View Full Version : Dead Farmer Songs

Feb-16-2004, 12:14pm
Looking to construct a set entirely composed of Dead Farmer Tunes. Reaching out to the mandocafe community for titles. Thanks!

Feb-16-2004, 1:57pm
Allison Kruass does a song that might work. #It's called "Never got Off the Ground" off of her Forget About It album. #The natator of the songs mentions her/his father who was a farmer who dies. #Great song.

Feb-16-2004, 2:03pm
Dylan's "Hollis Brown". Great stark images. He resurrected it for Live Aid and made quite an impression.

"You spent you last lone dollar on seven shotgun shells"

Feb-16-2004, 2:04pm
Check out "Cold and Lonely" by Slaid Cleaves. Killer song, on a killer album ("Broke Down" is the album. On Rounder.)

Feb-16-2004, 2:12pm
I can think of a few that are sort of tangential... Stan Rogers' "Field Behind The Plow" mentions a neighbor who died, and then there are various murder ballads. "Bruton town" comes to mind - some versions start wtih "In Bruton Town there lived a farmer", though in others it's a nobleman. You could probably find a version of the ghost song "Willie-O" that mentions something about the ghost having been a farmer in life.

If dead cowboy songs also count, "Murder Steer" is a good one.

Feb-16-2004, 2:57pm
The Suit by Hugh Prestwood as recorded by Jerry Douglas (and sung by James Taylor) on JD's LOOKING OUT FOR HOPE

JD's version of course has Dobro, lap steel and fiddle but this would work very nicely with some mando.

BTW - this is actually about a dead farmer, although you may not realize it until sometime into the lyric.[B]

Feb-16-2004, 4:33pm
The Fields Have Turned Brown - not directly on point, but his parents die while he's out ramblin' and they are presumably farmers (hence, the fields turning brown...)

Feb-16-2004, 4:44pm
Tom Waits - Bone Machine
<span style='color:red'>"Murder In The Red Barn"</span>

Flatt & Scruggs
"Darling Corey"

The Stanley Bros.
"He Went To Sleep And The Hogs Ate Him"

Coy Wylie
Feb-16-2004, 6:10pm
Not dead, but "wish that I was dead" because of the plow left in the field in "Old Home Place." Also consider "In My Next Life."

Feb-16-2004, 7:06pm
Here's an interesting one. #"Straw Hats and Old Dirty Hankies" by Murray MacLaughlin (Canadian). #

It's about a city kid driving along on a freeway, passing by an old farmer out on a tractor, who's wearing an old straw hat and swabbing the sweat off his face in the heat and the sun. #

And the kid's thinking as he drives along, what's this old guy all about? #Why does he keeps ploughing up ground when he's so old? #

And the kid begins to wistfuly think, wouldn't it be cool to have lunch with this old guy in his farmhouse, with his old-time sense of hospitality, and listen to his now-obsolete philosophy of generosity of spirit while the new world's mesage is all about "take, take, take"?

It's a great song, and only three chords, gernerally done in the key of 'A'. #FWIW

Scott Tichenor
Feb-16-2004, 7:24pm
Just Like You, by Hot Rize

Feb-16-2004, 11:13pm
Perhaps the best dead farmer song ever, "Look at them Beans," written by Joe Tex, recorded by Johnny Cash -- I think.

Bob Sayers
Feb-16-2004, 11:19pm
If you're looking for a lot of great songs about hard times on the farm, get the two CDs entitled "Hard Times Come Again No More" (Yazoo 2036 and 2037). Volume I is the better of the two, as it includes such classics as "My Name is John Johanna" (Kelly Harrell), "Down on Penny's Farm" (Bentley Boys), "All I've Got's Gone" (Ernest Stoneman), "How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live" (Blind Alfred Reed), and the Stephen Foster title song ("Hard Times Come Again No More"), which would be a great a capella number. Volume II has "Keno the Rent Man" (Cofer Brothers), "Got the Farm Land Blues" (Carolina Tar Heels), and others. And don't forget the song "Short Life of Trouble," which I guess you can assume is about a farm boy pining away for his love.


Feb-17-2004, 11:51am
Cool Thread.

Are you guys playing at a Farmer's Market? http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Michael Lewis
Feb-18-2004, 3:11am
I seem to recall one that Bill Monroe wrote about leaving the last harvest in the field for the critters.

Feb-18-2004, 3:39pm
Lester Flatt - I'd Like To Have Papa Show Me Around

Feb-18-2004, 3:49pm
Only tangentially a dead farmer song... more of a dead farmhouse song:

Carolina Pines, Kate Wolf.

"Once there were children and a few hired hands
hardworking woman and a bone-tired man
now the grass is growing green around the cabin door
nobody lives here anymore"