Saturday, July 19, 2008

Heaven Week: Hobo Edition

Harry McClintock: Big Rock Candy Mountain


Since the flowering of the railroads, whenever this country has seen economic hardship, there has been a rise in the number of hobos. These (mostly) men live in empty boxcars on moving trains. They make very little money, and subsist on a loose barter system. Some are musicians who perform in exchange for food and other needs.

It is a humble life to be sure. As such, the hobo's vision of heaven is similarly modest. There is no need for me to elucidate when this song does it so well.

"Big Rock Candy Mountain" has become a classic children's song, because the imagery is so appealing to a child. I first heard it when I was a kid. I grew up in New Jersey, within broadcast range of New York City radio stations. There was a show on Saturday nights called "Woody's Stepchildren". That was where I got my first exposure to folk music. Looking back, I feel very lucky.

Bonus song:

Fred Holstein: Hobo’s Lullaby

I couldn't leave the theme of the hobo without posting The Hobo's Lullaby. This was another song I grew up hearing on the radio. Although there is no connection to our heaven theme that I can find, this post felt incomplete to me without it.

Submitted by Darius

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