The Big Rock Candy Mountain

(original version)

Words & Music:

Harry "Haywire Mac" McClintock


People who assume this is a children's song are always "Shocked! Shocked, they say!" at the actual words. What they are forgetting is that this was not written for children, but for the many homeless folks traversing America during the Great Depression, looking for jobs, food and, most of all, hope. Read the words in this context and they make perfect sense. Oh, and millions of American children have learned this song and grown up to be fine adults, so give your kids a history lesson instead of censoring what they learn.




One evening as the sun went down and the jungle fire was burning,

Down the track came a hobo hikin' and he said, "Boys, I'm not turning.

    F            C           F    C      F                G7

I'm headed for a land that's far away, beside the crystal fountains,

    C                                            G7    C

So, come with me, we'll go and see, the Big Rock Candy Mountains."



C                                          F                    C

"In the Big Rock Candy Mountains there's a land that's fair and bright,

          F                C               F               G7

Where the handouts grow on bushes, and you sleep out every night,

          C                              F               C

Where the boxcars all are empty, and the sun shines everyday,

       F             C            F         C

On the birds and the bees and the cigarette trees,

    F        C                 F        C            G7             C

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 and the wind 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 a-tricklin' down the rocks,

The brakemen have to tip their hats and the railroad bulls are blind.

There's a lake of stew, and of whiskey too,

You can paddle all a round 'em 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, or picks,

I'm a-going to stay, where you sleep all day,

Where they hung the jerk, who invented work, in the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

I'll see you all this coming fall in the Big Rock Candy Mountains."


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