A Prairie Home Companion Camp-Song Songbook

Set 2, June 19


Boom chick a boom (repeating song)

I said a boom chick a boom (rep)
I said a boom chick a boom (rep)
I said a boom chick-a-racka chick-a-racka chick a boom (rep)
Oh yeah (rep)
Uh huh (rep)
One more time (rep)
Little louder (or little lower, higher, faster slower, quieter, etc) (rep)

Songs that get louder and louder would be the last song we would sing after lunch or supper. For a least an hour afterward the camp would be very q u i e t. - MM
Dean Kaplan (Now living in Johnson City, TN. Soon to be in Washington, DC).
Camp Minikani, Hubertus, WI


This is great coupled with My Name Is Yon Yonsin . . . - MM

John Jacob Jingle Heimer Schmitt

John Jacob Jingle Heimer Schmitt,
That's my name too...
Whenever I go out.
People always shout...
"John Jacob Jingle Heimer Schmitt,"
Da, da, da, da, da, da,
Repeat four times, each time softer, until on the last verse no sound
comes out except-
Da, da, da, da, da, da.

Todd Schilling, Verona, WI


Susannah Wesley
(Or, the real story of the beginning of Methodism)

Susannah Wesley had two sons
And these two sons were brothers.
John Wesley was the name of one
And Charlie was the other.
And Charlie was the o-ther
And Charlie was the o-ther!
John Wesley was the name of one
And Charlie was the other.

Now these two brothers had a shirt
It was both black and white.
John Wesley wore it all the day
And Charlie all the night.
And Charlie all the ni-ght.
And Charlie all the night.
John Wesley wore it all the day
and Charlie all the night.

Now these two brothers had a horse
Its ribs were made of tin.
John Wesley led it to the brook
And Charlie pushed it in.
And Charlie pushed it iiiin.
And Charlie pushed it iiiin.
John Wesley led it to the brook
And Charlie pushed it in.

Now these two brothers went to church
To hear the preacher shout.
John Wesley put a dollar in
And Charlie took it out.
And Charlie took it ooouuut.
And Charlie took it ooouuut.
John Wesley put a dollar in
And Charlie took it out.

(This last verse is sung with a catch in your voice and a tear in your eye)

(Another death song!) - MM

Now these two brothers had to die
It's very sad to tell.
John Wesley went to heaven.
And Charlie went----as well.
And Charlie went as weeellll.
And Charlie went as weeeelll.
John Wesley went to heaven
And Charlie went---as well.

Sung throughout Southern Illinois, particularly at Little Grassy United Methodist Camp near Carbondale in the sixties. I have taught it to every youth group I've served since 1977.

Rev. Susan Cox-Johnson, Community United Methodist Church, Columbia, MO
Yes, I was at PHC on May 28 in Columbia!!!


Walk, Shepherdess, Walk

CHORUS Walk, shepherdess, walk
and I'll walk, too
to find the ram with the ebony horn
and the gold footed ewe.

VERSE (I think)
The lamb with fleece like silver
like summer sea foam
and if we ever find them
we'll lead them all home.

There are other verses, but it's been 27 years since I attended Camp Mawavi (Ma - Maryland, Wa - Washington, Vi - Virginia) a Camp Fire Girls Camp near Quantico, Virginia, and I'm a bit rusty. This is probably a folk tune of some sort. I don't know the name of the tune, but if you call me, I'll sing it to you over the phone. My singing may not actually turn out to be helpful in identifying the tune, but it will give the caller a good chuckle.

I love your show, and have actually managed to interest my children in it as well. This is quite a feat. There is very little they agree on these days at ages 15, 12 and 7.

F Purkert


To be sung to the tune of "Pomp and Circumstance"

My reindeer flies sideways
Mine's better than yours.
My reindeer can cha cha
And she can open the doors.

My reindeer is purple
Yours is a pea green.
My reindeer's a Girl Scout
And she can dig a latrine.

Sung at Rancho del Chaparral Girl Scout Camp circa 1994.

Carol Kent, Los Lunas, New Mexico


Sickness and death. Can camp songs get any better? - MM

To the tune of O Tannenbaum

O little toad, o little toad
why did you hop onto the road?
You used to be so cautious,
but now you make me nauseous.
O little toad, etc.

You used to be so big and sweet,
but now you're just coyote meat,
O little toad etc.

You used to be so big and fat,
but now you're just a big red splat
O little toad o little toad, why did you jump into the road?

Sung at Rancho del Chaparral Girl Scout Camp (near Albuquerque, NM)

Carol Kent, Los Lunas, NM


To the Tune of "Hernando's Hideaway"

Be pre-sent at our table, Lord.
Be here, and ev'rywhere adored.
These mer-cies bless and grant that we
May faith-full for thy service be. A-men!

Sung at a Lutheran youth-group retreat as teenager attending Zion Lutheran Church in San Jose, CA (not really camp - I never got to do that :-( )

Susan Squires Cox, San Francisco, CA

Susan, go to camp. It's not too late. - MM


I'm afraid many people will submit this (it's a beloved classic) but I had to send my version:

Sung at Camp Renwickiup Girl Scout Camp (California)

Sung to the tune of: The Old Grey Mare, She Ain't What She Used To Be:

Great green gobs of greasy, grimy gopher guts
Hurdy gurdey birdie feet
Percolated monkey meat
French fried eyeballs swimmin' in a bowl of puss
that's what I had for lunch.
I forgot my spoon!

(last line is the "Good evening, friends...."-style tag line.)

Susan Squires Cox, San Francisco, CA

I think we sang this on a Lutheran youth group retreat weekend, but I'm not sure. Seems like this song has always been around.

It has. - MM



I don't know what the tune is called; hopefully you will recognize it:

Oh it's beer, beer, beer, that makes you want to cheer
On the farm, on the farm
Oh it's beer, beer, beer, that makes you want to cheer
On the Leland Stanford, Junior farm!

Repeat with "oh it's whisky, whisky, whisky, that makes you feel so frisky"
and
" oh it's gin, gin, gin that makes you want to grin"

There is probably a chorus that goes with this, but I've forgotten it.

Susan Squires Cox, San Francisco, CA





(TITLE UNKNOWN)

It's been a looooooooooooong summer.
What will the birdies do next, the poor things?
They'll fly to the south
with a worm in their mouth
and tuck their heads under their wings.
The poor things!

We sang this at Camp Bradfield, somewhere in Wisconsin (near LaCrosse?) in the 60's. It wasn't sung to the tune of another song; it had its own melody (which I could sing/play for you). I remember we always put a huge pause before the last line. I think we sang it four times, using a different season each time.

Yes, you did, Jay. Another of my favorite standards. - MM
Jay Blake, Minneapolis, MN (grew up in Wisconsin)





The following song could have been learned at Day camp, Girl Scouts or from being around Washington, DC in the fifties. Perhaps one of the reasons I became a psychologist interested in memory was having this song in my brain for so many years. Neither my parents or siblings know this song or where it came from. It has a calliope-type tune but unfortunately, I don't know its name. Give me a call and I'll sing it for you .

The lyrics:

Oh, I was born one night, one morn
when the whistle went "Toot, Toot."
You can fry an egg, or buy a cake
when the mudpies are in bloom.
Six and six make nine
And ayes/eyes grow on a vine. (This is oral memory.)
And ole Black Joe's an Eskimo
in the good ole summertime.

So, loopty-loop through your noodle soup
just to give your socks a shine.
I'm guilty judge, I ate the fudge
three cheers for Auld Lang Syne.
I can not tell a lie,
I ate an apple pie.
It's on a tree, beneath the sea
above the bright blue sky.

If Easter eggs, don't wash their legs
their children will have ducks.
I'd rather buy, a lemon pie
for forty-seven bucks.
Way down in Patagonia
They jump into the foamia
But that is all baloney-a
Paterowski blow your horn "Toot, Toot " !

Do you ever wonder what leads people to write like this? Grace Slick's lyrics have nothin' on this one! - MM
What a thing to have in your head. Take care what camp songs you learn !

Macy McCallister, Stockton, CA, A KUOP listener





I know you said only one e-mail, but I didn't read the directions on the post to the host. I got too excited about the Comet song. Anyway, this was sung at Martha's Vineyard Sailing Camp, and at Camp Green Erie in Harvard, Massachusetts, which is my hometown, and also whence these emails have been sent. We sang it because there was always a "unit" named Comet that also had the nastiest unit leaders...(Unit: the name of the section of camp to which you and no one you wanted to be with had been assigned)(so you spent the entire two weeks trying to figure out how to get together with your other friends who had been assigned to units with names like Whip-poor-will and Regatta - you sent letters home telling your parents how disgusting the food is and how you almost got killed by the boom, and at the end of the two weeks, when you emerged back to civilization, you invariably argued with your friends about who had a better time, about whose parents were the geekiest, and about how you will go back next summer and hope you get Comet again.)

I don't remember the name of the tune, which is a marching song, but you can call me and I'll sing it to you.

I was a camper for many years, many years ago, and singing by the campfire was my favorite daily activity. Unfortunately, all the sweet and poignant songs I learned have been buried under years of adult cynicism, and this is the song that first comes to mind now when I recall those fires. It always brings a chuckle to my son and his friends in the neighborhood.

We usually sang the vomit songs at our cookouts where invariably someone had just eaten too many hotdogs. - MM
Comet!
It makes your mouth turn green!
Comet!
It tastes like gasoline!
Comet!
It makes you vomit!
So drink some comet,
And vomit,
Today!

Of course, to find the work number to have me sing it to you, I would have to break the code of never leave a number on the net; yet....it's real fun to sing.

Helen Batchelder


(I don't know if it started as a camp song or folk song, but I learned it at camp)

I've Troubled For You

I've Troubled for you, from time to time
That's why nothing new (oo-oo-oo) can break the bind
It's the time you waste for them, that makes a friend a friend
Unique in all the world until the end

We've traveled for years, through mindless miles
And shed us some tears (eer-eer-eers), through aimless trials
And though you're old and worn
You're the only home I've known
Through memories stretched beyond so many dawns.

I find it hard to believe, that time brings change
Now all of my friends (eh-eh-ends) are broken with age
But what's essential you cannot see
I am responsible for my friends and they for me.

(Repeat first verse)

I don't know the name of the tune (sorry!) I learned the song at YMCA Camp Menogyn (not a camp for latent women haters! pronounced Men - o' - jen), which takes awkward kids and sends them into the Boundary Waters to learn about canoeing, mosquitoes, mud and true friendship - after a three week trip, we sang this at the final campfire back in base camp. There wasn't a dry eye in the group then, and I get a bit teary just typing up the words for you.

Wipe my tears from the Web site, too. - MM
Can't wait to catch the show!

Heather Flanagan Craig, Minneapolis, MN


Glory, glory hallelujah.
Teacher hit me with a ruler.
I bopped her on the bean
With a rotten tangerine,
And her teeth came falling out.
One, two...
Her teeth came falling out.

This is a song we sang in the 1940's in Mankato, MN in elementary school - at the lab school of Mankato State University when it was still Mankato State Teachers College (T.C. to us kids). It's sung to the tune of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."

Gary Marlow, 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).

Available now»

American Public Media © |   Terms and Conditions   |   Privacy Policy