The Songs He Sang
Big Rock Candy Mountain: Lyrics
As performed by Cisco Houston
Harry "Haywire Mac" McClintockAppears 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
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.