Tag Archives: Americana

Thomas Kinkade has died- What are all admirers of Americana kitsch going to do?

“A Kinkade painting was typically rendered in slightly surreal pastels,” Joan Didion wrote. “It typically featured a cottage or a house of such insistent coziness as to seem actually sinister, suggestive of a trap designed to attract Hansel and Gretel. Every window was lit, to lurid effect, as if the interior of the structure might be on fire.” Read more about Kinkade… Thomas Kinkade's artistic legacy up for grabs.

Big Rock Candy Mountain unsafe for kids

big rock candy mountainHere was a true bit of American folk wisdom, Harry McClintock’s everyman philosophy whose context was whitewashed for the sake of children and the Protestant work ethic. The original lyrics of the hobo’s nirvana, Big Rock Candy Mountain, where omitted or reformed, are reprinted in bold here.

BIG ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN
Harry McClintock, circa 1890

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
Besides 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

….
The punk rolled up his big blue eyes
And said to the jocker, “Sandy,
I’ve hiked and hiked and wandered too,
But I ain’t seen any candy.
I’ve hiked and hiked till my feet are sore
And I’ll be damned if I hike any more
To be buggered sore like a hobo’s whore
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.”