Beans, Bacon, and Gravy

TITLE: Beans, Bacon, and Gravy
AUTHOR: unknown, although there were many claimants for authorship
EARLIEST DATE: 1931
CATEGORY: Public Domain, Authorship Debated
KEYWORDS: hardtimes, food. work
HISTORICAL REFERENCES: The Great Depression in the United States which started in 1930 and lasted a decade.

2_great_depressionPete Seeger writes in the liner notes to American Industrial Ballads that Beans, Bacon and Gravy “probably grew over the years being polished by any number of Depression-weary workers who could laugh the bitter laugh of irony—so often a man’s best friend when times are hard.” So, let’s have another mess of beans.

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Beans, Bacon, and Gravy

I was born long ago,
In eighteen ninety-four.
I’ve seen many a panic, I will own,
I’ve been hungry, I’ve been cold,
And now I’m growing old.
But the worst I’ve seen is nineteen thirty-one.

Oh, those  beans, bacon and gravy,
They almost drive me crazy,
I eat them I see them in my dreams.
When I wake up each morning
And another day is dawning,
I know I’ll have another mess of beans.

We congregate each morning
At the county barn at dawning,
And everyone is happy, so it seems.
But when our work is done
We file in one by one,
And thank the Lord for one more mess of beans.

Oh, those  beans, bacon and gravy,
They almost drive me crazy,
I eat them I see them in my dreams.
When I wake up each morning
And another day is dawning,
I know I’ll have another mess of beans.

We have Hooverized on butter,
For milk we’ve only water,
And I haven’t seen  a steak in many a day.
For cakes and pies and jellies
We substitute sow bellies,
For which we work the county road each day.

Oh, those  beans, bacon and gravy,
They almost drive me crazy,
I eat them I see them in my dreams.
When I wake up each morning
And another day is dawning,
I know I’ll have another mess of beans.

If there ever comes a time
When  I have more  than a dime,
They will have to put me under lock and key.
For I’ve been broke so long
I can only sing this song
Of the workers and their misery.

Oh, those  beans, bacon and gravy,
They almost drive me crazy,
I eat them I see them in my dreams.
When I wake up each morning
And another day is dawning,
I know I’ll have another mess of beans.

SOURCES:

  • Folk Song Index: A Comprehensive Guide to the Florence E. Brunnings Collection, Florence E. Brunnings, Garland Publishing, Inc., New York and London 1981—Amazon Books
  • Country Music Sources: A Biblio-Discography of Commercially Recorded Traditional Music, Guthrie T. Meade, Jr. with Dick Spottswood and Douglas S. Meade, Southern Folklife Collection, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries, NC 2002—Amazon Books

NOTICE: I’m not the best guitar player or vocalist, but no one loves these songs more than I do. The tune and lyrics are in the public domain unless otherwise noted. The recording © copyright 2013 by Stephen Griffith and may be used by permission of the copyright holder. The variation of the song I’m posting is the version I perform and is not exactly replicating the sources cited, but is always in the same song family. If anyone has more details about this song, or believes I’ve stated something in error, please let me know. I’m also open to suggestions to improve the site. Thanks.sgg

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