Memory Lane: ‘Big Rock Candy Mountain’

I was surprised yesterday when one of my friends said she’d never heard this song, nor heard of it. Written back in 1928, Big Rock Candy Mountain was a hit song when I was a little boy. The great Burl Ives made it a hit. It was on one of those childrens’ record albums that my mother had for us, and I’ve seen it published in any number of folk songbooks.

True, some of it sounds a lot like Democrat campaign promises. Try to ignore that. And enjoy how beautifully Burl Ives hits the high note.

‘Bringing in the Sheaves’

This sounds just like Sunday school–piano, congregation, and Bringing in the Sheaves, back when everybody knew what sheaves were. I like this Burl Ives version best.

‘Victory in Jesus’

We like to start each blogging day with a hymn, so we’ll have done at least one thing right that day. Today’s hymn: Victory in Jesus, sung by Burl Ives.

By Request, ‘Wayfaring Stranger’

We have a hymn request from SlimJim–the old-time spiritual, Wayfaring Stranger. Lots of different artists sing this one: here we have Burl Ives’ version.

‘Goober Peas’

I don’t know why I’m posting this–but why not? We’ve had enough bad nooze for one morning. So Burl Ives sings a nonsense song from the Civil War…

Which proves that God has built into the human spirit a certain amount of effervescence–even in the midst of a calamity like the Civil War, we can dream up funny songs. As long as we can do that, we will endure; we will not be crushed. Laughter is a gift from God: and God forbid that we should ever be without it.

‘Noah Found Grace in the Eyes of the Lord’

I’d never heard this old-fashioned gospel song until today–Noah Found Grace in the Eyes of the Lord, sung by a young Burl Ives–whose voice stayed young throughout his long career. One of the Youtube commenters said he loved this song when he was a very young child… although he thought “Grace” was Noah’s wife.

A Purely Personal Note

I had to unclog the bathroom sink’s drain this morning… and voila! Fifteen minutes–a new world’s record. If Julius Caesar were a guy who unclogged bathroom sinks, he’d be me.

So before this good mood passes, let me post this song for no other reason than I’ve always loved it and I’d like to share it with you: Sweet Betsy from Pike, sung by Burl Ives. It’s an ancient folk song so there are a hundred different versions of it; but they all start with Betsy and Ike trying to cross the mountain.

Anybody thinking about a contest to create a school song or a cheer for Quokka U.? Maybe I’d better just back off and leave it to Byron.

Time for a cigar.

‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ (Burl Ives)

It wasn’t easy to post this hymn. The computer kept giving me “Holly Jolly Christmas” instead. That has now vanished somewhere into cyberspace, and here is Burl Ives, O Little Town of Bethlehem.

Thank you for your prayers, everybody. I should be back to normal sometime this afternoon.

‘I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day’

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote these verses in 1863 at the height of the Civil War, and on the heels of personal tragedy: his wife died in a fire, and his son was severely wounded in battle.

Sung by Burl Ives, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.

‘What a Friend We Have in Jesus’ (Burl Ives)

The last thing I do on this blog, each night, is to load a hymn for the morning. This is an old Sunday school favorite–What a Friend We Have in Jesus–and I couldn’t resist the image of the flowing stream: I used to know places like that. Something to take to the Lord in prayer…