A Prairie Home Companion Camp-Song Songbook

Set 3, June 20


Here's a song for your collection — I remember this from a children's magazine years ago.

Sung to the tune of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame"

Take me out of this camp, please
Take me out of this zoo
I'm sick and tired of arts and crafts
And diving off all the same crummy rafts
All we do in crafts is make ashtrays
No one I know even smokes
So its Smash, Mash, Bash all the ashtrays
In three quick strokes.

When I first came here I liked it
That was two days ago
Since then I've made macaroni beads
Bracelets and rings out of dried pumpkin seeds
I've made earrings carved out of leather
Brooches and Pins what a joy
But these jewels mean nothing to me
Because I'm a Boy!

Hope you can use this one!

Flossie Hough, Jackson Center, PA


The Little Brown Mouse I

Oh the liquor was spilled on the barroom floor,
And the place was closed for the night.
When out of the dark came a little brown mouse,
To sit in the pale moonlight.

He lapped up the liquor on the barroom floor,
And back on his haunches he sat.
And all night long, you could hear him shout;
"Bring on that gosh-darned cat! "

I used this song for years as a warm-up at adult campfire singalongs at which I played the guitar and got people to sing and enjoy the outdoors. Sometimes it's hard to get strangers to sing and enjoy each other, but a little tune like this can often get things going by breaking down false barriers. I learned it from a shipmate of mine while in the Navy during the Korean War.

Gene Starns, Salem, OR

There should be more singing during wars. And this is a good one to sing! - MM



This song was popular in Boy Scout Camp Grizzly, Potlatch, Idaho in the 60's:

The Little Brown Mouse II

Ohhh, the liquor was spilled on the bar room floor,
and the bar was closed for the night.
Whennn, out of his hole came a little brown mouse,
and sat in the pale moonlight.

Heee, lapped up the liquor on the bar room floor,
and then on his haunches he sat.
Aaaand all through the night you could hear him shout.....
(dramatic pause)
"BRING ON THE G*D D*MN CAT!!!!!

Kristjan L. Dye, Cheney, WA

PS. Sorry, I don't know the tune it is sung to. I could sing it for you but I don't know what it is based from.


From Camp B'nai Brith, Haliburton, Ontario, late 60s:
Sung to the tune of Davy Crockett

Born on a mountaintop in Palestine
Raised on Cafilte fish and Mogan David wine
Had his bar mitzvah when he was only nine
His name wasn't Crockett, it was ...Silverstein

L. Grader, now of Durham, N.C., previously of Toronto, Ont.

P.S. Cafilte is pronounced CAH-FIL-TEH. It's an East European fish ball.


Here are two camp songs I remember.

This one is one my twin sisters learned at Girl Scout camp in the late sixties. They nearly drove my Mom and Dad, and the rest of us, nuts singing it in the car on vacation. The tune is not a familiar one, but I can hum it.

Just plant a watermelon on my grave and let the juice (make slurping sound here) seep through.
Just plant a watermelon on my grave, that's all I ask of you.
Now Southern fried chicken is mighty, mighty fine, but all I want is a watermelon vine.
So, plant a watermelon on my grave and let the juice, (slurp again here) seep through.

This one I learned at Girl Scout camp in the late sixties. It refers to Camp Arnold, which is just north of Houston. Actually it's now in the 'burbs, but it used to be in the country.

Sung to the tune of "I Know a Place Where No One Ever Goes..."

I know a place where no one likes to go,
There's peace and quiet, beauty and repose.
It's hidden in the bushes, beside a small ravi-i-ne,
The place that I am thinking of is Arnold's latri-i-nes.
Oh, how I wish I never had to go,
Cause when you do, you have to hold your nose.
Now, I know that flusher bowls were made for me.

Ellen S. Davis, Houston, TX

Call me morbid, call me off-colored: I like these, Ellen! - MM


Here's a favorite of mine that I understand is still sung in better campfire circles. Each line is sung by a leader, and the rest of the group echoes the line. At the end of each verse, both the leader and the group sing the entire verse together.

This was one of those rarely sung songs at Camp Knutson, but enjoyed all the more. - MM
The Bear Song

The other day (echo: The other day)
I saw a bear (I saw a bear)
Out in the woods (Out in the woods)
A way out there (A way out there)

Both groups together:
The other day I saw a bear,
Out in the woods a way out there.

He looked at me
I looked at him.
He sized up me,
I sized up him.

He says to me,
Why don't you run?
'For I see you ain't
Got any gun?

I says to him,
That's a good idea!
So come my feet,
Let's up and flee!

And so I ran
Away from there,
But right behind
Me was that bear!

Ahead of me
I see a tree.
A great big tree,
Oh GLORY BE!

The lowest branch
Was 10 feet up.
I'd have to jump
And trust to luck.

And so I jumped
Ito the air
But I missed that branch
away up there!

Now don't you fret
And don't you frown
Cause I caught that branch
On the way back down!

There is no more.
This is the end
Unless I meet
That bear again.

Enjoy, and please feel free to call me for the tune if you need to do so.

Chris Morrison (ex-Girl Scout and Song Leader)


Camp Grier
How I love ya
How I love ya
Down In the Valleyyyyyy
I'd give the world to be
Down in good old
c-a-m-p
g-r-i-e-r
The folks back home will see me no more
As I pull up on lake refuge shore!

Sung to it's own tune, generally okay for the deaf of tone, the official tune of Camp Grier in Old Fort, NC.

F Oliphant, Hendersonville, NC


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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