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What's the funniest folk song ever?

March 18, 2004

When a lot of people talk about folk music, they'll mention its strong history of documenting the history of the common man (and woman), providing a voice to social progress, and music that values substance, story, and depth. But one type of folk music never gets it propers...the funny stuff.

There is lot of folk music that has a great sense of humor.

Click on the Comment button below and cast your vote for the funniest folk song ever.

Posted by at March 18, 2004 3:41 PM


Comments

I don't know if it's the funniest song ever, but Alice's Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie has got to be up there on my list. Even after all these years, when Arlo performs it live - it kills.

Posted by: Robert J. Burford at March 19, 2004 9:30 AM

wonderful toy? Peter, Paul, & Mary

Posted by: Kevin Hudson at March 19, 2004 9:44 AM

How about "I am My Own Grandpa"?

Posted by: Gene at March 19, 2004 11:57 AM

"The Motorcycle Song", Arlo Guthrie

Posted by: Diana and Janice :) at March 19, 2004 2:55 PM

One song that comes to mind (tho it may not be the funniest, yet clever nonetheless) is Richard Shindell's "Are You Happy Now?", which is on his first - as well as his live - album. It's especially a great Halloween song; listen and you'll know why. He's known for moody, introspective songs (someone once asked, is there any such thing as a HAPPY Richard Shindell song?!), but this number is a nifty little tune.
Also, one guy that will have you bustin' your guts all over the place is Don White, a folksinger/comic from Massachusetts (donwhite.net). Mike Lord, Chicago.

Posted by: Mike Lord at March 19, 2004 9:56 PM

How about "Lincoln Park Pirates" by Steve Goodman??? I believe it contains possibly the silliest rhyme ever:

"...and all of the bumpers are ruined
...The Lincoln Park Lagooin (lagoon)"

GS
Chicago

Posted by: George Sawyn at March 20, 2004 1:48 AM

How about "Big Blue Frog", by Peter, Paul, & Mary?

Posted by: Rob Godfrey at March 20, 2004 5:45 AM

The funniest song I've heard in the last few years is "Viagra in the Waters", by Camille West.

Another good one is "Right Field" (I forgot who wrote it, but Paul Stookey does a great version).

Posted by: Michael Pate at March 20, 2004 9:16 AM

Alright...how about Alan Sherman's "Hello Mudda, Hello Faddah (sp?), here I am at Camp Grenada". It still cracks me up.

Posted by: Dan Ziegler at March 20, 2004 10:13 AM

My vote is for "Poor Tied up Darlin' " from the musical "The Robber Bridegroom".

Posted by: Lori Allen at March 20, 2004 2:27 PM

Of the new, contemporary singer/songwriters Tom Prasada Rao has a funny hidden track on his I Hear You Laughing CD. It is called Little Mussolini and I think Tom mentions in the liner notes that his mother wishes he didn't sing that song.

BUT far and away, the funniest folk song ever (to me) is John Gorka's Body Parts Medley;

Oh it's nothing but a Butt
It's nothing but a Big Butt
Boston Baked Beans,
Burnt Burrito and a Beer Butt
It's a really really Big Butt

Namaste, Bryn, the music junkie

Posted by: p bryn benson at March 20, 2004 3:12 PM

An oldie but goodie is the traditional Newfoundland song "Harbour LeCou" as performed in concert many years ago by Gordon Lightfoot ("...and he told her he loved her and swore he'd be true, as he winked at the moon over Harbour LeCou...".)

Fora song on a current topic, I love Camille West's live version of "Viagra in the Water."

Posted by: Anne Tomlin at March 20, 2004 5:26 PM

I don't know if it's considered folk, but I think Johnny Cash's "One Piece at a Time" is hilarious! Also, Dar Williams's "Flinty Kind of Woman" is very funny, even though the overall meaning of the song is pretty serious.

Posted by: Kirkpatrick Karie at March 20, 2004 5:46 PM

Christine Lavin is the undisputed Queen of Folk Comedy. Several of her songs are true comedy classics. My all time favorites are "Artificial Means" and "Regretting What I Said..."

Also, I think her comedy collection "Christine Lavin Presents: Laugh Tracks, Vol. 1 and 2" is the all time best collection of folk comedy.

Posted by: Ray Fisk at March 20, 2004 6:03 PM

another vote for Steve Goodman, though picking his funniest is difficult-- Lincoln Park Pirates is very funny, but somewhat limited to local interest, then there's "Vegematic" and 'talk backwards". Then there's his soul brother John Prine with "jesus, the missing years"

Posted by: gerald galuardi at March 21, 2004 12:19 PM

Bear Mountain Picnic by Bob Dylan?

Posted by: Ed DAmato at March 21, 2004 9:22 PM

I agree that Steve Goodman has some hilarious songs, but let's not overlook the writer of some of Steve's most popular songs: Michael Smith. (If you're unfamiliar with Michael, you're really missing out!) The Dutchman, Spoon River, Talk Backwards and many others were written (or co-written) with Michael.

And a list of funniest folk songs would probably contain a lot of Christine Lavin and Cheryl Wheeler; Cosy Sheridan has some funny tunes, as well.

Posted by: Bailey Jones at March 22, 2004 1:19 AM

Junk Food Junkie by Mountain Stage's Larry Groce - written more than a quarter century ago, but still relevant!

Posted by: Patricia Miller at March 22, 2004 4:50 AM

As a five-year-old I was already laughing at certain lines in commercial folk music from Kingston Trio (MTA, the Merry Minuet) or the Brothers Four (Froggy Went a Courtin') before I even understood the songs. I still think they're funny. Coming into the 21st century, however, one of my favorites is a very folky song from Bare Naked Ladies' "If I had a Million Dollars"

Posted by: David Kirkham at March 22, 2004 6:05 AM

I agree with Christine Lavin and Cheryl Wheeler (especially in live performances) - my favorites are Lavin's seminal "What Was I Thinking?" and Wheeler's "Potato Song." I also like Roy Zimmerman, although he's a little more naughty.

Posted by: Ann VerWiebe at March 22, 2004 10:55 AM

Lincoln Park Pirates is a really good Steve Goodman Song alright, but the funniest is "Talk Backwards" . But it does tie with Christine Lavin's "High Heel Shoes" - but perhaps only the ladies get it. And in the Surprize! category is "Hibernian Rapsody" - a celtic instrumental interpretation of "Bohemian Rapsody" which sneeks up on you and provides a huge grin when it hits. Wish I could remember who the group is.

Posted by: Kathy Benson at March 22, 2004 1:38 PM

Cast another vote for "I'm my own Grandpa". "Right Field" is another good one. Always liked "Alice's Restaurant" as well.

Posted by: Gerry Lutz at March 22, 2004 7:36 PM

Cast another vote for "I'm my own Grandpa". "Right Field" is another good one. Always liked "Alice's Restaurant" as well.

Posted by: Gerry Lutz at March 22, 2004 7:38 PM

Yes, Steve Goodman was great, and especially good with Michael Smith (You're concave and I'm convex, it's the wonderful world of sex." And Christine has too many to mention. But pick up some old Loudoun Wainwright III and enjoy. Skip "Deak Skunk" and listen to "Muse Blues," "Guru" or "Unrequited to the nth Degree."

"Oh, when I die
and it won't be long
yeah, you're gonna be sorry
that you treated me wrong
Hey, you're gonna be sorry
and you'll feel guilty too
but I'd be dead, it'd be too late
the joke'll be on you"

Posted by: John Sofranko at March 23, 2004 8:47 PM

The Moo Song (I think) John Gorka:
" The Cows in the moo yard are making their plans,
for the long winter nights and the cold winter hands." Top that!

Posted by: charles chavoor at March 24, 2004 12:52 PM

The Old Bull Moose by Don Lange
I'm My Own GrandPa
Why Patty's Not at Work Today sung by the Dubliners(?)
The Suicide Hot Line by ?
It's Just a Thing I Do by Bob Gibson
I'm in Love with a Big Blue Frog sung by Lou and Peter Berrymann
Those are my picks Thanks

Posted by: GUY KAPLAN at March 24, 2004 2:29 PM

That didn't post correctly.
Lou and Peter did A Conversation With you Mother

Posted by: GUY KAPLAN at March 24, 2004 2:31 PM

Being of the "flower-child" era, and involved (without choice) in the socio-politic war-of the moment, I cast my vote for Tom Paxtons' "Talkin' Viet Nam Pot-luck Blues". It was funny, satirical, and true all at the same time.

Posted by: Stan Phelps at March 25, 2004 8:04 AM

One of my silly favorites is the "Pancake song" by Mad Agnes. It's even better if you get to see them perform it.

Posted by: Jonathan Mahorney at March 25, 2004 11:49 AM

Dar Williams' "Christian and the Pagans"
Loudon Wainright's "Dad Skunk in the Middle of the Road"
Patty Larkin's "The Mall"

(I hope I have these titles right."

Posted by: paul cleary at March 28, 2004 9:37 AM

It has to be Michael Cooney singing "I'm my own Grandpa"

Posted by: J. MERINO at March 28, 2004 10:11 PM

Let's not forget John Prine "In Spite of Ourselves" and "The Sins of Memphisto"

Posted by: Lynn Pike at March 29, 2004 10:07 AM

Entering Marion by John Forster. It's on Christine Lavin's Big Times In A Small Town.

Posted by: Tom Young at March 29, 2004 5:02 PM

Alice's Restaurant is a timeless classic, and after all these years, still gets us laughing, whether hearing it in it's latest incarnation whenever Arlo's in the mood, or on the radio in it's original glory, every Thanksgiving!

And anything you might hear by Pat Sky is up there as well!

Posted by: Arnie at March 29, 2004 8:45 PM

Well there's a song that goes "I can see your aura and it's ugly" by Mark Graham. (find it on google, or something) Pretty funny really. Not sure how folk it really is, but then how FOLK is most "folk" music?

Posted by: Jody at March 29, 2004 10:13 PM

Alice's Restaurant is great but ringaround the rosy rag is a very funny song

Posted by: Richard O'Connell at April 5, 2004 10:48 PM

Sorry they're not folk songs. But the funniest two songs I know are: Richard Cheese (goes by Dick) and his lounge version of "I Like Big Butts." You have to hear it to appreciate. Also, AC/DC's "I've Got Big Balls." This song is hilarious to play while having a yard party and watching people play fruit croquet (you can look this up on the Internet).

Posted by: Jul Bailey at November 16, 2005 8:37 PM

I have seen a couple posts here and also want to mention some very funny songs by Chicago folksinger Michael Peter Smith.

Dead Egyptian Blues, Zippy, Famous In France, The Princess and the Frog, The Last Day of Pompeii, Move Over Mr. Gaugin. All of these songs are very entertaining and funny. You can read the lyrics at www.michaelsmithmusic.com .

To correct an earlier post, Spoon River and The Dutchman were written by Michael alone, and NOT co-written with Steve Goodman, although Michael has co-written several songs with Steve.

Posted by: Stephen Deasy at October 15, 2008 11:17 AM

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