scruggs and probably others, is simple and lovely in sort of a slow-bluegrass style. Somebody gave the lyrics on a thread a year or so ago. It's something you can use.

09 Feb 00 - 07:33 PM (#175857)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: Stewie

For the early stuff, get hold of 'Hard Times Come Again No More: Early American Rural Songs of Hard Times and Hardships Vols 1 and 2' Yazoo 2036 and 2037. These are compilations of songs from black and white artists of the 1920s and 1930s and include classics such as the Bentley Boys' 'Down on Penny's Farm', Blind Alfred Reed's 'How Can A Poor Man (Stand Such Times and Live', Allen Bros 'Price of Cotton Blues', Barbecue Bob's 'Bad Time Blues' etc.

Cheers, Stewie.

09 Feb 00 - 07:42 PM (#175860)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: John in Brisbane

Australia has a rich culture of songs and poems about life and hardship in the bush. The one that springs immediately to mind is 'Broken Down Squatter'. The chorus reads in part "When the big-wigs are brought to the Bankruptcy Court, what chance for a squatter like me?" The lyrics are in the DT. I know that I posted the tune some time ago. Please let me know if you would like a refresh. Regards, John

09 Feb 00 - 07:43 PM (#175862)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: Susan of DT

a search for @farmer in the Digital Tradition yields 77 songs. Also look for [Copper family] since many of their songs are about farming communities and rural pursuits.

09 Feb 00 - 07:57 PM (#175870)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: John in Brisbane

Like Susan I did a search using @poverty, which among others yielded Brother Can You Spare A Dime (I posted the tune some time back) and the rather apt Seven Cent Cotton and Forty Cent Meat. Regards, John

09 Feb 00 - 08:37 PM (#175889)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: Willie-O

Well, what do you want to do with these songs?

My neighbour Gary Glover is a Canadian farmer/songwriter. His stuff is poetic and...well, different, and frequently a bit on the dark side (life and death in the barnyard, ya know.) He's currently trying to get a demo tape made of some of his material with the intention of marketing some songs to other people. If you're interested, send me a personal message.

Speaking of Canadian farmer/songwriters with a dark twisted streak, it's odd that no one has mentioned Fred Eaglesmith. A very intense voice from rural Ontario.


09 Feb 00 - 08:59 PM (#175905)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: Orwill

Dear Pastorpest: What you learned from Pete Seegar was said by Yip Harburg ("Over the Rainbow"). Here's the way I remember it. Words make you think thoughts. Music makes you feel feelings. A song makes you feel a thought.

09 Feb 00 - 09:22 PM (#175921)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: Susan A-R

John McCutcheon does a few (The farmer is the woman, This Time Of Year)

There's also a local Vermont poet named Mac Parker who does wonderful stuff about rural culture. He has some recordings out. I am not sure if they are self produced, but I'll check into them. It's mainly poetry, but his delivery and his poems are great. David Budbill also does some great stuff. His play Judevine gives as good a sense of rural Vermont as anything I have ever seen. I know that Bear Pond books Main St. Montpelier VT. carries his stuff. They probably carry Mac Parker's as well.

Also, I put this one together a few years ago, Yet another reason to get a tape recorder going.

I grew up where the maples stood,
Back in the days of the dusty roads
I knew my neighbors and life was good
Up and down the valley
The work was hard and the seasons passed
We split the wood and we hayed the high grass
And I never dreamed it wouldn't last
Up and down the valley

I'd walk home past the old Farr farm
Back in the . . .
And the fields were green and the sun was warm
Up and down the . . .
But old Mr. Farr was a gettin' on
His taxes were high and his kids were gone
Now there's pre-fab homes and well kept lawns
Up and down . . .

I've grown and married and made my home
None too far from the dusty roads
And there still are fields where the hay is mown
Up and down the valley
But the pavement covers more and more
There are fewer farms than there were before
And an ache and a loss I can't ignore
Up and down the valley.

Mr. Farr ran a ski tow on his hillside pasture when I was small, and I used to buy chicken feed from him when I ran out (when I hadn't planned ahead for the limited feed store schedule) Now his big meadow has become a development named Hargrace (for Harold and Grace Farr) Drive. We've lost a farm, a farmer, a man who shared his land with his community, and a gorgeous piece of open land, and he's just one among many.

Gone the days of the dusty roads

HTML line breaks added. -JoeClone 13-Mar-01.

09 Feb 00 - 09:38 PM (#175928)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: raredance

Chuck Suchy a farmer and songwriter from near Mandan, North Dakota has several albums that explore the trials, hard work, sadness, humor and love to be found in contemporary rural life. When North Dakota celebrated its centennial as a state in 1989, Chuck Suchy was named the official state troubador. You can't go wrong with any of his material.

rich r

09 Feb 00 - 11:29 PM (#175967)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: sophocleese

Well Tamarack and Fred Eaglesmith have already been mentioned. A young group called Krazy House have a song called Salt of My Earth. And there are others on the tip of my brain, arrgh, I'll see what I can dig up.

10 Feb 00 - 10:00 AM (#176123)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: Peg

well, there are plenty of pastoral songs about milkmaids but these are not specifically abotu farming per se...

I am thinking of (not necessarily written by the artist mentioned):

Pastures of Plenty (recently done by Solas) Handful of Earth (Dick Gaughan) Heavy Horses (Jethro Tull) The Digger's Song (also Solas) a great song about plow horses that I will try to get the name of: beautiful lyrics; only line I remember is "the horse's day is done";I heard it on A Celtic Sojourn a couple times so I will email Brian O...


10 Feb 00 - 10:46 AM (#176149)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: GUEST,Arkie

On the lighter side, Guy Clark has a wonderful song about "Home Grown Tomatoes" and David Mallet has several songs which might be of interest, one about firewood and another about growning a garden, can't think of the title at the moment. The Copper Family has already been mentioned and I believe they recorded an album for Folk Legacy which might still be available as a custom cassette. Another source of songs and poems would be through Cowboy Gatherings that take place quite frequently. Poets such as Bruce Kiskaddon have written some fine poems about life in the west. One of my favorites is The Bronco Twister which describes a rural funeral and a eulogy by a tough cowboy. A search for cowboy gatherings on the internet would turn up some interesting leads. I was told that a similar thing, something like farm gatherings, had been started in the east, but I have no actual knowledge of such events.

10 Feb 00 - 11:48 AM (#176176)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: Allan C.

Just for fun, open your RealPlayer and paste the following into the LOCATION box:

10 Feb 00 - 12:41 PM (#176216)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: Rex

I may have missed it in the threads but David Mallett's "Gardening" gets the idea across. I believe it's on his "Almanac" album if I could only find it in the clutter.


10 Feb 00 - 01:12 PM (#176225)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: jeffp

There's also the Anti-Garden Song, to the tune of Dave Mallet's Garden Song, which gives the dark side of gardening. Both are in Rise Up Singing. I can't remember all the words to the Anti-GS, but here is the chorus:

Slug by slug, weed by weed;
My garden's got me really teed.
All the insects love to feed
Upon my tomato plants.
Sunburned face, scratched-up knees;
My kitchen's choked with zucchinis.
I'm shopping at the A&P
Next time I get a chance

Lots of fun.

10 Feb 00 - 01:33 PM (#176237)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: Rex

Whoops! I was mixed up. Yep, David Mallett does "The Garden Song". But that's not the one I was thinking of. I was thinking of "Gardening" by Dillon Bustin on _his_ "Almanac" album. Now that I got that straight I'll bet I can find it too.


10 Feb 00 - 02:33 PM (#176270)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: Nogs

John Gorka: "Houses in the fields", about the suburbanization of the countryside . . . He also has a whimsical song about milkcows in the wintertime (Cows in the moo-yard are making their plans/for the long winter nights and the cold winter hands)

10 Feb 00 - 02:57 PM (#176283)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: MMario

Winter Cows is at this link:

put gloves on

10 Feb 00 - 06:13 PM (#176368)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: Susanne (skw)

'The Farm Auction', written by Enoch Kent, a Scotsman now living in Canada I believe. It doesn't seem to be in the DT. - Susanne

10 Feb 00 - 08:17 PM (#176431)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: GUEST,margaret

Nanci Griffith's "Trouble in the Fields" is a good one, reflecting hopefulness despite the difficult economics and the alienation from / lack of understanding by urban folks ("our children live in the city and they rest upon our shoulders / they never want this rain to fall or the weather to get colder"). Don't know what album it was originally on but believe it's on the live album "One Fair Summer's Evening." Three thumbs up too for Nogs' suggestion of "Houses in the Field," a truly beautiful, sad song that captures an important dimension of our times. Might be a good one for your city folk to wrap around since it's sung not from the perspective of the farmer but of an appreciative outsider. . . Margaret

11 Feb 00 - 07:53 AM (#176589)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: GUEST,Sian in Wales

Speaking as an ex-United Church member (ex only 'cause I live in Wales now) I'd be really interested in hearing more about this.

On the humour side: Grandma's Feather Bed (John Denver) is rollicking.

The serious ones that come to mind are actually trying to make other points (political) but perhaps it's all in the way you listen. Unfortunately, although they're Irish, I only know them in Welsh. I think one is ... um...Four Fields? The other one won't make any sense if I just translate the title. The chorus roughly translates: It's quiet now in Esgair Llyn (name of farm) where once I learned to sing the world's song ...

Too vague? Anyone know the original?


11 Feb 00 - 08:40 AM (#176606)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: Dan Calder

Garnet Rogers has two wonderful tunes that fit this category (at least two). The first is on his self-titled album and is called "Break The Law". Another is from his album titled At A High Window, and is called "Last of the Working Stetsons".

Garnet's site is



11 Feb 00 - 10:16 AM (#176659)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: Uncle_DaveO

The Farmer is the Man That Feeds Us All.

11 Feb 00 - 10:22 AM (#176663)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: Willie-O

"Break the Law" was written by Doug McArthur, another Canadian songwriter. (At that point in Garnet's career he wasn't performing his own songs yet.) Someone mentioned workhorses--Garnet also sang Archie Fisher's song "Denbrae", a lovely and moving Scottish tribute:

They were two bonnie blacks with white faces and feet
In the country around, they could never be beat
And you'd look far and wide, tween the Forth and the Tay
For to match my two Clydesdales, the pride of Denbrae.

Another obvious genuine Canuck rancher/singer is of course Ian Tyson. Pick up his album "18 Inches of Rain", the title song is a good kind of western swing complaint about life on a ranch where

"Me and this old outfit, have both seen better days."

"Not a broke horse on the place,
Pickup truck won't go
Tractor lost a wheel, bout a week ago
The wind is from the east, blowin' hard across the plains
I'm high and lonesome, waitin' for a change...

11 Feb 00 - 05:15 PM (#176841)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: GUEST,Chris H.

Steve Earle's "And The Rain Came Down" is another.


11 Feb 00 - 07:01 PM (#176876)
Subject: LYR ADD: The Farm Auction ^^
From: Susanne (skw)

(Enoch Kent)

Auctioneer comes here today
Privacy upon display
Highest bidder takes away
But they can't take it all

Rusting tractor on the hill, fence-post with a printed bill
That says the sale goes on until everything is gone

Bone and silver napkin rings, elastic bands round spoons and things
Tiny fingers touched the strings of that fiddle in the case
The coffee pot they never used, the silver frames are slightly bruised
Round portraits that amused in parlour and in hall

Firelight and a favourite song, laughter that rings among
The memories that still belong within these empty rooms
Remember when the lights were low, the log fire and the mistletoe
Morning sunlight on the snow, how much for a broken sleigh

A jar of nails, a box of tacks, six dining chairs with wicker backs
In the garden piled in stacks, being spotted by the rain
Auctioneer comes here today, strangers' cars that line the way
Children watch the odd display while mothers watch the lots
That are numbered with the coloured tags, books in boxes, clothes in bags
Bought for learning, bought for rags, everything must go


11 Feb 00 - 07:54 PM (#176896)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: wysiwyg

Video on PBS: The Farmer's Wife on last summer real life told over several installments highly recommend

11 Feb 00 - 10:07 PM (#176949)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: GUEST,James Bridgland

Can't believe that "None of the Above"

has mentioned Murray McLauchlin's "Farmer's Song"

a great hit in Canada (# 5 in '76 ?) with pretty basic sentiments married to a workable tune.

"Straw hat and old dirty hanky ---- & face like a shoe thanks for the meal, & the times that were real from a kid from the city to you"

Was that what you were after?


11 Feb 00 - 10:12 PM (#176953)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: Susan A-R

Someone also wrote a song I am a farmer, not a farmer's wife. I believe it was about the law that meant that a farmer's wife had to pay inheritance taxes on the farm, since it was her husbnad's business. This tax burden often caused (still causes) women to have to sell the land, even though they have worked it side by side with their husbands and it has been a partnership. Believe it's by a Florida songwriter. Also Tom Paxton's Who will Feed the People on his Paxton Reports Album is a good one. Isn't Dougie McLean (I never spell that last name right) song Rescue Me about a farmer having to use more pesticides to keep up with production, knowing that he's doing in the land etc. It seems to me that he has written a number of songs about vanishing rural life. Song of the Scythe is also a lovely one about passing along skills and knacks.

Susan A-R

12 Feb 00 - 02:45 AM (#177026)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: Barbara

The song about the draft horses, Peg, is the Battlefield Band's Last Walk Home, and it should be here in the forum. We had a discussion of it and several of us posted lyrics.
Who Will Feed The People (Tom Paxton, I think)
Husbandman and the Servingman
Fall Is Here (Charlie Maguire)
Waiting for The Lark (Bill Caddick)
Fashioned In The Clay (Elmer Beale)


12 Feb 00 - 02:54 AM (#177028)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: Liz the Squeak

If you want to get really political, the Tolpuddle Martyr songs in the DT should get a few eyebrows going, they usually do.... All 6 men were farm workers who were starving on a farm, because their wages were cut to the bone, and a further cut was immenent, when they formed the first ever Trade Union, to fight for enough to feed their families. Would you like to eat nothing but porrige (Oatmeal), bread and potatoes every meal, every day, every week?


12 Feb 00 - 10:23 AM (#177130)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: GUEST,Val


Here's a song about farmfolk and smalltowners in the city. The vinyl must be long out of print but I have a vague notion that I've seen the music somewhere...ah, but now how long ago might that have been. It's thoroughly singable and easy to harmonize, and the chords are basic. If you can't find it, post a snail mail contact and I can jot out the tune and chords (for the tune, lemme know if it's better in regular notation or solfeg). By the way, it sounds like you have a dream job. Must be great, having to research music. *sigh*

Here are the lyrics:

(Marie-Lynn Hammond)
recorded by Stringband on "Canadian Sunset" an age ago.

1. Well, you can play that old time music,
Yes, you can sing those country songs,
And all the children of the cities,
They have learned to play along.
From a downtown window, busy corner,
Skies are hidden and there ain't no trees.
But you can hear that music playin'
That sweet, sad fiddle playing'
And it floats throught the dusty air like a country breeze.

2, Well they leave the farms and they leave the small towns
'Cause they've heard that the cities pay.
But at night they go from the yards and the factories
To join the crowds down main street way.
In smoky bar-rooms at crowded tables,
They down their beer and they talk about home.
They've come to hear that music playin'
That sweet, sad fiddle sayin'
Things that you never hear till you'r on your own.

3. So play for them some down home music.
Yes sing for them those country songs,
And all your children lost in the cities
They can't help but sing along!
Sing of prairie summers, Ottawa River,
And Sunday mornin's in a small Quebec town.
Just try and leave it all behind you,
Wherever you go it'll find you.
That sweet, sad country music:
Like a lover or friend or brother...'s gonna follow you down.


Have you plans to put together a song book?

Line Breaks <br> added.
-Joe Offer-

12 Feb 00 - 11:41 AM (#177155)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: canoer

I like Stan Rogers' "Night Guard" from his "Home in Halifax" CD.

12 Feb 00 - 12:22 PM (#177171)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: canoer

Now that you have enough to choke a horse; one more:
On a Dylan tape called "The Times they Are A-Changin'" is "The Ballad of Hollis Brown." It's very dark-side; but what happens to a small farmer as all, repeat all, of his options disappear?

Cited in memory of my dad: small Wisconsin gone-broke farmer.

12 Feb 00 - 01:28 PM (#177193)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: Arkie

The song Grandma's Feather Bed, was mentioned earlier in this thread and is a great song which is still being played in Ireland where a radio station ran a contest for things that were done on Grandma's Feather bed. I know what you're thinking, but according to my source sexual exploits were not allowed. The writer of the song is Jim Connor. John Denver, of course had the most popluar recording of the tune. Jim also recorded the song for RCA and toured with John Denver following the release of Denver's version. There is a site on the internet posting the words to the song and mistakenly lists Denver as the composer.

14 Feb 00 - 10:30 AM (#178054)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: Peg

Thanks Barbara, for the info on Last Walk Home. a Beautiful song, I will look for that thread. Just thought of another, farm animal, if not farm, related: Prom Night in Pig Town. John Gorka has sung it, as has Geoff Bartley. I do not know who wrote it. It's a great song! peg

14 Feb 00 - 12:11 PM (#178088)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: Uncle_DaveO

My Oklahome Home Blowed Away"--by whom? I have it on a Pete Seeger CD, but someone else--man and woman team, as I recall--wrote it.

Dave Oesterreich

14 Feb 00 - 01:33 PM (#178132)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: GUEST,Nancy-Jean

Look on Margaret MacArthur's website to find an entire recording of farm songs.

14 Feb 00 - 02:47 PM (#178179)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: Marymac90

A country-related theme is canning, and Greg Brown has one on this-I think it's called "My Grandma Puts it all in Jars".

Don't forget Hal An Tow, done by the Watersons-

I like to rise when the sun she rises early in the morning
I like to hear them small birds sing merrily upon the lalem(sp?)
And hurrah for the life of a country boy, and to ramble in the new mown hay!

Hal an tow! Jolly rumelow! We were up long before the day
To welcome in the summer, to welcome in the May-o!
For summer is a-comin' in, and winter's gone away-o!

In the spring we sow, and at the harvest mow
And that's how the seasons round they go
But of all the times, I like the best for to ramble in the new mown hay!

Mary McCaffrey

Line Breaks <br> added.
-Joe Offer-

14 Feb 00 - 10:56 PM (#178476)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: Sandy Paton

You might want to take a look at the "Stay on the Farm" thread that has come up since this one was started. there's one song posted there.


15 Feb 00 - 10:18 AM (#178731)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: folk1234

Some of my favorites with a farm/rural flavor are:
"Early" about a farming community in Iowa,
"Water From Another Time" sung by John McClutchen, and
"Who Will Watch The Home Place".

There is also a wonderful musical play, "Plain Hearts........", by Eric Polteneimi, et al, which featured the song, "Tree of Life". It is about the rigorous life of the pioneer women in the Great Plains. I have more details at home.

15 Feb 00 - 09:34 PM (#179098)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: pastorpest

I have been asked by GUEST Val if I and the rural life group were thinking of putting together a song book. That is sure one possibility but we have to deal with all the copyright laws! We want to use songs to communicate the importance of the shrinking farm community to our increasingly urbanized society. Our mandate includes justice and quality of life issues for farm and rural communities. I am overwhelmed and grateful for the responses! Thank you all! I will ask everyone on the committee which meets in two days to climb aboard the net and look up the Mudcat. I may even load up my printer and run off this whole thread and plunk it down in the meeting.

15 Feb 00 - 09:58 PM (#179111)
Subject: Lyr Add: LOSING OF THE FARM
From: Mary G

Here's my farm song...if you should want it for your farm songbook don't worry about a copyright..

Losing of the Farm...

The rising costs the interest rates our second year of drought
We always said no matter what we'd somehow tough it out
Every year that's passed has brought us deeper into debt
But till the letter came we thought we weren't defeated yet

So soon we'll disassemble the work of all these years
Tomorrow either Fred or I will call the auctioneers
The pens the barns the silos the fancy milking stall
Two hundred fertile acres oh dear God we've lost it all

Maybe Fred will hire out to a farmer not yet broke
But mucking someone else's cows will make that proud man choke
I'll get a job in town the kids are old enough to leave
There's too much work that must be done too little time to grieve

Perhaps it isn't right to get attached to mud and dirt
and no one but his wife can know how much a man can hurt
But tonight a million farmers in a million loving arms
Are seeking consolation for the losing of their farms

Oh you who live in cities and your lives are a success
You haven't any notion how this country's in a mess
The song that I am singing should cause you such alarm
The song we'll all be singing soon is the losing of the farm.

HTML line breaks added. -JoeClone 13-Mar-01.

16 Feb 00 - 12:30 AM (#179218)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: Arkie

Australian singer John Williamson has a song, Send Down the Rain, on his True Blue recording that is a striking reminder of how dependent farmers are upon nature. Also there is The Conversation With A Mule presenting some insight into farm work with a little humor to boot. Being a farm boy, now many years removed, I've enjoyed this thread.

16 Feb 00 - 12:45 AM (#179222)
Subject: Lyr Add: TWO FOR A DOLLAR^^
From: GUEST,Frank of Toledo

This is taken from a Bobby Bare RCA Victor LP called Hard Time Hungries

Last morning I shut off the alarm -
Drove out in the valley to old Dan Cook's farm.
Sign on the fence post put up with one nail
Said ten a.m. sharp there's a big public sale.
At least 40 people were out in the yard.
They were lookin' for bargains, lookin' real hard.
To buy up the pieces and find out the worth
Of 60 years livin' so close to the earth.

Who'll give me 5? I got five. Who'll give me 10?
I'll call out the numbers and you just say when.
For a lifetime of memories, some happy, some sad.
Two for a dollar, the price sure ain't bad.

How much for the carriage rotting out in the shed?
The one they drove on the night they were wed.
Five bucks for the brass bed, just a little bit worn.
Not much for the place where the five kids were born.
That old parlor piano still sounded all right.
Just as good as it did, every Saturday night.
And that old round oak table where dinner was made
Brought almost as much as the Tiffany shade.

Repeat the chorus. Around 1972, written by Bobby Gosh.

HTML line breaks added & changed from all upper case. -JoeClone 13-Mar-01.

16 Feb 00 - 02:21 AM (#179266)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: Sandy Paton

Gordon Bok sings "Return to the Land" on the CD of the same title (CD-118).

Harry Tuft sings Dick Weissman's "Harvest Song" on his Folk-Legacy CD titled Across the Blue Mountains (CD-63).

Bill Staines' song "Ol' Jack" on Whistle of the Jay (CD-70) describes a man's affectionate appreciation of a faithful mule.

Check out "Aroostook" on Larry Kaplan's Worth All the Telling (CD-122).

All of these can be found on the Folk-Legacy web site: CLICK HERE.


16 Feb 00 - 03:17 AM (#179273)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: alison

Kilkelly (its in the database)... letters from the father left at home on the farm ....

"your brothers have all gone to find work in England
the house is so empty and sad
the crop of potatoes is sorely affected
a third to a half of them bad"



16 Feb 00 - 05:18 PM (#179607)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: folk1234

Here is an excerpt from a presentation at a recent rural technology conference I attended. It refers to Oklahoma, but it is equally descriptive for much of rural America.

"The Oklahoma farmer finds life a little confusing. He gets up at the alarm of a Connecticut clock, buttons his Chicago suspenders to his Taiwan overalls, washes his face with Cincinnati soap in a Pennsylvania pan, sits down to a Grand Rapids table to eat Battle Creek cereal, Chicago meat and Tennessee flour cooked with Kansas lard on a St. Louis stove. Then he puts a New York bridle on a Missouri mule, fed with Iowa corn and plows a farm covered with an Ohio mortgage with a Moline plow. At the end of the day he says a prayer written in Jerusalem, crawls under a blanket made in Indonesia, only to be kept awake by an Oklahoma dog - the only home product on his land. But things may be getting better now ......"

17 Feb 00 - 04:41 AM (#179893)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: Wolfgang

Horses and Plough


18 Feb 00 - 12:27 AM (#180530)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: GUEST,margaret

Sort of moody and only indirectly about farming but nevertheless of interest is James McMurtry's "Angeline." More about a guy who ends up farming even though he's not really suited to it, just drifted into it. Think it's on "Too Long in the Wasteland."

18 Feb 00 - 02:10 AM (#180562)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: Sandy Paton

Eric Bogle's "Now I'm Easy" can break your heart. I'm surprised it hasn't been mentioned; it's about a farmer.


18 Feb 00 - 01:16 PM (#180788)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: pastorpest

Sandy Paton, I want to thank you for your help with this thread! I had thought of putting Bogle's "Now I'm Easy" in my initial examples and was surprised it did not come up before this. "Leaving the Land" is another great Bogle song that fits. You created a direct link to Folk-Legacy which is good. For myself, Folk-Legacy is and was already a bookmarked site. And I have spent my money there and no doubt will again! Without the kind of work you do we folk musicians would have hungry souls. As a member of the Windsor Folk executive you are probably also interested in knowing that Rick Fielding is booked for a concert on Saturday, May 6, and a guitar workshop the following day ( Sorry I am only semi-literate in computerese. Anyone who can do the blue clicky thing, please go ahead.

18 Feb 00 - 03:51 PM (#180861)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: GUEST,wotcha

For the joys of farming, see an earlier thread on "What is a Grange Song?" and the delights of the song "Let Union Be in All Our Hearts ..."

On the theme of "Hal an Tow" check out anything about Cornwall posted by BAZ.

Cheers, Brian

18 Feb 00 - 06:50 PM (#180965)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: GUEST,Arkie

For another list of songs about farming try this site. It lists songs, artists, title of recording and label. Even lists 80 Acres by a fellow named Art Thieme.

19 Feb 00 - 11:44 AM (#181226)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: Mary G

there is a great song that was a poem someone found and I think I heard Jill King put the tune to it but I am not sure of that....I will just put the fragments here...

the tune is great....I have woods I have bowers I have fields I have flowers...

in planting and sowing, in reaping and mowing all nature affords me with plenty....

and the sun is my only good people now here is god speed the plow long life and success to the farmer...


14 Oct 00 - 10:10 PM (#319033)
From: flattop

I was wondering if pastor John had a subtext to his message on the Song for the Mira thread so I looked through his messages to see what he's been writing and found this thread. One of my favourite farming song is Roy Forbes' the Farmer Need the Rain.

Farmer Needs The Rain
Ooh the farmer needs the rain
And the farmer needs the heat
Needs it in the proper order
To grow a field of wheat
But when the wind keeps a blowin'
Blowin' everything away
You can bet your boots the farmer's gonna pay

Ah, the government is helpful
They tell you what to plant
You take it into town
They turn around and say, "No thanks."
And then the cops pull you over
Right in front of the bank
Just wanna see if you've got
Purple gas in your tank

Well it's another dry sundown
Navy blue and red
Linda's out sellin' Tupperware
and the kids are tucked in bed
Ah the radio is cracklin'
And the tractor's in the shed
and I'm thinkin' 'bout some things my father said

He said the farmer needs the rain
And the farmer needs the heat
Needs it in the proper order
To grow a field of wheat
But when the wind keeps a blowin'
Blowin' everything away
You can bet your boots the farmer's gonna pay

And then the credit man comes to see you
At the break of day
He might have to take the truck
Cos you can't pay right away

And you look towards the sky
All your praying in vain
We got a lotta bills to pay
When do we get a break
The farmer needs, the farmer needs the rain


14 Oct 00 - 11:37 PM (#319057)
Subject: RE: Help: Songs about farm folk
From: flattop

A couple of mudWriter have mentioned Fred Eaglesmith. I see that you have Fred coming to Windsor on November 3rd, Pastorpest. I bought an early CD that he did with the Flying Squirrels because I liked the song, Sweaburg General Store. It's about the Sweaburg General Store closing, the role the store played in the past, and the loss to the country community. "Better fill 'er up on your way home, it's a sign of the times, I suppose. Up and down the concessions everybody knows, the Sweaburg General Store is closed."

On the same CD, Eaglesmith has a song Thirty Years of Farming with the line, "Oh, my daddy stopped talkin' the day the farm was auctioned, there was nothin' left to say."