Tag Archives: farming

Pick a Bale of Cotton

TITLE: Pick a Bale of Cotton AUTHOR: unknown CATEGORY: Traditional, Public Domain KEYWORDS:  work, farming, bragging EARLIEST PRINTED OR RECORDED REFERENCE: 1933 (recording, James “Iron Head” Baker & group) SOME CONSIDER THIS SONG OFFENSIVE  First collected by Alan Lomax from prison farms in Texas, this is a boastful song about picking an impossibly large quantity of cotton (a read more »

El-a-noy (The Plains of Illinois)

TITLE: El-a-noy (The Plains of Illinois) AUTHOR: unknown CATEGORY: Traditional, Public Domain KEYWORDS: Bible, talltale, emigration, farming EARLIEST PRINTED OR RECORDED REFERENCE: 1927 (Sandburg) As the United States grew and frontier moved westward, many hardworking individuals and families sought fertile land that was either free or at least cheap, and as Alan Lomax wrote, “Every American pioneer had read more »

Old MacDonald Had a Farm

TITLE: Old MacDonald Had a Farm AUTHOR: unknown CATEGORY: Traditional, Public Domain KEYWORDS: animal, farming, cumulative EARLIEST PRINTED OR RECORDED REFERENCE: 1917 in Tommy’s Tunes There are numerous songs in history that are similar to the present day Old MacDonald. The earliest recorded member of this family of songs may be a number from an opera called The read more »

I Had a Little Rooster

TITLE: I Had a Little Rooster AUTHOR: unknown CATEGORY: traditional, public domain KEYWORDS: animal, cumulative, farming, humorous, donkey, cow, cat, pig, baby, dog EARLIEST DATE: 1849 (Halliwell) Another cumulative songs which keeps adding lines with every verse. The difference between this and other cumulative songs I’ve done, you do animals sounds with each additional animal. While recording, read more »

Farmer is the Man, The

TITLE: The Farmer is the Man AUTHOR: Unknown CATEGORY: Traditional, Public Domain KEYWORDS: farming, work, poverty, commerce, money EARLIEST DATE: 1923 (recording, Fiddlin’ John Carson) HISTORICAL REFERENCES: The Populist movement in the United States (1890-1896). “The Farmer is the Man” is the most famous song inspired by the Populist movement, also known as the People’s Party in late-19th century America. read more »

Acres of Clams

TITLE: Acres of Clams AUTHOR: Francis D. Henry? EARLIEST PRINTED OR RECORDED REFERENCE: The first recorded reference to this song was in the Olympia, Washington newspaper the Washington Standard in April 1877. CATEGORY: Public Domain, Debated KEYWORDS: gold, farming, poverty, settler, prospecting, clams Said to be written by Francis D. Henry 1874, although the Traditional Ballad Index says the read more »

Down on Penny’s Farm

TITLE: Down on Penny’s Farm AUTHOR: unknown EARLIEST DATE: 1929 (recording, Bently Boys) KEYWORDS: hard times, work, farming, poverty, landlord HISTORICAL REFERENCES: None Bascom Lamar Lunsford, (1882-1973), the Southern folklorist, lawyer, and traditional singer [who lived just a bit further south on Turkey Creek, in Leicester, NC, than the admin of this website], says he read more »