Cisco Houston Web Site

The Songs He Sang

Big Rock Candy Mountain: Lyrics

As performed by Cisco Houston

Harry "Haywire Mac" McClintock

Appears on:
On a summer day
In the month of May
A burly bum came hiking
Down a shady lane
Through the sugar cane
He was looking for his liking
As he strolled along
He hummed 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
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
Oh the birds and the bees
And the cigarette trees
And the rockin-right springs
Where the bluebird sings
In the Big Rock Candy Mountain

In the Big Rock Candy Mountain
You never change your socks
And the little streams of alkyhol
Come a-trickling down the rocks
Where the brakemen have to tip their hats
And the railroad bulls are blind
There's the lakes of stew
And the whiskey too
You can paddle all round
In a big canoe
In the Big Rock Candy Mountain

In the Big Rock Candy Mountain,
The jails are made of tin
You can walk right out, boys
As soon as you walk in
There ain't no short-handled shovels
No axes, saws or picks
Oh, I'm going to stay
Where you sleep all day
Where they boiled in oil
The inventors of toil
In the Big Rock Candy Mountain

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

Oh come with me, and we'll go see
The Big Rock Candy Mountain

Of note:

Many years ago my mother sent me this version of the song taped from a New York City folk music radio program. The announcer disparaged the Burl Ives version, instead preferring this one, as getting closer to the seedy side of the song, which while not mentioned, certainly was implied to be sexual. Now maybe I'm just naive, but this song very clearly lists all the components of that hobo heaven, and the sexual favors of young boys is not only unmentioned, it is unimplied. There isn't even any discussion of any companions, other than the perfunctory "Come with me" at the end. Just the hobo alone with polite cops and bulls, cigarettes and whiskey aplenty, and time to sleep all day. To read about the real Candy Mountain, click Here.

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