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Songs About Gardening

October 28, 2007

A listener named Ilene sent in this query:

My husband and I are involved with organic vegetable growing and are members of The North Dakota Farmers Market and Growers Assn. (NDFMGA).

For NDFMGA's conference next year I would love for supper entertainment or social hour background music to feature songs like "Homegrown Tomatoes" by Jay Ungar & Molly Mason.

I know I had written others down featuring gardening/vegetables, etc. but have lost the list.

Do you have any suggestions for artists, albums or songs (or a source for purchasing the music so a local could sing it)?

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at October 28, 2007 11:37 AM


Comments

Organic gardeners almost always "Plow to the End of the Row".

Posted by: Doug Sligh at October 28, 2007 12:03 PM

Peppers and Tomatoes by Ralph McTell http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDWpAi3ullU. Not actually about gardening, it'll bring you up with a jolt if you aren't ready for it. Brilliant.

Posted by: Huw Pryce at October 28, 2007 8:37 PM

Mango by Earl Okin. Extraordinarily rude, for no good reason. If you have never heard Okin - seek him him out. He's a genius.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4LjTqMjNho

He also has a rather good reworking of Teenage Dirtbag! But that's not really a gardening song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTnoMQdw8BQ

Posted by: Huw Pryce at October 28, 2007 8:57 PM

I'm guessing that "The Tomato Vendetta" by Mason Williams just wouldn't be appropriate..
but there is a really nice song (sung by a woman) about growing up tending a vegetable/tomato stand and learning about love and life and such.. anyone recall that one?

Posted by: JoLynn Braswell at October 29, 2007 3:03 AM

JoLynn--Are you thinking of something by Adrienne Young? She is very pro-farmer.

Posted by: Ann E VerWiebe at October 29, 2007 9:09 AM

The Garden Song (Inch by Inch, row by row), by Dave Mallet AND

The Anti-Garden Song (slug by slug, weed by weed) by Eric Kilburn

You can't get too much more specific than these two.

Posted by: Christin Keck at October 29, 2007 12:33 PM

Oh, and here's a link to a long list of them, by artist, and with the albums they're on:

http://nwfolk.com/songlists/garden.html

Posted by: Christin Keck at October 29, 2007 12:35 PM

"I Don't Eat Animals" by Melanie...always liked that one. More of a Vegan tune than a gardening one, but fun anyhow.

Posted by: Jim Pipkin at October 29, 2007 1:54 PM

Folk Alley listeners are the best! Thanks for all the suggestions. Don't stop now....

Ilene

Posted by: Ilene Baker at October 31, 2007 10:17 AM

Of course, there's always "Call Any Vegetable" by the late Mr. F. Zappa. . .

Posted by: Gail McNeill at October 31, 2007 11:01 AM

Yea Mr. Zappa!!!

Posted by: JoLynn Braswell at October 31, 2007 12:20 PM

LITTLE POTATO
Written by Malcolm Dalglish
Oolitic Music, BMI
Recorded on Metamora, Sugar Hill Records, SH-CD 1131

You're my little potato, you're my little potato,
You're my little potato, they dug you up,
You come from underground! ...

http://www.starbittrune.com/Jack/littlepotato.html
http://minnesota.publicradio.org/your_voice/mailbag/2006/09/060918.shtml

Posted by: Richard Schletty at October 31, 2007 1:16 PM

Garrison Keillor's rendition of a wonderful song we all know...

Go to: http://prairiehome.publicradio.org/programs/2006/04/08/scripts/tulips.shtml

Tiptoe Through the Tulips
Saturday, April 8, 2006

Listen: http://www.publicradio.org/tools/media/player/phc/2006/04/08_phc?start=00:00:10:42.0&end=00:00:11:35.0

Tip toe to the window, by the window
By the peony, come
Tip toe thru the tulips with me
Tip toe from the chapel
Let us dabble neath the apple tree
And hide in the hyacinths with me

We'll throw ourselves on the ground,
Holler and roll all around
And if I rip off your parka
In the darkness, will you park with me
And jump thru the geraniums with me

Leap out of the window, to the garden
O my old sweet pea, come
Crawl through the crocuses with me
We'll get in my Chevy
And start necking heavily
And dive in the ivy with me

We will be dripping with sweat
Do things we'll later regret
If I howl and drool
Will you reject me so cruelly
Or tip tow thru the tulips with me
Or lie in the lilacs with me

Posted by: Richard Schletty at October 31, 2007 1:24 PM

There's another song about a tomato, at a tomato stand along the highway, which looked like Jesus or something, and people would come from far and wide and comment on how it did. A lady sings it and it's a perky song, and humorous as I recall..maybe this is that life and love song I was thinking about. It is a folk song, as I recall, and I've heard it in the past year.

Posted by: JoLynn Braswell at October 31, 2007 5:24 PM

You might check out "Canned Goods" by Greg Brown. It's on a couple of his discs. Here is a link:

http://www.google.com/musicsearch?id=biI_mMXsamM.

Posted by: Rogero Ottlots at October 31, 2007 6:10 PM

Sorry - bad link above. Just Google Greg Brown and you'll be close.

Posted by: Rogero Ottlots at October 31, 2007 6:12 PM

Farm Fresh Onions by Robert Earl Keen.

Posted by: Tom McAdam at November 1, 2007 4:13 AM

Jay and Molly's version is good, I like Guy Clark's the best. (he wrote the song)

What about Bringing in the Sheaves and I'm a Lonely Little Petunia in an Onion Patch?

Posted by: Lynn Oatman at November 1, 2007 3:33 PM

"Mares Eat Oats and Does Eat Oats and Little Lambs Eat Ivy" (a kid'll eat ivy too, wouldn't you?)

Posted by: JoLynn Braswell at November 1, 2007 8:05 PM

(Lynn O, your last names brought that to memory! )
(o:

Posted by: JoLynn Braswell at November 1, 2007 8:06 PM

Carl Martin wrote a lovely silly song called "The Barnyard Dance" that Steve Goodman used to sing:

The Vegetable Song (the Barnyard dance)

It was late one nite by the pale moonlight
all the vegetables gave a spree;
they put out a sign that said the dancing's at nine
and all the admission was free,
there was peas and greens and cabbage and beans
it was the biggest crowd you ever did see;
and when mister cucumber struck up that number
you should have heard those vegetables screams
Oh little turnip top was doin' the backwards flop
the cabbage is doin' the shimmy, she couldn't stop
the little red beet shook its feet
and the watermelon died of the cockeyed heat;
little tomato, agitator, shook the shimmy with the sweet potato
and old man garlic dropped dead of the colic
down at the barnyard dance
late this morning.
down at the barnyard dance.

(instrumental bridge)

Oh little turnip top was doin' the backwards flop
the cabbage is doin' the shimmy, she couldn't stop
the little red beet shook its feet
and the watermelon died of the cockeyed heat;

little tomato, agitator, shook the shimmy with the sweet potato
and old man garlic dropped dead of the colic
down at the barnyard dance
late this morning.
down at the barnyard...
late this morning.
down at the barnyard dance.

Posted by: Vicky Jones at November 1, 2007 10:16 PM

I also love Stan Rogers' "Field Behind the Plow":

Watch the field behind the plow turn to straight, dark rows
Feel the trickle in your clothes, blow the dust cake from your nose
Hear the tractor's steady roar, Oh you can't stop now
There's a quarter section more or less to go
And it figures that the rain keeps its own sweet time
You can watch it come for miles, but you guess you've got a while
So ease the throttle out a hair, every rod's a gain
And there's victory in every quarter mile

Poor old Kuzyk down the road
The heartache, hail and hoppers brought him down
He gave it up and went to town
And Emmett Pierce the other day
Took a heart attack and died at forty two
You could see it coming on 'cause he worked as hard as you

In an hour, maybe more, you'll be wet clear through
The air is cooler now, pull you hat brim further down
And watch the field behind the plow turn to straight dark rows
Put another season's promise in the ground

And if the harvest's any good
The money just might cover all the loans
You've mortgaged all you own
Buy the kids a winter coat
Take the wife back east for Christmas if you can
All summer she hangs on when you're so tied to the land

For the good times come and go, but at least there's rain
So this won't be barren ground when September rolls around
So watch the field behind the plow turn to straight dark rows
Put another season's promise in the ground
Watch the field behind the plow turn to straight dark rows
Put another season's promise in the ground

Posted by: Vicky Jones at November 1, 2007 10:18 PM

Tomato Pudding by Jeff Daniels

Posted by: Nina Gray at November 2, 2007 12:41 AM

Try this one: Stephanie Davis sings her "Harvest Blues." I heard it on 03 Nov on 'Prairie Home Companion' and its both true (of all of us gardeners) and a great story at the same time. As one who can't wait until the first catalogs of December come rolling in for next spring's plants, a song or two always help me rationalize my addiction to my gardening.
good luck,

Posted by: Steve Fowler at November 4, 2007 12:00 PM

Oh, man. If our song pages could only display lyrics this nicely!

C'mon, Mr. or Ms. Folk Alley Programmer! Please code in just a LF instead of LF+CR. You know what I'm talking about. I can't stand seeing my lyrics double spaced any more. My workaround has been to eliminate carriage returns after lines within stanzas. Not elegant but it makes me not look like a clumsy idiot.

Posted by: Richard Schletty at November 5, 2007 1:50 PM

Thanks, Ann, for getting back to me on the above "presentation" issue. I am glad you forwarded my comment to the IT staff. It is vital to me as a poet and lyricist that lines be nicely formatted. Now just imagine if our songs played out double-spaced!

She's

my

little

potato

all

buttered

up

Posted by: Richard Schletty at November 6, 2007 1:13 PM

Many years ago on the weekend WKSU folk music show, Jim Blum would play Malcolm Dalglish, Grey Larsen and Pete Sutherland's terrific recording of "Gardening," written by Dillon Bustin. Perhaps he could put it on the Folk Alley Playlist for you.

Posted by: James L Wamsley at November 6, 2007 10:30 PM

JUST heard this Live from Guy Clark (and Verlon Thompson) at the best little folk music festival ever - THE RICE FESTIVAL in Fischer, Texas less than a dozen hours ago! It covers both gardening, culinary delights, and recycling in one great little ditty.

****

Home Grown Tomatoes - Guy Clark

Ain't nothin' in the world that I like better
Than bacon & lettuce & homegrown tomatoes
Up in the mornin' out in the garden

Get you a ripe one don't get a hard one
Plant `em in the spring eat `em in the summer
All winter with out `em's a culinary bummer
I forget all about the sweatin' & diggin'
Every time I go out & pick me a big one

Homegrown tomatoes homegrown tomatoes
What'd life be without homegrown tomatoes
Only two things that money can't buy
That's true love & homegrown tomatoes

You can go out to eat & that's for sure
But it's nothin' a homegrown tomato won't cure
Put `em in a salad, put `em in a stew
You can make your very own tomato juice
Eat `em with eggs, eat `em with gravy
Eat `em with beans, pinto or navy
Put `em on the site put `em in the middle
Put a homegrown tomato on a hotcake griddle

If I's to change this life I lead
I'd be Johnny Tomato Seed
`Cause I know what this country needs
Homegrown tomatoes in every yard you see
When I die don't bury me
In a box in a cemetery
Out in the garden would be much better
I could be pushin' up homegrown tomatoes

Posted by: JoLynn Braswell at November 11, 2007 7:06 AM

As a Chicagoan I felt compelled to offer this one:

THE EGGPLANT THAT ATE CHICAGO
(Norman Greenbaum)
Dr. West's Medicine Show & Junk Band


You'd better watch out for the eggplant that ate Chicago,
For he may eat your city soon.
You'd better watch out for the eggplant that ate Chicago,
If he's still hungry, the whole country's doomed.

He came from outer space, lookin' for somethin' to eat.
He landed in Chicago. He thought Chicago was a treat.
(It was sweet, it was just like suger)

You'd better watch out for the eggplant that ate Chicago,
For he may eat your city soon (wacka-do, wacka-do, wacka-do)
You'd better watch out for the eggplant that ate Chicago,
If he's still hungry, the whole country's doomed.

kazoo solo

He came from outer space, lookin' for somethin' to eat.
He landed in Chicago. He thought Chicago was a treat.
(It was sweet, it was just like suger)

You'd better watch out for the eggplant that ate Chicago,
For he may eat your city soon (wacka-do, wacka-do, wacka-do)
You'd better watch out for the eggplant that ate Chicago,
If he's still hungry, the whole country's doomed ("it's in trouble!")
If he's still hungry, the whole country's doomed

Posted by: Lyn Rowe at November 15, 2007 9:47 AM

Always loved a good "wacka-do" song!

Posted by: JoLynn Braswell at November 28, 2007 3:52 AM

Try the Albion Band with Chris Baines. "Why have you stolen our Earth" See http://www.informatik.uni-hamburg.de/~zierke/guvnor/records/thewildsideoftown.html

Features Ashley Hutchins- saw him with latest lineup "Rainbow Chasers" last Sunday

Posted by: Chris Whitworth at December 14, 2007 7:41 AM

Also, "A place called England" by June Tabor on A Quiet Eye (1999)

And A proper sort of Gardener. Maggie Holland 1992

Posted by: Chris Whitworth at December 14, 2007 7:51 AM

Lest anyone forget - "Hang On Little Tomato" by Thomas Lauderdale and performed by Pink Martini.


Hang On Little Tomato

The sun has left and forgotten me
It's dark, I cannot see
Why does this rain pour down
I'm gonna drown
In a sea
Of deep confusion

Somebody told me, I don't know who
Whenever you are sad and blue
And you're feelin' all alone and left behind
Just take a look inside and you will find

You gotta hold on, hold on through the night
Hang on, things will be all right
Even when it's dark
And not a bit of sparkling
Sing-song sunshine from above
Spreading rays of sunny love

Just hang on, hang on to the vine
Stay on, soon you'll be divine
If you start to cry, look up to the sky
Something's coming up ahead
To turn your tears to dew instead

And so I hold on to his advice
When change is hard and not so nice
You listen to your heart the whole night through
Your sunny someday will come one day soon to you

Posted by: Michael Peterson at January 28, 2008 12:41 PM

I'm looking for the lyrics to Dillon Bustin's song "Gardening"

Help?

Posted by: Barbara Lubell at April 16, 2009 10:56 PM

Here you go -- courtesy of the author's website, at http://www.dillonbustin.net

Gardening
By Dillon Bustin

Recorded by Malcolm Dalglish, Grey Larsen and Pete Sutherland on "Root Crops & Ground Cover," cassette release circa late 1970s

oh my friends it's springtime again
buds are swelling of every limb
the peepers do call small birds do sing
and my thoughts return to gardening

gardening is a very fine art
bear well in mind before you start
lay up your ax your saw blade also
and take down you spade
your rake and your hoe

polish your hoe
till the blade it does shine
likewise your rake and sharpen each tine
dress up your spade
with a light coat of oil
then you are ready to prepare your soil

prepare your soil with a good free will
bear well in mind what you may till
some compost and lime
are all that you need
then you are ready to plant your seed

plant your seed but none too soon
bear well in mind the phase of the moon
set out the fruit the roots and the grain
and hop it all sprouts
in the cool early rain

if the cool early rain don't drown you out
the first hot spell will bring on the drought
the midsummer sun is hotter than hell
mulch down your rows
and you water them well

water them well and then them also
beware of weeds and beetles and crows
if you work every day then little is lost
just hope it all ripens
before the first frost

the first frost will come as sure as sin
then you must hasten to gather it in
by cartloads and bushels
by pecks and quarts
your harvest of fruit
and grain of all sorts

all sorts of peaches and apples and sheat
oats and rye and strawberries sweet
squashes and melons with colorful rinds
your harvest of vegetable
roots of all kinds

all kinds of turnips and carrots and beets
potatoes tomatoes and strong smelling leeks
cabbage and coan the beans and the hay
then you must carefully store it away

away in the cellars and lofts and bins
make cider and kraut pickles and gin
if you do idt all well
then you'll not go wrong
you will have plenty all winter long

all winter long while the cold winds blow
take down your saw and wood cutting go
if you're well fed and warm
be well content then
till warm weather comes
and you say to your friends

oh my friends it's springtime again
buds are swelling on every limb
the peepers do call small birds do sing
and my thoughts return to gardening

Posted by: Peter Kelley at April 25, 2010 2:13 PM

whoops, typo at the start of the 7th verse, above. I think it should be:

water them well and thin them also

Posted by: Peter Kelley at April 25, 2010 2:35 PM

also it's wheat in the 9th verse, and corn in the 11th verse (just sang it through!)

Posted by: Peter Kelley at April 25, 2010 2:43 PM

CORRECTED LYRICS TO GARDENING
By Dillon Bustin

Now well and truly corrected by the author, here are the lyrics to Gardening as they appeared on the original liner notes:

oh my friends it's springtime again
buds are swelling on every limb
the peepers do call small birds do sing
and my thoughts return to gardening

gardening is a very fine art
bear well in mind before you start
lay up your ax your saw blade also
and take down your spade your rake and your hoe

polish your hoe till the blade it does shine
likewise your rake and sharpen each tine
dress up your spade with a light coat of oil
then you are ready to prepare your soil

prepare your soil with a good free will
bear well in mind what you may till
some compost and lime are all that you need
then you are ready to plant your seed

plant your seed but none too soon
bear well in mind the phase of the moon
set out the fruit the roots and the grain
and hope it all sprouts in the cool early rain

if the cool early rain don't drown you out
the first hot spell will bring on a drought
the midsummer sun is hotter than hell
mulch down your rows and you water them well

water them well and thin them also
beware of weeds and beetles and crows
if you work every day then little is lost
just hope it all ripens before the first frost

the first frost will come as sure as sin
then you must hasten to gather it in
by cartloads and bushels by pecks and quarts
your harvest of fruit and grain of all sorts

all sorts of peaches and apples and wheat
oats and rye and strawberries sweet
squashes and melons with colorful rinds
your harvest of vegetable roots of all kinds

all kinds of turnips and carrots and beets
potatoes tomatoes and strong smelling leeks
cabbage and corn the beans and the hay
then you must carefully store it away

away in the cellars and lofts and bins
make cider and kraut pickles and gin
if you do it all well then you'll not go wrong
you will have plenty all winter long

all winter long while the cold winds blow
take down your saw and wood cutting go
if you're well fed and warm be well content then
till warm weather comes and you say to your friends

oh my friends it's springtime again
buds are swelling on every limb
the peepers do call small birds do sing
and my thoughts return to gardening

Posted by: Peter Kelley at April 26, 2010 7:44 AM

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