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Origins: The Big Rock Candy Mountain(s)

DigiTrad:
BIG ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN
INVITATION TO LUBBERLAND
THE BIG ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN


Related threads:
Lyr Req: The Dying Hobo (32)
Lyr Req: The Big Cock Randy Mountain (48)
BS: Folkie Burger King TV Commercial (61)
(origins) Origins: Big Rock Candy Mountain (John Hartford) (33)
Lyr/Req: Big Rock Candy Mountain (answered) (2) (closed)
Tune Add: Big Rock Candy Mountain (1) (closed)


Denver 01 Apr 98 - 01:58 PM
Joe Offer 01 Apr 98 - 02:37 PM
Joe Offer 01 Apr 98 - 02:45 PM
Frank Maher 01 Apr 98 - 03:20 PM
Gene 01 Apr 98 - 03:58 PM
Bruce O. 01 Apr 98 - 04:06 PM
Art Thieme 03 Apr 98 - 09:48 PM
Sir Francis Hughes 04 Apr 98 - 07:13 PM
dick greenhaus 04 Apr 98 - 08:48 PM
Art Thieme 05 Apr 98 - 01:55 AM
Jon W. 07 Apr 98 - 11:57 AM
Bruce O. 14 Apr 98 - 02:22 PM
Joe Offer 14 Apr 98 - 02:33 PM
Bill D 14 Apr 98 - 02:49 PM
Bruce O. 14 Apr 98 - 03:31 PM
Joe Offer 14 Apr 98 - 04:33 PM
Bruce O. 15 Apr 98 - 12:38 PM
GUEST,ncsand 21 Jan 00 - 04:14 PM
Uncle_DaveO 31 Oct 01 - 05:17 PM
Joe_F 31 Oct 01 - 06:16 PM
harpgirl 14 Feb 02 - 06:29 PM
Deckman 15 Feb 02 - 06:01 PM
Stilly River Sage 15 Feb 02 - 06:24 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 15 Feb 02 - 06:43 PM
harpgirl 15 Feb 02 - 10:53 PM
Deckman 15 Feb 02 - 11:28 PM
Gypsy 16 Feb 02 - 11:19 PM
Deckman 17 Feb 02 - 05:09 AM
Art Thieme 20 Feb 02 - 01:53 AM
GUEST,harpgirl 20 Feb 02 - 09:28 AM
Art Thieme 20 Feb 02 - 06:06 PM
Mark Ross 08 Apr 02 - 01:23 PM
GUEST,Billy 08 Apr 02 - 11:52 PM
masato sakurai 09 Apr 02 - 12:16 AM
GUEST,Billy 09 Apr 02 - 12:30 AM
GUEST,weed 09 Apr 02 - 06:15 AM
Joe Offer 09 Apr 02 - 09:34 AM
Bennet Zurofsky 09 Apr 02 - 04:45 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 09 Apr 02 - 05:25 PM
Jim Dixon 10 Apr 02 - 10:50 AM
Bennet Zurofsky 11 Apr 02 - 09:53 PM
GUEST,louis@i-2000.com 23 May 02 - 10:22 AM
Mark Ross 23 May 02 - 12:01 PM
toadfrog 06 Sep 02 - 11:06 PM
GUEST,mg 07 Sep 02 - 02:07 AM
Uncle_DaveO 07 Sep 02 - 11:39 AM
Deckman 07 Sep 02 - 05:06 PM
Jim Dixon 20 Nov 05 - 01:25 PM
Louie Roy 20 Nov 05 - 02:07 PM
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Stewie 20 Nov 05 - 09:27 PM
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GUEST,Lighter at work 21 Nov 05 - 12:30 PM
GUEST 26 Nov 05 - 11:55 PM
Mr Happy 18 Jan 06 - 09:23 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 21 Jun 07 - 10:55 PM
Jim Dixon 29 Oct 17 - 09:20 AM
Jim Dixon 29 Oct 17 - 10:39 AM
Lighter 29 Oct 17 - 11:25 AM
Joe Offer 29 Jan 20 - 03:29 AM
Joe Offer 29 Jan 20 - 04:57 AM
Joe Offer 29 Jan 20 - 05:00 AM
Lighter 29 Jan 20 - 09:51 AM
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Joe Offer 29 Jan 20 - 06:24 PM
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Joe Offer 30 Jan 20 - 11:10 PM
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Subject: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: Denver
Date: 01 Apr 98 - 01:58 PM

I have a friend who is a writer in France and needs the lyrics to Big Rock Candy Mountain that Burl Ives sang in 1952 (?). The data search here gives the original with the phrases "cigarette trees" etc. I remeber the Burl Ives version as considerably cleaned up, eg. "bubblegum trees" . . ." soda fountain" etc. Can anybody remember the version I'm trying to ferret out of my failing memory?


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burl Ives' version
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Apr 98 - 02:37 PM

Hi, Denver, the Digital Tradition database has versions of the song here and here. The first version is not exactly what Burl Ives recorded, but it's very, very close. On the MCA "Burl Ives Greatest Hits" CD, Burl sings that version, complete with references to cigarette trees. Maybe he recorded a children's version of the "Little White Duck" album - anybody got that one?
I have a 1953 edition of the "Burl Ives Song Book." It doesn't have either "Little White Duck" or "Big Rock Candy Mountain." Guess I'd better take it back for a refund, eh? Doesn't have "Little Bitty Tear" or "Mr. In-Between," either, but I'm kind of glad of that.
-Joe Offer-


Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry on the song:

Big Rock Candy Mountain, The

DESCRIPTION: The hobo arrives and announces that he is heading for the Big Rock Candy Mountain. He describes its delights: Handouts growing on bushes, blind railroad bulls, jails made out of tin, barns full of hay, dogs with rubber teeth, "little streams of alcohol"
AUTHOR: Unknown; popularized by Harry "Haywire Mac" McClintock
EARLIEST DATE: 1906 (version by Marshall Locke & Charles Tyner published); see NOTES
KEYWORDS: hobo railroading dream food drink
FOUND IN: US
REFERENCES (8 citations):
Lomax-FSUSA 79, "The Big Rock Candy Mountain" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax- FSNA 221, "The Big Rock Candy Mountain" (1 text, 1 tune)
Botkin-AmFolklr, pp. 884-886, "The Big Rock Candy Mountains" (1 text, 1 tune)
Arnett, pp. 116-117, "Big Rock Candy Mountain" (1 text, 1 tune)
PSeeger-AFB, p. 66, "The Big Rock Candy Mountain" (1 text, 1 tune)
Greenway-AFP, pp. 203-204, "(The Big Rock Candy Mountain") (1 text)
Silber-FSWB, p. 61, "The Big Rock Candy Mountain" (1 text)
DT, BIGRKCND BIGROCK2 (BIGROCK3 -- bawdy parody)

Roud #6696
RECORDINGS:
Bill Boyd & his Cowboy Ramblers, "Hobo's Paradise (Big Rock Candy Mountain)" (Bluebird B-6523/Montgomery Ward M-7029, 1936)
Ben Butler, "Rock Candy Mountain" (Madison 1934, c. 1929)
Vernon Dalhart & Co., "The Big Rock Candy Mountains" (Edison 52472, 1929)
Jerry Ellis [pseud. for Jack Golding] "The Big Rock Candy Mountain" (Champion 15646, 1928; Supertone 9342 [as Weary Willie], 1929)
Arthur Fields. Rock Candy Mountain (Grey Gull 4225/Radiex 4225/Madison 1934 [as Ben Butler], 1929)
Frankie Marvin, "The Big Rock Candy Mountains" (Columbia 1753-D, 1929)
Harry "Mac" McClintock, "The Big Rock Candy Mountains" (Victor 21704, 1928; Montgomery Ward M-8121, 1939); "The Big Rock Candy Mountains" (AFS 10,506 A4, 1951, on LC61) (Decca 5689, 1939) (on McClintock01)
Goebel Reeves, "The Big Rock Candy Mountain" (Perfect 13099/Conqueror 8470, c. 1935) (MacGregor 851, n.d.)
Pete Seeger, "The Big Rock Candy Mountain" (on PeteSeeger17) (on PeteSeeger27)
Hobo Jack Turner [pseud. for Ernest Hare] "The Big Rock Candy Mountains" (Diva 2807-G/Velvet Tone 1807-V, 1929)

SAME TUNE:
Fisher Hendley, "Answer to the Big Rock Candy Mountains" (Vocalion 02543, c. 1929/Regal Zonophone [Australia] G22174, n.d.)
Charley Blake, "The Big Rock Candy Mountain, No. 2" (Supertone 9556, 1929)
Bill Cox, "In the Big Rock Candy Mountains - No. 2" (Supertone 9556, 1929) [Note: Also issued as by Charley Blake, same record number]
Stuart Hamblen, "The Big Rock Candy Mountains - No. 2" (Victor V-40319, 1930)
NOTES [350 words]: A number of sources, including Sing Out!, Volume 30, Number 2 (1984) credit this to "Haywire Mac" McClintock, but the earliest date shows that the song precedes him. He did doubtless make it much more popular.
The concept of the song predates the Locke/Tyner version, too A seventeenth century piece, "Invitation to Lubberland," has words such as these:
The rivers run with claret fine, the brooks with rich canary,
The ponds with other sorts of wine to make your hearts full merry:
Nay, more than this, you may behold the fountains flow with brandy,
The rocks are like refined gold, the hills are sugar candy.
John Masefield published a text of "Lubberland" in his 1906 book "A Sailor's Garland," so that could have directly inspired the Locke/Tyner rewrite -- although there is reason to think Haywire Mac had already started working on the song in 1905.
Another possible source is "The Land of Cokaygne," found in the British Library MS Harley 913.
Also, there are accredited instances of wells and fountains with sweet or sour water -- in the case of the latter, a little sugar could make the water taste like lemonade. At least one of these seems to have been known as a "lemonade spring."
Most of the information cited here comes from Jeffrey Kallen and Jonathan Lighter and Abby Sale. I wish I could disentangle it more, but the rest is all very speculative. I would add one other parallel, L. Frank Baum's first significant fantasy, Adventures in Phunnyland, written in the 1890s (published 1900 as A New Wonderland). According to Katharine M. Rogers, L. Frank Baum: Creator of Oz, 2002 (I use the 2003 Da Capo press edition), p. 59, in Phunnyland, "the ground is maple sugar, the rain is lemonade, and the snow is popcorn." And Michael O. Riley, Oz and Beyond: The Fantasy World of L. Frank Baum, University of Kansas Press, 1997, p. 35, reports such features as paths made of taffy, mud that is jelly or chocolate, a plain of loaf sugar with boulders of rock candy, rivers of root beer or maple syrup, a lake of sugar syrup, and islands of whipped cream in a pond of custard. - RBW
Last updated in version 5.0
File: LxU079

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2019 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


Here are the lyrics we have in our Digital Tradition Folk Song Database. They seem to be flawed.

THE BIG ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN (DT)
(attributed to Harry "Haywire Mac" McClintock

One evening as the sun went down
And the jungle fires were burning,
Down the track came a hobo hiking,
He said, "Boys, I'm not turning
I'm heading for a land that's far away
Beside the crystal fountain
I'll see you all this coming fall
In the Big Rock Candy Mountain*

cho: Oh, the buzzing of the bees in the cigarette trees,
By the soda water fountain
Near the lemonade springs where the bluebird sings
On the Big Rock Candy Mountain

In the Big Rock Candy Mountain,
It's a land that's fair and bright,
The handouts grow on bushes
And you sleep out every night.
The boxcars all are empty
And the sun shines every day
I'm bound to go where there ain't no snow
Where the sleet don't fall and the winds don't blow
In the Big Rock Candy Mountain.

In the Big Rock Candy Mountain
You never change your socks
And little streams of alky-hol
Come trickling down the rocks
O the shacks all have to tip their hats
And the railway bulls are blind
There's a lake of stew and gingerale too
And you can paddle all around it in a big canoe
In the Big Rock Candy Mountain

In the Big Rock Candy Mountain
The cops have wooden legs
The bulldogs all have rubber teeth
And the hens lay soft-boiled eggs
The box-cars all are empty
And the sun shines every day
I'm bound to go where there ain't no snow
Where the sleet don't fall and the winds don't blow
In the Big Rock Candy Mountain.

In the Big Rock Candy Mountain
The jails are made of tin
You can slip right out again
As soon as they put you in
There ain't no short-handled shovels
No axes, saws nor picks
I'm bound to stay where you sleep all day
Where they hung the jerk that invented work
In the Big Rock Candy Mountain

@hobo
filename[ BIGROCK2
TUNE FILE: BIGROCK
CLICK TO PLAY
RG

Popup Midi Player




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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BIG ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Apr 98 - 02:45 PM

Here's a sanitized version of the song that I found in a pretty good collection of children's songs.

The Big Rock Candy Mountain
(Hobo Ballad)

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
There's a land that's fair and bright
Where the handouts grow on bushes
And you sleep out ev'ry night
Where the boxcars are all empty
And the sun shines ev'ry day
Oh, I'm bound to go where there ain't no snow
Where the rain don't fall and the wind don't blow
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

Oh, the buzzin' of the bees in the peppermint trees
'Round the soda water fountains
Where the lemonade springs and the bluebird sings
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
You never change your socks
And little streams of lemonade
Come a-tricklin' down the rocks
The hobos there are friendly
And their fires all burn bright
There's a lake of stew and soda, too
You can paddle all around 'em in a big canoe
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

Oh, the buzzin' of the bees in the peppermint trees
'Round the soda water fountains
Where the lemonade springs and the bluebird sings
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains


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Subject: Lyr Add: BIG ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN (Burl Ives versn)
From: Frank Maher
Date: 01 Apr 98 - 03:20 PM

Hi, Denver,
I just happen to have that by Burl Ives on a 78-rpm record. Here are the words:

CHORUS: Oh, the buzzin' of the bees and the cigarette trees,
The soda-water fountain,
Where the lemonade springs and the bluebird sings,
In the Big Rock Candy Mountain.

On a summer's day, the month of May,
A burly bum come a-hikin'
Down a shady lane near the sugar cane.
He was lookin' for his likin'.
As he strolled along, he sung a song
Of a land of milk and honey,
Where a bum can stay for many a day
And he won't need any money.

In the Big Rock Candy Mountain,
The cops have wooden legs.
The bulldogs all have rubber teeth,
The hens lay soft-boiled eggs.
The farmers' trees are full of fruit.
The barns are full of hay.
I want to go where there ain't no snow,
Where the sleet don't fall and the wind don't blow,
In that Big Candy Mountain.


That's it!


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: Gene
Date: 01 Apr 98 - 03:58 PM

BRC isn't on BI's LWD & OCF album: little white duck; the little engine that could; mr. froggie went a courtin'; the donut song; two little owls; fooba wooba john; the grey goose; the whale; buckeye jim; the sow took the measles; the goat; mr. rabbit; the tailor and the mouse; and mother goose songs.


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Subject: Orig: Big Rock Candy Mountain
From: Bruce O.
Date: 01 Apr 98 - 04:06 PM

I've already misplaced a book I've only had for a few months, Hal Rammel's 'The Big Rock Candy Mountain, and other Utopias', at least that's the way I remember the title (it's still available). He gives MacClintock's (original?) "Big Rock Candy Mountain", and many others. The rock candy mountain seems to be first found in a 17th century ballad "An Invitation to Lubberland" which is in Rammel's book and on my website, www.erols.com/olsonw , among other on Utopia in the songs file.


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: Art Thieme
Date: 03 Apr 98 - 09:48 PM

HARRY "HAYWIRE MAC" McCLINTOCK (the great), in an interview with SAM ESKIN, folklorist, on a wonderful Folkways LP, tells how and when he WROTE "Big Rock Candy Mountain". He sings the song on that recording but says that the original he'd first written was pretty "adult". He goes on to say (sadly) that some hobos used the story of the fantastic mountain to lure young boys onto the road with them to do work for them "among other things"!

As far as I know the original is lost! Thankfully!

Art


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: Sir Francis Hughes
Date: 04 Apr 98 - 07:13 PM

A great American song, sung beautifully by a true American patriot...


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 04 Apr 98 - 08:48 PM

Art- Don't be prematurely thankful. The "punker" version of Big Rock Candy Mountain has been found, and will be included in the next DT update--about the end of this month.


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: Art Thieme
Date: 05 Apr 98 - 01:55 AM

Burl Ives was a great singer of American folk songs BUT some would differ strongly with your positive take on his patriotism.


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: Jon W.
Date: 07 Apr 98 - 11:57 AM

In case anyone's interested, the last time I drove by the Big Rock Candy Mountain resort, located in south-central Utah, USA, was closed down and for sale. There is an unusual geologic feature there on the mountainside. I'm not sure which came first, the song or the name of the mountain, but I would guess the song.


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: Bruce O.
Date: 14 Apr 98 - 02:22 PM

Amazing what a little houscleaning will turn up. I may try it again sometime.
Hal Rammel's book is 'Nowhere in America: The Big Rock Candy Mountain and Other Comic Utopias', University of Illinois Press, 1990. MacClintock's version of "The Big Rock Candy Mountain" from 'The Hoboes Hornbook', 1930, is on p. 26. There are many other songs of comic utopias book.


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Apr 98 - 02:33 PM

I'm still wondering - did Burl Ives ever record a children's version of this song, or did he only do the "cigarette trees" version?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: Bill D
Date: 14 Apr 98 - 02:49 PM

Joe...none of my sources reflect any 'scrubbed' version...remember, there was not nearly as much awareness of the cigarette issue...or the whisky issue when he was recording


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: Bruce O.
Date: 14 Apr 98 - 03:31 PM

Bill D., I saw that you had a copy of 'The Hoboe's Hornbook' last year at the folk weekend, if I remember correctly, but I didn't get a chance to look at it. Is it the original ed., or was there more than 1 ed?


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Subject: Lyr Add: AN INVITATION TO LUBBERLAND...
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Apr 98 - 04:33 PM

Bruce, I went to your Web page had a hard time finding the "Lubberland" song you referred to. I hope you don't mind that I'm taking the liberty of posting it here. I think it's something people ought to see.
-Joe Offer-

An Invitation to Lubberland
with
An Account of the great Plenty of that Fruitful Country

There is all sorts of Fowl and Fish,
With Wine and store of Brandy;
Ye have there what your hearts can wish:
The Hills are Sugar-Candy

To the tune of: Billy and Molly [lost] or, The Journey-man Shoemaker [Daniel Cooper].
This may be Printed: R[ichard]. P[ocock]. [1685-1688]

There is a ship, we understand,
Now riding in the river;
'Tis newly come from Lubberland, [Rumbelo?]
The like I think was never;
You that a lazy life do love.
I'd have you now go over,
They say the land is not above
Two thousand leagues from Dover.

The captain and the master too,
Do's give us this relation,
And so do's all the whole ship's crew,
Concerning this strange nation:
"The streets are pav'd eith pudding-pies,
nay, powder'd-beef and bacon,
They say they scorn to tell you lies:'
Who thinks it is mistaken.

The king of Knaves, and Queen of Sluts
Reign there in peace and quiet;
You need not fear to starve your guts,
There is such store of dyet:
There may you live free from all care,
Like hogs set up a fat'ning;
The garments which the people wear
Is silver, silk and satin.

The lofty buildings of this place
For many years have lasted;
With nutmegs, pepper, cloves, and mace,
The walls are there rough-casted,
In curious hasty-pudding boil'd,
And most ingenious carving;
Likewise they are with pancakes ty'd,
Sure, here's no fear of starving.

The captain says, "In every town,
Hot roasted pigs will meet ye,
They in the streets run up and down,
Still crying out, Come eat me"
Likewise, he says, "At every feast,
The very fowls and fishes,
Nay from the biggest to the least,
Comes tumbling to the dishes.

"The rivers run with claret fine,
The brooks with rich canary,
The ponds with other sorts of wine,
To make your hearts full merry:
Nay, more than this, you may behold,
The fountains flow with brandy,
The rocks are like refined gold,
The hills are sugar candy.

"Rose-water is the rain they have,
Which comes in pleasant showers,
All places are adorned brave,
With sweet and fragrant flowers.
Hot custards grows on ev'ry tree,
Each ditch affords rich jellies;
Now if you will be ruled by me,
Go ther and fill your bellies.

"There's nothing there but holy-days
With music out of measure;
Who can forbear to speak the praise
Of such a land of pleasure?
There may you lead a lazy life
Free from all kind of labours:
And he that is without a wife,
May borrow of his neighbour.

"There is no law nor lawyer's fees
All men are free from fury,
For ev'ry one do's what he please,
Without a judge or jury:
The summer-time is warm they say,
The winter's ne'er the colder,
They have no landlords' rent to pay
Each man is a free-holder."

You that are free to cross the seas
Make no more disputation:
In Lubber-land you'll live at ease,
With pleasant recreation:
The Captain waits but for a gale
Of prosperous wind and weather,
And then they soon will hoist up sail,
Make haste saway together.



Printed for J. Deacon, at the Angel in Gilt-spur-street [1685-1701]
Play: DANLCPR

Here we have direct imitation from the middle-English "The Land of Cokaygne".

Fur in see bi west Spaynge [Spain
Is a lond ihote Cokaygne [called
Ther nis lond under hevenriche
Of wel, of godnis, hit iliche [like it
Thogh Paradis be miri and bright
Cokaygne is of fairir sight.
..
...
The gees irostid on the spitte [geese roasted
Fless to the abbai, God hit wot [fly
And gredith, "Gees, al hote, al hot!" [cry out
..
That ye mote that lond ise [might .. see
And nevermore turne aye,
Prey we God so mote hit be [might it
Ame, pur seint charite.

This is obviously the original from which "The Big Rock Candy Mountain" draws. Similar is "Oleanna".


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: Bruce O.
Date: 15 Apr 98 - 12:38 PM

Titles are often difficult to remember exactly. After a few misses I usually go to the FIND command on my browser and look for a keyword or two, as much as I'm sure I remember and can spell correctly.


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: GUEST,ncsand
Date: 21 Jan 00 - 04:14 PM

Does anybody have the Big Rock Candy Mountain lyrics as sung by Tex Ritter in "Songs for Children"


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Subject: More Big Rock Candy Mountain
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 31 Oct 01 - 05:17 PM

Here is an additional verse to The Big Rock Candy Mountain, which I _THINK_ I got from THE PEOPLE'S SONGBOOK.

Last verse:

Jack rolled his eyes up to the skies
And he said to the bum, named Sandy,
"I'm weary, I'm starved, I want a steak to carve,
Where is that gol-durn candy?
I'll hike no more, for my feet are sore,
I'll never reach that fountain!
I wanna be a home guard, with a union card
In the Big Rock Candy Mountain!"

Usual chorus.

DRO Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: More Big Rock Candy Mountain
From: Joe_F
Date: 31 Oct 01 - 06:16 PM

Alan Lomax, in _The Folk Songs of North America_, quotes from McClintock's original version:

The punk rolled up his big blue eyes
And said to the jocker, `Sandy,
I've hiked and hiked and wandered, too,
But I an'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.

The dash is Lomax's; your guess is as good as mine.


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: harpgirl
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 06:29 PM

pete and repeat


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: Deckman
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 06:01 PM

Harpgirl ... Thanx for bringing up this thread again. I've been avoiding mudcat lately because of the jerks. I woke up this morning, certain that I knew everything. Now after reading the earlier utopian songs, I realize I've still a lot to learn. And I do now begin to understand the references made to a more 'earthy' version of Big Rock Candy Mountain that surfaced on the thread I started regarding Haywire Mac. CHEERS, Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 06:24 PM

    Hal Rammel's book is 'Nowhere in America: The Big Rock Candy Mountain and Other Comic Utopias', University of Illinois Press, 1990. MacClintock's version of "The Big Rock Candy Mountain" from 'The Hoboes Hornbook', 1930, is on p. 26.

A couple of years ago I listened to that album with the McClintock interview about Big Rock Candy Mountain, and was disappointed that he didn't sing his original version. But do I understand correctly that the book Bruce mentioned above has the adult version of the song mentioned in the interview? Or does it have the version sung by MacClintock on the interview album?

That song was one that my father sang when I was a child, but it was never sung to us as if it were a children's song. I would argue that it isn't a "utopian" world but more some kind of nirvana or beulah land. Utopian is more social and political. Or did MacClintock's original version come laced with enough irony or social commentary to fit into a political context?

SRS


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 06:43 PM

Are Lubberland and Big Rock Candy Mountain similarly inspired but independent of each other? I think it likely. Did McClintock (if he was realy the author) know about Lubberland?


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: harpgirl
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 10:53 PM

...my favorite version of this song is the one John Hartford does on "Down From The Mountain", Deckman. He puts it into a beat and tempo I like better than the Burl Ives version.

hg


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: Deckman
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 11:28 PM

Thanks harpgirl. I'll see if I can find and hear John Harford's version. CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: Gypsy
Date: 16 Feb 02 - 11:19 PM

Hey Deckman, welcome back. Piece of trivia....there is a Big Rock Candy road in WA named in honor of Burl Ives. Same town as Simpson Door co.


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: Deckman
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 05:09 AM

I know there is. I drive by it on my way to Westport. I've always wondered about it. Thanx. Bob


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: Art Thieme
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 01:53 AM

As I heard it, John Hartford didn't know the song at all but was asked / told to do the song for the movie. Half of his final product was improvised---including the tempo and melody---maybe the words too on occasion. He was just too ill to put much effort into it.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: GUEST,harpgirl
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 09:28 AM

Hi Art, John mentions on the "Down From The Mountain" video that he got the words faxed to him and he couldn't read them all. He also read them while he was singing but he did change the beat and tempo to suit his style and I liked it. He really did look very ill on the video though. The first time I watched it I was very upset, but in subsequent viewings I could see he was happy and surprisingly bouyant throughout the video.


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: Art Thieme
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 06:06 PM

Abby, you can be my guest any time.

Art


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: Mark Ross
Date: 08 Apr 02 - 01:23 PM

The adult version BRCM can be found in Greenways' AMERICAN FOLK SONGS OF PROTEST. Of course the last line was considered to be unprintable, so it's in asterisks**********************************************

MArk Ross


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: GUEST,Billy
Date: 08 Apr 02 - 11:52 PM

John W described the "Big Rock Candy Mountain" in Utah. I have seen it (on US70 east of US15). The peak looks like a large piece of rock candy with the cream and orange swirls. I swear I wasn't smoking anything at the time.


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: masato sakurai
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 12:16 AM

Photos of Big Rock Candy Mountain, southern Utah (Click HERE and HERE).

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: GUEST,Billy
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 12:30 AM

Masato, that doesn't show the weird top of the mountain


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: GUEST,weed
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 06:15 AM

Big Cock Randy Mountain, what?


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BIG ROCK CANDY MOUNTAINS
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 09:34 AM

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?"

REFRAIN:
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-


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: Bennet Zurofsky
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 04:45 PM

I expect the asteriks are best filled by the phrase "buggered sore" so that it would be sung:

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 "buggered sore," In the Big Rock Candy Mountains."

It might, of course also rsing well as "To be a hobo's whore."

"Haywire Mac," although he eventually had some commercial success as a singer/songwriter, was certainly political in his approach. He viewed himself as a Wobbly and contributed to "The Little Red Songbook." All political readings of his work are generally best viewed as intentional.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE SUGAR-PLUM TREE (Eugene Field)
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 05:25 PM

All this nonsense about who wrote "Big Rock Candy Mountain." Anyone with any literary knowledge (He, he, he!) knows that that song and its variants is a parody of the children's poem by Eugene Field (1850-1895).

lyr: Add: THE SUGAR-PLUM TREE

Have you ever heard of the sugar-plum tree?
'Tis a marvel of great renown!
It blooms on the shore of the Lollypop Sea
In the garden of Shut-eye Town;
The fruit that it bears is so wondrously sweet
(As those who have tasted it say)
That good little children have only to eat
Of that fruit to be happy next day.

When you've got to the tree, you would have a hard time
To capture the fruit which I sing;
The tree is so tall that no person could climb
To the boughs where the sugsr-plums swing!
But up in that tree sits a chocolate cat,
And a gingerbread dog prowls below--
And this is the way you contrive to get at
Those sugar-plums tempting you so:

You say but the word to that gingerbread dog
And he barks with such terrible zest
that the chocolate cat is at once all agog,
As her swelling proportions attest,
And the chocolate cat goes cavorting around
From this leafy limb unto that,
And the sugar-plums tumble, of course, to the ground--
Hurrah for that chocolate cat!

There are marshmallows, gumdrops, and peppermint canes
With stripings of scarlet or gold,
And you carry away of the treasure that rains
As much as your apron can hold!
So come, little child, cuddle closer to me
In your dainty white nightcap and gown,
And I'll rock you away to that Sugar-plum Tree
In the garden of Shut-eye Town.

@children @fantasy

(As Joe says- "recruiting kids"- The twisted hobo entices the child with fantastic stories of candy and then "cuddles" with the unsuspecting child "in your dainty white nightcap and gown.")


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 10 Apr 02 - 10:50 AM

Bennet, I think your suggestions are a few syllables too short to fill the bill. But then, "To be buggered sore like a hobo's whore" might work. Thanks.

I'd still like to see more suggestions.


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: Bennet Zurofsky
Date: 11 Apr 02 - 09:53 PM

You and I must phrase that line differently, but I enjoyed your modification.

-Bennet


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: GUEST,louis@i-2000.com
Date: 23 May 02 - 10:22 AM

To anyone who really knows:

I'm not interested in who wrote words to the song The Big Rock Candy Mountains. What I want to know is who wrote the music - the melody! Where did the melody come from? Help!


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: Mark Ross
Date: 23 May 02 - 12:01 PM

The melody WAS written by Haywire Mac! He was a teenager riding the rails in the 1890's. Those last words in asterisks "to be fucked in the ass like a goddamn whore in the Big Rock Candy Mt!"

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: toadfrog
Date: 06 Sep 02 - 11:06 PM

This is what Wallace Stegner has to say, discussing his novel, The Preacher and the Slave

"later, while I was working on the novel, I discovered Mac McClintock, who wrote 'The Bum Song,' 'Hallelujia, I'm a Bum,' and others. He said he wrote "The Big Rock Candy Mountain," too, and Victor at least paid him royalties as author. Actually, I think "The Big Rock Candy Mountain" was written by T-Bone Slim, or some other nameless balladeer, a long time before McClintock came along. He may have added two or three verses. In any case, he recorded all those for the first time, and McClintock had an even closer connection to the Joe Hill legend. He sang Joe Hill's 'Pie in the Sky' song on Burnside Street in Portland, reading it off an envelope or laundry tag Joe Hill had handed him. That was the first time 'Pie in the Sky' was sung on the street...."

Conversations with Wallace Stegner (University of Utah Press, 1990),p. 70.


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 07 Sep 02 - 02:07 AM

we saw a sign to Rock Candy Mountain somewhere near Raymond or Elma, Washington, USA. .anyone know if this is named after the song or vise versa?

mg


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 07 Sep 02 - 11:39 AM

I'd bet heavy money that the mountain was an echo, so to speak, named from the song.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: Deckman
Date: 07 Sep 02 - 05:06 PM

Hi Mary ... I'm down that way often as my brother lives in Westport. I'll see what I can find out. CHEERS, Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BIG ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN (McClintock)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 01:25 PM

Although the version in the DT is attributed to McClintock, it doesn't match McClintock's recording. Here's an exact transcription:


THE BIG ROCK CANDY MOUNTAINS
As recorded by Harry McClintock ("Haywire Mac"), 1928.

One evening as the sun went down and the jungle fire was burning,
Down the track came a hobo hikin' and he said, "Boys, I'm not turning.
I'm headed for a land that's far away beside the crystal fountains,
So come with me. We'll go and see the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

"In the Big Rock Candy Mountains, there's a land that's fair and bright,
Where the handouts grow on bushes and you sleep out ev'ry night,
Where the boxcars all are empty and the sun shines ev'ry day
On the birds and the bees in the cigarette trees,
The lemonade springs where the bluebird sings,
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

"In the Big Rock Candy Mountains, all the cops have wooden legs,
And the bulldogs all have rubber teeth, and the hens lay soft-boiled eggs.
The farmers' trees are full of fruit, and the barns are full of hay.
Oh, I'm bound to go where there ain't no snow,
Where the rain don't fall, the wind don't blow,
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

"In the Big Rock Candy Mountains, you never change your socks,
And the little streams of alcohol come a-trickling down the rocks.
The brakemen have to tip their hats and the railroad bulls are blind.
There's a lake of stew, and of whiskey, too.
You can paddle all around 'em in a big canoe
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

"In the Big Rock Candy Mountains, the jails are made of tin
And you can walk right out again as soon as you are in.
There ain't no short-handled shovels, no axes, saws, or picks.
I'm a-goin' to stay where you sleep all day,
Where they hung the jerk that invented work,
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

(Whistle)
"I'll see you all this comin' fall
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Rock Candy Mountain
From: Louie Roy
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 02:07 PM

Jim,I have a recording taken off of a 1907 Edison record with Mac singing it and it matches your words perfectly.I don't know whether some on else wrote the words and the music or if Mac did but I know that he is the first person to put it on a record.Louie Roy


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Rock Candy Mountain
From: Mrrzy
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 08:48 PM

Once again, I have another version, not too different, and once again, it's by Ed McCurdy. Seems to have pieces of several of the above.

BIG ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN
On a summer's day, in the month of May, a burly bum come hikin
Down a shady lane, through the sugar cane, he was lookin for his likin
As he roamed along he sang a song of the land of milk and honey
Where a bum can stay for many a day and he won't need any money-O
Cho:
The buzzin of the bees in the cigarette trees, the soda water fountain
And the lemonade springs where the bluebird sings
On that Big Rock Candy Mountain.
Well, the farmer and the son they were on the run
To the hayfields they were bound in
Said the bum to the son, Why don't you come
To that Big Rock Candy Mountain
So the very next day they hiked away, the mileposts they kept countin
But they never arrived at the lemonade tide
Or that Big Rock Candy Mountain-O
Cho

I used to sing this He Was Looking For His Lichen - little naturalist that I was.
We also have the Burl Ives version with the cops having wooden legs.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Rock Candy Mountain
From: Stewie
Date: 20 Nov 05 - 09:27 PM

Meade et alia 'Country Music Sources' give [p 311]: 'Marshall P. Locke, w&m, Charles Tyner, m, 1906'.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Rock Candy Mountain
From: GUEST,Lighter at work
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 08:38 AM

Are discographic details available for that 1907 recording ? It would undoubtedly be the earliest.

Are the text and tune of Locke & Tyner 1906 available anywhere ?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Rock Candy Mountain
From: GUEST,Lighter at work
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 08:42 AM

The Levy Collection offers these details of still another version, but the sheet music image seems not to be working right now:

Title: That Big Rock-Candy Mountain.
Composer, Lyricist, Arranger: by Bill Mack.
Publication: New York: Denton & Haskins Music Pub. Co., 1595 Broadway, 1928.
Instrumentation: piano and voice; ukulele
Form of Composition: strophic with chorus
First Line: A jungle by the railroad track, where a bunch of bums were "gabbing"
First Line of Chorus: Big rock candy mountain, where the weather's always clear
Engraver, Lithographer, Artist: E. Pfeiffer, N.Y.
Advertisement: ads on back cover for Denton & Haskins Music Pub. Co. stock
Subject: Caricatures
Subject: Whistling
Subject: Dogs
Subject: Pets
Subject: Boys
Subject: Dreaming
Subject: Dialects
Call No.: Box: 157 Item: 035a


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Rock Candy Mountain
From: GUEST,Lighter at work
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 12:30 PM

This site affirms that the mountain in Utah was named for the song :

http://www.americanprofile.com/issues/20021201/20021201_2631.asp


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Subject: RE: Origins: little bitty tears
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Nov 05 - 11:55 PM


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Rock Candy Mountain
From: Mr Happy
Date: 18 Jan 06 - 09:23 PM

Tonite at Mr Happy's Asylum, Mr Happy performed his half remembered (& complemented by fiends] version, thus:


THE BIG ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN


On a summer's day in the month of May
A Billy Boy came hikin'
Down a shady lane near the sugar cane
He was lookin' for his likin'
As he strolled along he sang a song
Of a land of milk and honey
Where a bum can stay for many a day
And he don't need any money

In the Big Rock Candy Mountain,
It's a land that's fair and bright,
The handouts grow on bushes
And you sleep out every night.
The boxcars all are empty
And the sun shines every day
I'm bound to go where there ain't no snow
Where the sleet don't fall and the winds don't blow
In the Big Rock Candy Mountain.

In the Big Rock Candy Mountain
You neednft never ever change your socks
And the little streams of alcohol
Come a-trickling down the rocks
Oh the shacks all have to tip their hats
And the railway bulls are blind
There's a lake of stew and whisky too
And you can paddle along in your own canoe
In the Big Rock Candy Mountain


In the Big Rock Candy Mountain
All the cops have wooden legs
The bulldogs all have rubber teeth
And the hens lay soft-boiled eggs
The box-cars all are empty
And the sun shines every day
I'm bound to go where there ain't no snow
Where the rain don't fall and the winds don't blow
In the Big Rock Candy Mountain.

In the Big Rock Candy Mountain
The jails are made of tin
You can slip right out again
As soon as youfre put in
There ain't no short-handled shovels
No axes, saws or picks
I'm bound to stay where you sleep all day
Where they hung the jerk that invented work
In the Big Rock Candy Mountain


*********

Each verse interspersed with the chorus:

Oh, the buzzing of the bees in the cigarette trees,
fNeath the soda water fountain
And the lemonade springs where the bluebird sings
In the Big Rock Candy Mountain


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Subject: RE: Big Rock Candy Mountain--Burle Ives' version
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Jun 07 - 10:55 PM

The song taken from Bruce O's old website, "An Invitation to Lubberland," appears in John Masefield, 1906, "A Sailor's Garland," as "Ho, for Lubberland!"
A few words are different, but otherwise the same as posted by Joe.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Big Rock Candy Mountain (from Burl Ives)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 09:20 AM

In my transcription above of Harry McClintock's recording of THE BIG ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN, I wrote:

"Where they hung the jerk that invented work"

And indeed that's what I thought it was, and that's the way I think I've heard it sung by others, but on listening carefully to his recording again, I am now convinced that he actually sings:

"Where they hung the Turk that invented work."

I found several quotes or transcriptions in books that report it the same way ("Turk"), the oldest going back to 1941, whereas the quotes containing "jerk", although more numerous, only go back to 1968.

I'm not sure what happened here. Did we all start hearing (and preferring) "jerk" after "jerk" became a trendy slang word for "a contemptibly obnoxious person"? Was the word "jerk" with that meaning even in circulation in 1928? Or was "jerk" in circulation but considered too risqué for use in the media? (I understand it derives from "jerk-off", which was once a powerfully offensive term of abuse.) Did McClintock consciously substitute "Turk" for "jerk" (to keep the rhyme, as well as respectability) when he recorded the song? Were we meant to hear "Turk" but understand "jerk"?


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BIG ROCK CANDY MOUNTAINS (Soundie)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 10:39 AM

YouTube has a "Soundie" version of McClintock's song, from 1942. (Soundies were early film analogues of music "videos." There were once machines like juke boxes that played these films in bars.) There's a jazzy orchestral arrangement, with an interlude of boogie-woogie piano, but no guitar is seen or heard. I believe that's really McClintock singing and acting. The words are changed, and scenery added, to emphasize lust instead of gluttony. This version has some historical interest, being reflective of its time perhaps, but it doesn't make me want to sing it:


THE BIG ROCK CANDY MOUNTAINS
As sung by Harry McClintock in a 1942 Soundie.

One evening as the sun went down and the jungle fire was burning,
Down the track came a hobo hikin', and he said: "Boys I'm not turning.
I'm headed for a land that's far away beside the crystal fountains.
So come with me; we'll go and see the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

"In the big Rock Candy Mountains, the living there is swell,
Why, Ziegfeld never met such gals; in the mountains there they dwell.
Why, they make your life a pleasure; they are at your beck and call,
Where you sing and play and the grub they pay,
That's the life for me, where the drinkin' is free,
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

"In the Big Rock Candy Mountains, you lead a life of ease.
Why, the place is full of cuties who always strive to please.
You never do no walkin'; you ride in rollin' chairs,
Where the champagne pump throws its spray,
And you make hey-hey all the livelong day,
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Big Rock Candy Mountain (from Burl Ives)
From: Lighter
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 11:25 AM

"Turk" appears in the Oxford English Dictionary from at least 1699 as a synonym for "any cruel hard-hearted man" (as defined at that time).

It also appears in the chantey "Leave Her, Johnny":

"The mate was a bucko and the old man was a Turk."

As for "jerk," my NYC grandfather (born in the 1880s) used it all the time. Presumably it is from "jerk-off," but to people unfamiliar with that term (and there are lots of them), it would seem quite innocent.

My subjective feeling, however, is that McClintock meant "Turk," just as he sang it.


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Subject: Origins: Big Rock Candy Mountain
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Jan 20 - 03:29 AM

There's an interesting discussion of the authorship of "Big Rock Candy Mountain" on this page about Marshall Locke: An excerpt:
    Other songs followed, on up until at least 1925, when Locke was 68. But in following the chronology of Locke’s career I have skipped over the work for which he is known in music circles to this day, even though he surely did not write it from “out of his head.” That song is “The Big Rock Candy Mountains,” well known to fans of Burl Ives and Pete Seeger. The song may have been published in the late 1890s by Harry McClintock (a.k.a. “Haywire Mac”), as he claimed, but in 1906 Marshall Locke and Charles Tyner set it down on paper and secured the copyright, publishing it via the Rock Candy Music Company of Indianapolis. (The Harry McClintock rendition of 1928, the song’s first recording, was included in the soundtrack for the 2000 film O Brother, Where Art Thou?)
    In truth, “The Big Rock Candy Mountains” was written on the wind. Like baseball, it has no lone genius as its creator. A ballad called “The Dying Hobo” was published in 1895, before either Locke or McClintock set it down, but the song may be traced to English and Scottish folk ballads perhaps a hundred years earlier.


The 1935 Catalog of Copyright Entries shows that Charles Tyner and Marshall P. Locke entered a copyright for "The Big Rock Candy Mountains" on November 30, 1934.


Also take a look at Nowhere in America: The Big Rock Candy Mountain and Other Comic Utopias, by Hal Rammel (the cheapest copy I could find was over $100, so I declined). An excerpt:
    ...he remains best known for his hobo songs. Haywire Mac's "The Big Rock Candy Mountain" became so familiar during the early 1900s (and had been published several times in sheet music form) that he had difficulty establishing his claim of authorship in 1928. In fact, the song had already been copyrighted in 1906 by Marshall Locke and Charles Tyner. Fortunately, McClintock had printed the lyrics of his song on postcards in 1905 and, after he asked radio show listeners to send him these cards, he successfully received copyrights to both "Big Rock Candy Mountain" and "Hallelujah! I'm a Bum." Assessing the question of Mac's contributions to hobo lore, Norm Cohen writes:
      Mac claimed authorship of three of his most popular recordings: "The Big Rock Candy Mountain," "The Bum Song," and "Hallelujah! I'm a Bum." Authorship of all of these has been disputed; if he didn't compose them in entirety, he certainly rewrote them, and was largely responsible for their great popularity through his records, his radio shows, and his sheet music versions. Considering McClintock's considerable skills as a writer, as demonstrated in his prose works, I see no little reason to doubt that his rode in creating these three songs was considerable—granting that there may have been traditional fragments from which he worked.
      Norm Cohen: Traditional Anglo-American Folk Music: An Annotated Discography
Here's that 1928 Haywire Mac recording of "The Big Rock Candy Mountains":


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Subject: ADD: A Hobo Poet (1895)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Jan 20 - 04:57 AM

The influence of spring is not lost on the hobo. It even moves him to poetry. The other day the following lines were found in a cell at the city prison that had just been vacated by some tramps. It is entitled, “The Dying Hobo”:

It was at a Western water-tank,
One cold November day;
Within an empty box-car
A dying hobo lay.
His partner stood beside him,
With sad eyes and drooping head,
And patiently he listened
As his dying comrade said:

“I am going,” said the hobo,
To a land that’s fair and bright—
Where the weather’s always warm enough
To sleep outdoors at night;
Where handouts grow on bushes,
And folks ne’er comb their locks,
And littLe streams of alcohol
Are running down the rocks.

“Go, tell my Front-street sweetheart,
When next her face you view,
That I’ve caught the Great Eternal Freight—
I’m going to ride it through.
Go tell her not to weep for me—
No tears in her eyes to lurk—
For I’m going to a country fair,
Where no man has to work.

“Hark! I bear the engine’s whistle!
I must catch her on the fly!
Oh, heaven bless you, dear old pard—
It is so hard to die!”
He bowed his head; he dropped his eyes,
And he never spoke again;
His partner left and jumped the beam
Of an eastbound tourist train

https://miro.medium.com/max/455/1*avIEUkSiWTAikVuiCHOBoA.jpeg

“A Hobo Poet,” Sacramento Daily Record-Union, May 9, 1895


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Big Rock Candy Mountain(s)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Jan 20 - 05:00 AM

Another interesting piece of research that warrants study:


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Big Rock Candy Mountain(s)
From: Lighter
Date: 29 Jan 20 - 09:51 AM

See also my 2018 posts at the "Dying Hobo" thread.

I posted the following to the Ballad List some years ago:

1871 _Morning Telegraph_[NYC)] (Aug. 27) 5: The Geysers of California - Boiling, Alum, Sulphur, Ink, and Lemonade Springs . ...Another curious spring is the "Acid," used in treating skin diseases, and which, when sweetened, makes a drinkable lemonade.

1889 _Hutchinson [Kans.] Daily News_ (Oct. 2) 6: New York, Sept. 30. . . . In the vernacular well known among young toughs, High Bridge told his story to a reporter. He said that New York Red had induced young [13-year-old] Morgan to accompany him as a tramp by visionary tales of rock candy mines and lemonade springs. The three set out on foot toward New Haven and walked to Larchmont, where they managed to steal a ride as far as Rye on the front platform of a passenger train.

1896 _Plainfield [Ind.] Reformatory_...Published Weekly at the Plainfield Reformatory for Boys. ...(May 9): I know a young man to-day who went west armed to the teeth to seek his fortune, and to look up the Rockcandy mountains, the Lemonade springs, the Cigarette valley, and a few more such places he had heard of, and he found that it was a failure in the end, and there was no place like home after his trouble.

1899 _Philadelphia Inquirer_ (July 28) 8 [newsboys conversing]: "Where do you think youse'll go when you take a day off? ...I guess I'll go to the Lemonade Springs." ..."Lemonade Springs? Where's them?" "Oh, in the Rock Candy Mountains." ...And the question that is puzzling [my] mind is whether that boy simply picked that phrase up or whether he imagined it and is a poet in embryo.


My surmise for now is that the "Lemonade Springs" of California suggested that the Rockies were actually "Rock Candy" mountains. Still looking for the Cigarette Valley though.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Big Rock Candy Mountain(s)
From: Joe_F
Date: 29 Jan 20 - 05:54 PM

Well, we need no longer guess (see my post upthread). The line suppressed by the Lomaxes is "To be buggered sore like a hobo's whore". The damnedest loose ends will get tied up if you wait long enough.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Big Rock Candy Mountain(s)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Jan 20 - 06:24 PM

Jim caught it in his transcription of the 1928 recording - McClintock whistles the "forbidden words."

"To be buggered sore like a hobo's whore" fits the space of the missing words, but do we have any documentation of what it really is?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Big Rock Candy Mountain(s)
From: Joe_F
Date: 30 Jan 20 - 06:33 PM

It's in the "interesting piece of research" linked to by Joe Offer above.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Big Rock Candy Mountain(s)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Jan 20 - 11:10 PM

Hi, Joe - yes, the interesting piece of research has it, but does not give its source.

Another excerpt: BIG ROCK  In Hollywood on September 6, 1928, he recorded his most famous song ‘The Big Rock Candy Mountains.’ Postcards with the printed lyrics show that he had composed the song about 1906 by cleaning up an older bawdy song sung by hobos. The original song was about hoboes molesting children along the railroad and in the hobo jungles. The bawdy original has not survived but the words of the last stanza were

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
And I’ll be damned if I hike any more
To be buggered sore like a hobo’s whore
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.”

One stanza was lifted from an old song called ‘The Dying Hobo.’


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Big Rock Candy Mountain(s)
From: GUEST,The Neb
Date: 07 Sep 20 - 07:17 PM

I believe they hung the *Turk* who invented work, not the jerk (though he may have been that too).


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Big Rock Candy Mountain(s)
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 08 Sep 20 - 07:25 AM

Mark Radcliffe played Harry “Haywire Mac” McClintock singing Big Rock Candy Mountain on the Folk Show just last week.

Haywire Mac McClintock also claimed to be the first person to perform The Preacher and the Slave written by Joe Hill, also known as Pie in the Sky, to the tune of In the Sweet By-and-by. He said in an interview with Sam Eskin, recorded in 1951, "You know the ‘Long-haired Preacher Song? Everybody knows that. I had the honor of singing that for the first time in public. Joe brought it in and turned it over to the Secretary of the Portland local of the IWW. He got out a leaflet on it. I think we sold, at the second street meeting — the first street meeting we weren’t prepared, we didn’t have it printed — but the second street meeting we sold over $30 worth of them at a dime a throw or whatever they wanted to contribute."


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Big Rock Candy Mountain(s)
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 08 Sep 20 - 05:32 PM

I actually met Mac McClintock when I was a young man. I think the town he lived in was
El Segundo near Long Beach California. I believe that's where the Queen Mary is docked. I spent the afternoon with Mac. He told me that he was a railroad "boomer" meaning that he could hop any freight in the country and as a railroad worker not be hassled by the "bulls". He was a delightful person and I remember that we went after our visit to hear a Mexican Tipeca Band play at the local park.

My favorite line (having to do with jerk, Turk and work" was the one he sang,
"They boiled in oil the inventor of toil".

Mac was very popular in Chicago with his own radio show before I met him. He was fairly
along in years when I met him. He must have known Joe Hill and another interesting songwriter/publisher Bob Miller who wrote "Rich Man Poor Man" and had a hit with a country song called "There's a Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere".

I think Mac was like A.P. Carter who took old songs and rewrote them. After all, this is the "folk process" and.this is how a lot of variants get transmitted from their source. I think a folk song is like a rock in a stream which gets polished as the water runs over it. A song gets sung by so many that it has a unique quality to it. They call this "The communal theory of folk music".

"Preacher and the Slave" by Joe Hill is "In the Sweet Bye and Bye", an old hymn in the way that "Which Side Are You On" is an old hymn rewritten by Florence Reese based on "Lay the Lily Low". None of Woody Guthrie or Bob Dylan's melodies are completely original. You can trace their sources. But this is the "folk process". In a way, it's a definition of what a folk song is.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Big Rock Candy Mountain(s)
From: leeneia
Date: 09 Sep 20 - 12:26 PM

"He goes on to say (sadly) that some hobos used the story of the fantastic mountain to lure young boys onto the road with them to do work for them "among other things"!"

Good luck with that. I sang this song for my niece when she was six, and as soon as she heard the reference to cigarette trees, she jolted in surprise, and then it was obvious that she didn't believe a word of it. If the kids are on to you by age six....


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