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.

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.”

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Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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5 Responses to Big Rock Candy Mountain unsafe for kids

  1. Avatar Jim Adams says:

    There was more but it is washed away in unrecorded history. As far as safe for kids, I think they need to learn true history, not some whitewashed idioocracy that teaches them things they should be aware of. It is part of our past and should not be lost in the P.C. dumb down of our current culture. Teach the truth, not some dreamed up dementia you personally call the truth.

    The earth has been hard to grow up on for thousands of years.

  2. Avatar Gary Hibdon says:

    I the owner of a resort called Go to are website and you’ hear it.but I like the original lyrics just as much.

  3. Avatar Alan Longwell says:

    circa 1890!! That means that these lyrics were written by an eight year old! Harry McClintock was born in 1882 and dies in 1957. Would that I could have had that same mastery of the English language when I was but eight…

  4. Avatar John says:

    This is an abject lesson not get involved with strangers offering candy.

  5. Avatar Paul Wilson says:

    Even when I first listened to a LP sung by Burl Ives (Rock Candy Mountain),I was never quite sure about the “cops with wooden legs”. It sounded like “fox”. NOW after 60 years I AM sure.

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