The Shanty Boy and the Farmer's Son
(Collected by Ellen Stekert from Ezra "Fuzzy" Barhight, Recorded
by Stekert 1958 on Songs of a New York Lumberjack, Folkways
FA2354)(Tom Gibney sings "The Irish Girl" to the same tune)
As I strolled out one evening as the sun was going down,
I strolled along quite carelessly till I come to Scranton town.
There I overheard two ladies, as slowly I passed by
One said she loved her farmer's son, the other a shanty boy.
Now the one that loved the farmer's son, these words I heard her say;
The reason why she loved him, at home with her he'd stay.
He would stay at home all winter, to the woods he would not go
And when the spring it did come in, his land he'd plow and sow.
"Now as for plowing and sowing your land," the other one did say,
"If your crops should prove a failure, your debts you could not pay.
If your crops should prove a failure, or your grain market be low,
The sheriff ofttimes would sell those crops for to pay the debts you
"Now, there's no need of going in debt when you own a good farm,
For every day you earn your bread, not work through rain or storm.
For every day you earn your bread, not work through storm or rain,
While the shanty boy works hard all day his family to maintain."
"Now I don't like this soft talk," this other one did say,
"For some of them they are so green the cows would eat for hay;
How plainly you can tell him, when he rolls into town,
You'll hear them cry out from a small boy up 'Why Dick, how are you
"Now I do like my shanty boy that goes out in the fall,
For he is tough and rugged, and fit to stand the squall;
He gets big pay all winter and in the spring when he comes down,
His money with me he will spend free while the mossback sons have
"Well here is to your shanty boy, I hope you'll pardon me
And of my ignorant mossback, I'll try now and get free;
And if ever I gain my liberty, with a shanty boy I'll go,
And I'll leave that ignorant mossback with his land to plow and