25 “Down on Penny’s Farm” by The Bently Boys

9

June 17, 2009 by gadaya

The Bently Boys World/The Penny’s Farm Variations



The Bently Boys, from which we know nothing except that they were from North Carolina, recorded “Down on Penny’s Farm” in 1929 for Columbia Records. It featured banjo and guitar and the flip side track “Henhouse Blues” feaured also a fiddle player. Apparently they didn’t record anything else but their version of “Penny’s farm”, thanks to the Anthology, inspired the young Bob Dylan for one of the first song he wrote when he came to New York City, “Hard times in New York Town”. It would also inspire him to write his “Maggie’s Farm” a few years after. Harry Smith said that “Penny’s farm” was “a regionalized recasting of an earlier song called “Hard times”. On this page of “Mudcat cafe”, there’s an interesting discussion about the song and its origin and it feaures the lyrics of the Bently Boys version as well.

-Listen to the flip side track of “Down on Penny’ farm”: “Henhouse Blues” by The Bently Boys

-“Penny’s Farm” was done quite often in the recent years by folk musicians and old-time string bands,including a very unusual version on an album called “Wayne Horvitz:Joe Hill:16 Actions for Orchestra, Voices and Soloist”, a parody version called ” Down on the funny farm” by the Good Rockin’ Daddies…In the 1930’s, Gid Tanner (with Riley Puckett) did his version and called it “Tanner’s farm. During the folk revival, Pete Seeger recorded the song and a variant called “Hard times in the mines”. His brother Mike did as well with “Hard times in these mines”.

Enjoy!

TRACK LISTgid___riley

  1. Down On Penny’s Farm, The Bently Boys, from The Anthology Of American Folk Music
  2. Down On Penny’s Farm, Jeff Warner and Jeff Davis, from Old Time Songs for Kids
  3. Down On the Funny Farm, Good Rockin’ Daddies, from Born to Boogie
  4. Penny’s Farm, Lost Mountain String Band, from Waiting for the Boogerboo
  5. Penny’s Farm, The Holy Modal Rounders, from Too Much Fun!
  6. Hard Times in These Mines, Mike Seeger, from Tipple, Loom & Rail
  7. Penny’s Farm, Tom Akstens and Neil Rossi, All Around the Mountain
  8. On Tanner’s Farm, Gid Tanner & Riley Puckett, from Early Country, Vol. 1
  9. Joe Hill: Action 11 – Hard Time in the Country,Danny Barnes, Northwest Sinfonia, Bill Frisell, Rinde Eckert, Robin Holcomb, from Wayne Horvitz: Joe Hill: 16 Actions for Orchestra, Voices, and Soloist
  10. Penny’s Farm, Pete Seeger,from Darling Corey/Goofing-Off Suite
  11. Penny’s Farm ,Pete Constantini, from We Won’t Move: Songs of the Tenants’ Movement
  12. Penny’s Farm, Olav Undeland, from Riding The Blind
  13. Hard Times in the Mill, Pete Seeger, from American Industrial Ballads
  14. Down on Pennys Farm, Natalie Merchant, from The House Carpenters Daughter
  15. Hard Times In New York Town, Bob Dylan, from The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3 : Rare And Unreleased, 1961-1991

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butterfly1965

-Here’s an interesting and funny clip of a 1960’s documentary about “young beatnicks” in England. In the beginning, a young Wizz Jones (british folk/Blues singer and guitar player) is doing a parody song using “Down on Penny’s Farm”

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Down On Penny’s Farm Bently Boys Anthology Of American Folk Music

Down On Penny’s Farm Jeff Warner and Jeff Davis Old Time Songs for Kids
Down On the Funny Farm Good Rockin’ Daddies Born to Boogie
Penny’s Farm Lost Mountain String Band Waiting for the Boogerboo
Penny’s Farm The Holy Modal Rounders Too Much Fun!
Hard Times in These Mines Mike Seeger Tipple, Loom & Rail: Songs of the Industrialization of the S
Penny’s Farm Tom Akstens and Neil Rossi All Around the Mountain
On Tanner’s Farm Gid Tanner & Riley Puckett Early Country, Vol. 1
Joe Hill: Action 11 – Hard Time in the Country – Danny Barne Danny Barnes Wayne Horvitz: Joe Hill: 16 Actions for Orchestra, Voices, a
Penny’s Farm Pete Seeger Darling Corey/Goofing-Off Suite
Penny’s Farm – Pete Constantini Pete Constantini We Won’t Move: Songs of the Tenants’ Movement
Penny”S Farm Olav Undeland Riding The Blind
Hard Times in the Mill Pete Seeger American Industrial Ballads
Down on Pennys Farm Natalie Merchant The House Carpenters Daughter
Hard Times In New York Town Bob Dylan The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3 : Rare And Unreleased, 1961-1991 [Disc 1]Down On Penny’s Farm Bently Boys Anthology Of American Folk Music
Down On Penny’s Farm Jeff Warner and Jeff Davis Old Time Songs for Kids
Down On the Funny Farm Good Rockin’ Daddies Born to Boogie
Penny’s Farm Lost Mountain String Band Waiting for the Boogerboo
Penny’s Farm The Holy Modal Rounders Too Much Fun!
Hard Times in These Mines Mike Seeger Tipple, Loom & Rail: Songs of the Industrialization of the S
Penny’s Farm Tom Akstens and Neil Rossi All Around the Mountain
On Tanner’s Farm Gid Tanner & Riley Puckett Early Country, Vol. 1
Joe Hill: Action 11 – Hard Time in the Country – Danny Barne Danny Barnes Wayne Horvitz: Joe Hill: 16 Actions for Orchestra, Voices, a
Penny’s Farm Pete Seeger Darling Corey/Goofing-Off Suite
Penny’s Farm – Pete Constantini Pete Constantini We Won’t Move: Songs of the Tenants’ Movement
Penny”S Farm Olav Undeland Riding The Blind
Hard Times in the Mill Pete Seeger American Industrial Ballads
Down on Pennys Farm Natalie Merchant The House Carpenters Daughter
Hard Times In New York Town Bob Dylan The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3 : Rare And Unreleased, 1961-1991 [Disc 1]Down On Penny’s Farm Bently Boys Anthology Of American Folk Music
Down On Penny’s Farm Jeff Warner and Jeff Davis Old Time Songs for Kids
Down On the Funny Farm Good Rockin’ Daddies Born to Boogie
Penny’s Farm Lost Mountain String Band Waiting for the Boogerboo
Penny’s Farm The Holy Modal Rounders Too Much Fun!
Hard Times in These Mines Mike Seeger Tipple, Loom & Rail: Songs of the Industrialization of the S
Penny’s Farm Tom Akstens and Neil Rossi All Around the Mountain
On Tanner’s Farm Gid Tanner & Riley Puckett Early Country, Vol. 1
Joe Hill: Action 11 – Hard Time in the Country – Danny Barne Danny Barnes Wayne Horvitz: Joe Hill: 16 Actions for Orchestra, Voices, a
Penny’s Farm Pete Seeger Darling Corey/Goofing-Off Suite
Penny’s Farm – Pete Constantini Pete Constantini We Won’t Move: Songs of the Tenants’ Movement
Penny”S Farm Olav Undeland Riding The Blind
Hard Times in the Mill Pete Seeger American Industrial Ballads
Down on Pennys Farm Natalie Merchant The House Carpenters Daughter
Hard Times In New York Town Bob Dylan The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3 : Rare And Unreleased, 1961-1991 [Disc 1]

9 thoughts on “25 “Down on Penny’s Farm” by The Bently Boys

  1. inthealley says:

    Thanks for your usual sensitive posting. Just a suggestion ….. I think that in addition to Hard Times In New York, Bob Dylan also took Maggies Farm from The Bently Boys … if not the melody then at least the idea, and it is great to see this old song in such a furiously modern setting.

    • gadaya says:

      I mentioned in my introduction “Maggie’s farm” but didn’t include it in my compilation because i think most people have this song on record and i felt it’s not a real “variation” of the song, but rather a new creation.

  2. Jerf says:

    I love your work on this blog, and this is one of my favorite songs from the Anthology — I’ve always especially liked Gid Tanner’s version, as that was the first one I knew about! Thanks for doing this thing!

  3. Crab Devil says:

    Thanks for this post — and, by the way, for undertaking this whole ineffably marvelous project.

  4. magus says:

    Just to add my thanks to the others. For this and the two previous invaluable gifts: thanks so much.

  5. Karen Barry says:

    I wonder if anyone has any info on some old texas country western groups. The Texas Blue Boys and Big D Ranchhands. They would have been in Dallas Tx around the 1930’s. One of the members would have been Roland Campbell. They played about the time “Pappy”W Lee O’Daniel was Texas governor. I appreciate anybodies help. Roland Campbell was my
    grandfather.Thank you, Karen Barry

  6. Thanks for gathering this great collection – also for some helpful links.

  7. Randall says:

    I wonder if anyone thought of Dickens. Why the Dickens? Because of his short novel, written out of his own need for money in 1854, entitled “Hard Times”. Furthermore, as a friend and I were just discussing the other day, there is Dylan’s “Good as I Been to You” track, entitled “Hard Times Come Again No More”. This song is in Roud’s Folk Index and is dated to 1854 (check wikipedia page for verification), published in NY by Firth, Pond, and Co. It would be interesting to know who was first; Dickens and his novel, or the American folk song?

  8. zipptydoodah says:

    Reblogged this on youdonthavetolovemeanymore and commented:
    Just finding out some stuff I can do and I like this song, so thought I would share it

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