A Prairie Home Companion Camp-Song Songbook

Set 1, June 19


Washer Woman I

Way down south where nobody goes
There's a wishy washy washer women washing her clothes
She goes "Ooh Ahh, Ooh Ahh" (accompanied by hip gesticulations)
And that's how the washer women washes her clothes
Wallyacha agootchie gootchie gootchie
Wallyacha agootchie gootchie gootchie
And that's how the washer woman washes her clothes

Sung at Camp Immokalee, Keystone Heights, Florida

Jennifer A. Ray, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL


Washer Woman II

Down in the jungle where nobody goes
There lives a wishy washy woman washing here clothes.
She says "Ooh Ahh, Goshy Goshy Goo"
She says "Ooh Ahh, Goshy Goshy Goo" (accompanied by hip gesticulations)
Down in the jungle where nobody goes
There lives a wishy washy woman washing her clothes.

Down in the jungle where nobody goes
There lives a wishy washy woman washing here clothes.
She says "Ooh Ahh, Goshy Goshy Goo"
She says "Ooh Ahh, Goshy Goshy Goo"
Down in the jungle where nobody goes
There lives a wishy washy woman washing her clothes.

Sung at Forest Day Camp in southern Cal.

Heber Ellsworth, Spring City Utah


The Doxology
(To the tune of Jamaican Farewell)

Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
Praise him all creatures here below,
Praise him above all heavenly hosts,
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,

(revolving arms like a referee calling traveling)
Amen, amen, amen, amen, amen HEY! 3X
Amen, amen, amen, amen.

The same words can be sung to the theme song of the Gillette Cavalcade of sports.

We have attended Cass Lake Episcopal Camp several times over recent years. Being a church camp, we find ourselves searching for the appropriate grace to say before meals.

Dick Roy


The kids at Camp Knutson had to be 13 or older to sing this song. - MM

There was a farmer who took a young miss
in back of the barn where he gave her a....

Lecture on horses, and chickens, and eggs
and told her that she had such beautiful..

Manners that suited a girl of her charm
the kind that he wanted to take in his...

Washing and ironing and then as she did
they would get married and raise lots of...

SWEET VIOLETS...SWEETER THAN ALL THE ROSES...
COVERED ALL OVER FROM HEAD TO TOE
COVERED ALL OVER WITH SWEET VIOLETS....

My sisters and I sang this song at Camp Bendito in Harrison, ME when we were kids which was only yesterday of course!

Margaret Smith, Northampton, MA and Catherine Smith Seda, Princeton, New Jersey


I remember this from Camp St. Moir - a Catholic boys camp. We never sang about washed away sins or redemption. One of my favorites, for many reasons. - MM

You Can't Get To Heaven

This song is from every Church Camp I've been to. The title is, ironically, "You Can't Get To Heaven." We seemed enthusiastic about how NOT to get to Heaven. Except for the cryptic last line that only the 'in crowd' would understand we didn't seem keen on sharing the directions with anyone else. Verses were often made up on the spot.

It had it's own tune that you can hear just by reading the words. The real musical part was in the one word per verse that you ho-o-o-old.

O you can't get to heaven, (o you can't get to heaven)
On roller skates, (on roller skates)
O you can't get to heaven, (o you can't get to heaven)
on roller ska-a-a-ates.
O you can't get to heaven on roller skates
you'll roll right past those pearly gates,
all my sins are washed away, I've been redeemed.

O you can't get to heaven, (echo)
In a big, fine car, (echo)
O you can't get to heaven (echo)
In a big fine car-a-a-ar.
O you can't get to heaven in a big, fine car
A big fine car can't drive that far
all my sins are washed away, I've been redeemed.

O you can't get to heaven (echo)
In a Kleenex box, (echo)
O you can't get to heaven, (echo)
In Kleenex bo-o-o-ox,
O you can't get to heaven in a Kleenex box
God don't like no dirty snots,
all my sins are washed away, I've been redeemed.

Of course this last verse seems to be contrary to the gospel message of God embracing a world of snots (Or roller skaters! - MM) through Jesus but we never let theology get in the way of a snappy tune. Anyway, that's one that sticks with me and comes, unwelcomed, in to my mind late at night on long road trips and then won't go away.

Thanks, I'll be humming this one all day.

Brian Metzger, Summerside, Prince Edward Island


Sung to the tune of Marine Hymn (a verse)

"My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.
He is driving down the alley in a pink and yellow Ford.
With one hand on the throttle and the other on a bottle
of Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer. Glory, glory etc."

Sung at: Camp Redwood Glen in the Santa Cruz Mts (Calif.) in 1955

Jim Respess, San Diego, CA


I learned this tune from my brothers while they were in the Boy Scouts. I'm not sure whether it was ever sung in a formal "camp" setting, but I do remember them singing it with glee around the ages of 12 or so. I grew up in a small Wisconsin town by La Crosse, I found this to be rather "forbidden" and to this day i remember every verse! It's a little "off" color, but I thought you'd enjoy it anyway. My husband's eyes bugged in amazement when he listened to my recollection. While it doesn't have any actual common "tune," the meter is pretty rhythmic. Here it goes:

Scrotum
Scrotum,
S-c-r-o-t-u-m

Scrotum,
Scrotum,
Without 'em you'd be a fem

They're fuzzy,
They're furry,
They're full of hair,

Wwwwhhhhhaaaaattt would you do if they wasn't there?

Oooohhhhh,
Scrotum,
Scrotum,
S-c-r-o-t-u-m.

The end, thanks for bringing back a fond memory of sibling existence. Sincerely,

Laura de Poorter Hope that all is well...
Joseph, Laura and Peetee the wonder dog......


To the tune "Blessed Be the Tie That Binds"

My froggie, he am an odd bird . . .
He ain't go no tail almost hardly.
He run and he jump and he fall on his sit---
Where he ain't got no tail almost hardly.

**Second verse, which has absolutely no relation to first**

I know just how ugly I are.
My face it ain't no shining star.
But I do not mind it because I'm behind it--
The feller out front gets the jar!

This is from Girl Scout Camp Sacajawea in Lynchburg, VA where I spent many summer sessions. Camp songs were sung on the bus to and from camp (it was a day camp) and my biggest regret was that my sister and I were the next to last stop before we got to camp! So we were almost the last on the bus and first off in the afternoon. (For some that would be a blessing, Patti. - MM)

Patti Tabor Kildoo, Richmond, VA


Black Socks
Perfect for camp! Why did mom always send white? - MM

Black socks,
They never get dirty,
The longer you wear them,
The blacker they get!

Someday, I think I shall launder them,
Something keeps telling me:
Don't do it yet,
Not yet,
Not yet,
Not yet....

Note: This song should be sung loud and, if possible, in an extremely bad round. Those are the two things which make the camp song so truly unique.

Michael Hendrickson


PINK PAJAMAS I
Sung to the tune of "Battle Hymn of the Republic"

I wear my pink pajamas in the summer when it's hot
I wear my flannel nightie in the winter when it's not
And sometimes in the springtime
And sometimes in the fall
I slip between the covers with nothing on at all!

Glory, glory, halleluja,
Glory, glory what's it to ya,
Balmy breezes blowin' though ya
With nothing on at all.

We sang this on most (if not all) of our Boy Scout camping trips back in the 70's.

Matthew. P. Harris


PINK PAJAMAS II
(To the tune of Battle Hymn of the Republic)

Oh I wear my pink pajamas
in the summer when it's hot

And I wear my long, white flannels
in the winter when it's not

And sometimes in the springtime
and sometimes in the fall
I JUMP between the sheets
with nothing on at all!

Glory, glory hallelujah
Glory, glory what's it to ya
Glory, glory hallelujah
If I JUMP between the sheets
with nothing on at all!

I first sang this song as a Boy Scout, back in the late 60's. It remains my favorite camp song.

Michael Hyde, Garden Grove, CA


Girl Scouts in the Thousand Islands Council in the far North Country of New York (read: South Ontario) taught me this song a couple of years ago. I have successfully passed it on to adults at a PTA conference, and I'm happy to share it here.

Pink Pajamas III(sung to Battle Hymn of the Republic)

I wear my pink pajamas in the summer when it's hot.
I wear my flannel nightie in the winter when it's not.
And sometimes in the springtime and sometimes in the fall
I jump into my little bed with nothing on at all.

Glory, glory, what's it to ya?
Glory, glory, what's it to ya?
Glory, glory, what's it to ya?
When I jump into my little bed with nothing on at all! YEAH!

I'll take credit for the Pink Pajamas song, even though I do feel bad about abusing the memory of Julia Ward Howe by parodizing her serious work

Mary Ann Offer, Duxbury, Massachusetts


Sung to "Stars and Stripes Forever," I think

"Be kind to your web-footed friends,
For a duck may be somebody's mother
Be kind to your friends in the swamp
Where the weather is very very damp (domp-rhymes with swamp)

Now you may think that this is the end
Well it is!

Song sung at Boy Scout Camp Frank Rand near Chimayo, NM (above Santa Fe)

Paul Griffin, Albuquerque, NM


The tune is unique to this song (and usually unique for each person singing it).

To-po-nee-be, To-po-nee-be how you make me shiver
with your old dining hall, and your little dinky river.

Oh, I love you with my heart,
and I love you with my liver.

To-po-nee-be (CLAP, CLAP)

To-pe-nee-be (CLAP)

My fondest memory of camp was being convinced by the rest of my Boy Scout troop that I should be proud for "winning" at strip poker during my time playing it at camp. What did you win? - MM

Rudy Kohn, Michigan City, IN


I like these haunting lyrics. - MM

Barges

Out of my window looking in the night, I can see the barges' flickering
light. Silently flows the river to the sea and the barges do go silently.

Chorus:

Barges, I would like to go with you. I would like to sail the ocean blue.
Barges, are there treasures in your hold, do you fight with pirates brave
and bold?

Song from Girl Scout Camp Four Echoes, Lake Coeur d'Alene, Idaho and/or Camp Lutherhaven, Lake Couer d'Alene. As far as I know, it has its own tune, not a copied one. I can only sing the tune; Hopefully your camp director will know the tune!

Linda Griffiths, Spokane, WA (see you in Seattle June 28).


This is mostly a drinking song.

Oh it's whiskey, whiskey, whiskey, that make you feel so frisky, on the
farm, on the farm, repeat, on the Leland Stanford Farm.

Oh it's gin, gin, gin, that makes you want to sin, on the farm, etc.

Oh it's vodka, vodka, vodka, that makes you think you wanta, on the farm,
etc.

Edward Donaldson


I always did like the camp songs about death - like the Titanic: "Husbands and wives, little children lost their lives"; Clementine: "Blowing bubbles soft and fine"; Go Tell Aund Rhody: "The old gray goose is dead." - MM

Don't jump off of the Roof, Dad

He came home from work feeling tired
the bus had been driving him mad
the kids started fighting, the dog bit him too
and supper was nothing but leftover stew

(refrain: "leffft overrrr stewwww")
He couldn't take it much longer
up to the rooftop he fled
He was about to jump off
when my dear little sister just said

Ohhhhh...don't jump off of the roof, dad
you'll make a dent in the yard
Mother was planting petunias
the weeding and seeding was hard

If you must get it over
won't you please give us a break?
Just take a walk to the park, Dad
and there you can jump in the lake.

Mother had heard the commotion
she came out to see what it was
there was Dad...perched on the edge
ready to fall with the weight of the sledge

She let out a scream and cried "Sweetheart...
don't do this terrible deed
he was about to fall off when
she tearfully started to plead

Ohhhhh...don't jump off of the roof, Dad
you'll make a dent in the yard
Mother was planting petunias
the weeding and seeding was hard

If you must get it over
won't you please give us a break?
Just take a walk to the park, Dad
and there you can jump in the lake.

--don't remember any more. It was one helluva fun song back then.

William Gobel


Something appealing about this image. - MM

Here are the lyrics to one I've known since my camper days at Camp Lakamaga:

Dirty Lil, dirty Lil
Lived in a cave on the side of the hill.
Never washed, never will
phut ding (spitting sound) dirty Lil.

The tune is unique to the song.

Bonnie Marron, St. Paul, MN


MY ALL-TIME FAVORITE! I know at least four other verses, each as dire as the next. - MM

This all I can recall of this little ditty:

Oh they built the ship Titanic to sail the ocean blue
And they thought they had a ship that the water would never
go through, but the Lord raised up his hands and said that ship
would never land.

(There may be more verses but I believe this is the chorus)

It was sad when that great ship went down to the bottom of sea.
Husband and wives little children lost their lives. Oh it was sad when
that great ship went down to the bottom of the sea.

What always slayed me about this song, was that it's quite rousing and upbeat in tempo, despite the little children losing their lives.

I remember singing it as a Campfire girl in the late 1960's and early 70's. I've heard it performed on The Morning Program, but the tune is slightly different from what I remember. I think Spider John Koerner does the Titanic song on his album, "Raised by Humans," but Jim Ed Poole (aka Tom Keith) would know.

Rene Rosengren, Minneapolis, MN


Set 1 - Set 2 - Set 3 - Set 4 - Set 5 - Set 6 - Set 7 - Set 8 - Set 9 - Set 10

Camp-Song Songbook

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

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