Saturday, July 04, 2015

"Eating Goober Peas" -- a Civil War novelty song for Prairieland Strings' jam session Tuesday

Last week I was asked by the dulcimer club in Petersburg to tab out "Eating Goober Peas" in DAD tuning, and it's such a fun song I decided to introduce in at Tuesday's session of the Prairieland Strings, meeting at 7 p.m. at Atonement Lutheran Church, 2800 West Jefferson, Springfield. It needs no introduction, but I found a couple of YouTube videos.

But first, a plug: The Petersburg folks have been invited to take part in a Civil War re-enactment during the Illinois State Fair in August. It's an honor, and I'll bet they have a lot of fun. Watch for them.

Two clips below:

  • The first is an old video of longtime folk singer Burl Ives and an impossibly young-looking Johnny Cash singing it on a TV show (Johnny Cash's? during the 60s?). Their vocals more than make up for the irritating studio band backing them.

  • The second is an audio clip with still pictures, of a performance by the 2nd South Carolina String Band of Gettysburg, Pa. They're a feature at the big re-enactments on the East Coast, and they make a decent effort at recreating the spirit of Civil War-era music with a contemporary folk and old-time string band sound. For what it's worth, I think they square that circle admirably. Always worth a listen.

The fount of all human knowledge at tells us that "Eating Goober Peas" was first published in 1866 by A. E. Blackmar in New Orleans, with words attributed to A. Pindar and music to P. Nutt. Before you take that too seriously, however, you should know that "Pindar" is another word for the peanut and "P. Nutt" is ... well, take another look at it!

JPEG files of the original are available online in the Lester S. Levy Sheet Music Collection on the Johns Hopkins University website at Dulcimer players take note -- the original is in D! That means people who aren't high sopranos can sing it.

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