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Big Rock Candy Mountain

Harry McClintock
Language: English

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La corsa
(Giorgio Gaber)
Quando sarà abolito il capitale
(Anonymous)


[1895]
Attribuita ad “Haywire Mac”, l’hobo name di Harry Kirby McClintock (1882-1957), cantante e poeta originario del Tennessee, che affermava di averla composta nel 1895 e che la incise nel 1928.
In realtà il brano è basato su preesistenti ballate sulla Cockaigne (da noi “Il paese della Cuccagna”), come "An Invitation to Lubberland", "The Appleknocker's Lament", "Hobo's Paradise", "Hobo Heaven", "Sweet Potato Mountains" e "Little Streams of Whiskey".
Harry Kirby McClintock girò letteralmente il mondo (dall’Africa, alle Filippine, alla Cina) facendo ogni sorta di lavoro. Negli USA, soprattutto in Ohio e Pennsylvania, viaggiò come hobo e cantante di strada. Fu un Wobblie, un militante del sindacato radicale Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) e fu il primo a cantare in pubblico le canzoni di Joe Hill dopo che il grande bardo del movimento operaio americano fu assassinato dallo Stato.

Harry McClintock


Big Rock Candy Mountain non è il paese della Cuccagna solo perché vi scorrono fiumi di latte e miele o, meglio, di salsiccia e whiskey… A Big Rock Candy Mountain i vagabondi possono stare tranquilli, che i poliziotti sono storpi (gambedilegno) e i loro cani hanno i denti di gomma, i guardiani della ferrovia sono ciechi, le prigioni sono fatte di latta e non ci sono chain-gangs e lavori forzati. E per di più la prima cosa che hanno fatto a Big Rock Candy Mountain è stato impiccare quel coglione che aveva inventato il lavoro…

Big Rock Candy Mountain

Big Rock Candy Mountain è uno standard interpretato da tutti i maggiori artisti folk e country americani, da Burl Ives a Cisco Houston a Pete Seeger.
La versione originale di Harry McClintock è quella inclusa nella colonna sonora del magnifico film “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” diretto nel 2000 dai geniali fratelli Joel ed Ethan Coen.

O Brother, Where Art Thou?
One evening as the sun went down
And the jungle fires were burning,
Down the track came a hobo hiking,
He said, "Boys, I'm not turning
I'm heading for a land that's far away
Beside the crystal fountain
I'll see you all this coming fall
In the Big Rock Candy Mountain

Oh, the buzzing of the bees in the cigarette trees,
By the soda water fountain
Near the lemonade springs where the bluebird sings
On the Big Rock Candy Mountain

In the Big Rock Candy Mountain,
It's a land that's fair and bright,
The handouts grow on bushes
And you sleep out every night.
The boxcars all are empty
And the sun shines every day
I'm bound to go where there ain't no snow
Where the sleet don't fall and the winds don't blow
In the Big Rock Candy Mountain.

Oh, the buzzing of the bees in the cigarette trees,
By the soda water fountain
Near the lemonade springs where the bluebird sings
On the Big Rock Candy Mountain

In the Big Rock Candy Mountain
You never change your socks
And little streams of alky-hol
Come trickling down the rocks
O the shacks all have to tip their hats
And the railway bulls are blind
There's a lake of stew and gingerale too
And you can paddle all around it in a big canoe
In the Big Rock Candy Mountain

Oh, the buzzing of the bees in the cigarette trees,
By the soda water fountain
Near the lemonade springs where the bluebird sings
On the Big Rock Candy Mountain

In the Big Rock Candy Mountain
The cops have wooden legs
The bulldogs all have rubber teeth
And the hens lay soft-boiled eggs
The box-cars all are empty
And the sun shines every day
I'm bound to go where there ain't no snow
Where the sleet don't fall and the winds don't blow
In the Big Rock Candy Mountain.

Oh, the buzzing of the bees in the cigarette trees,
By the soda water fountain
Near the lemonade springs where the bluebird sings
On the Big Rock Candy Mountain

In the Big Rock Candy Mountain
The jails are made of tin
You can slip right out again
As soon as they put you in
There ain't no short-handled shovels
No axes, saws nor picks
I'm bound to stay where you sleep all day
Where they hung the jerk that invented work
In the Big Rock Candy Mountain

Contributed by Bernart Bartleby - 2014/12/9 - 11:06


Questa “Poor Man's Heaven” (1930) del country singer e songwriter del Kansas Carson Robison (1890-1957) non è solo una versione ma proprio una canzone diversa dalla più celebre “Big Rock Candy Mountain”, con un accento vendicativo che manca al brano scritto da Harry McClintock…

Carson Robison


Però ne propongo il testo a commento perché credo che di canzoni simili sul tema del “paese della Cuccagna” se ne sfornassero molte all’epoca della Grande Depressione… chissà come mai?!?

POOR MAN'S HEAVEN

Now friends gather near, I want you to hear
A dream that I had last night
There's a land o'er the sea for you and for me
Where we won't have to struggle and fight.

There's real feather beds where we lay our heads
And a nice private room for each one
There's shoes with soles and pants without holes
And no work up there to be done

In Poor Man's Heaven, the land of the free
There's nothing up there but good luck
There's strawberry pie that's twenty feet high
And whipped cream they bring in a truck.

We'll own all the banks and shoot all the cranks
And we won't give a durn who we hurt
And the millionaire's son won't have so much fun
When we put him to shovelling dirt.

We'll know how it feels in automobiles
With a footman to open the door
And folks that get smart, we'll take them apart
And spread them all over the floor.

In Poor Man's Heaven, we'll run the whole place
And we won't have nothing to fear
We'll eat all we please, from ham and egg trees
That grow by a lake full of beer.

We'll live on champagne and ride on the train
And sleep in the Pullman at night
And if someone should dare to ask for our fare
We'll haul off and put out his lights.

We'll take a hand rail and open the jail
And let all the poor men out quick
And the sheriff's own mug we'll throw in the jug
And then throw the key in the creek.

In Poor Man's Heaven we'll have our own way
No salt pork and beans over there
But we will be fed our breakfast in bed
And served by a fat millionaire

We won't need to yearn for money to burn
'Cos we'll own a big money press
We'll run her full speed, and make all we need
And light our cigars with the rest.

The landlords we'll take and tie to a stake
And make 'em give back all our dough
Then we'll let them sweat, and learn what they get
When they go to that hot place below

In Poor Man's Heaven we'll own our own home
And we won't have to work like a slave
Then we will be proud to sing right out loud
The land of the free and the brave.

Bernart Bartleby - 2014/12/9 - 17:24



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