The little streams of alcohol come trickling down the rocks…

Tonight was silly fun.

We had a church supper and talent show, and after a good, old-fashioned meal of baked beans and hot dogs and potato salad and blueberry pie and other delectable goodies, we had some goofy skits and singing. Pepperkat and I led a sing-a-long of “You Are My Sunshine,” and we goofed around with the “real” version of “The Big Rock Candy Mountains.”

As you can see by this Wikipedia article, the song has a history. I kept thinking that Shirley Temple did the kiddie version of the song, but it was actually Burl Ives.

One evening as the sun went down
And the jungle fires were burning,
Down the track came a hobo hiking,
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 every night.
Where the boxcars all are empty
And the sun shines every day
And the birds and the bees
And 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 winds 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 trickling down the rocks
The brakemen have to tip their hats
And the railway bulls are blind
There’s a lake of stew
And of whiskey too
You can paddle all around it
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 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 Mountains.

I’ll see you all
This coming fall
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

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6 Responses to The little streams of alcohol come trickling down the rocks…

  1. Linkmeister says:

    That’s an interesting history. I read the lyrics before I clicked the Wikipedia link, and the phrase “railroad bulls” clued me in that it was from a hobo’s perspective; glad to see I was right.

  2. Brian says:

    There’s an excellent cover of this version of the song on the “O Brother Where Art Thou?” soundtrack.

    I have that version as well as the Burl Ives version ripped to MP3 if you would like them. If you have not listened to the Burl Ives version for a long, long time, you might be surprised to learn that it’s not quite a bowdlerized as you think.

  3. Solonor says:

    We got the idea to do those songs from the Brother soundtrack. It gets played around here a LOT. 🙂

    I haven’t heard the Burl Ives version in forever. I heard a clip of it on when looking for versions of the song.

    I guess I’m not even thinking of the Burl Ives version, but of the one I heard when I was a little kid… where it goes:

    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

    And the little streams of alcohol are lemonade. And the “lake of stew and of whiskey too” is made into “stew and of soda too.”

  4. *** Dave says:

    My wife, coming from a long family history of involvement in Scouting (both Boy and Girl) gets endless delight when this tune comes up on the OBWT soundtrack, as it doesn’t much resemble the version she ever heard sung around the campfire …

  5. domino says:

    It’s funny. A mutual friend of ours that I once shared an apartment with and has red hair and played the slide trombone and lived on a real steep hill in high school (got it now?). ANYWAY, when we were roommates he was going through an atheistic phase (he may not have called it that, but that

  6. Ric The Schmuck says:

    Oh my, now that would be a thread to behold….

    The many religous phases of the red-headed trombone player on the hill….

    Come to think of it, I think this bloggy stuff would be right up his alley.

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