A Soundtrack for Farm Work

Decades ago, the background music for our teenage farm-work years came from transistor radios, cassette players, and static-filled box radios bolted to tractor fenders. Digital sound has changed that, and one source of ag tunes comes from YouTube parodies.

The Peterson Brothers are skilled at using current pop tunes to explain agriculture, and they communicate the dignity and hard work agriculture entails. In this parody of Skillet’s “Monster,” they show what it’s like to handle big equipment and bring in a harvest–“Forage Harvester.” 

Farmer Derek Klingenberg also produces farming videos that are fun–in this case he somehow turns haymaking into an activity that includes trampolines, zip lines, and milk chugging.

Analog Song List–Good, Bad, and Discordant
Although we didn’t sing quite so much when doing farm work in the 60s and 70s, I still get nostalgic for childhood days on the family farm when I watch these parody videos. Early morning sunrises with fog along the creek, cattle jostling at the feed bunk, riding in the back of the pickup truck, and wrestling with the farm dogs while unloading grain wagons–at times our farm work soundtrack may have included Simon and Garfunkel’s “Feelin’ Groovy” and the Young Rascals “It’s a Beautiful Morning.” 
However, there were moments when I viewed our farm chores in a different light–one tinged with sweat, dirt, and teenage angst. We had plenty of fun, and I would never trade the experience of growing up on a farm, but let’s be honest–some of the chores were tedious at best, torturous at worst. A few classic songs stuck like earworms in my head:
#1  ACDC’s “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”  –when the spreader chain broke in the field and we pitched manure back out after having pitched it in.
#2  Sam Cooke’s “Chain Gang”  –while picking up rocks from a barren cornfield in the back forty. 
#3  The Animals’ “We Gotta Get Outta This Place”  –while cleaning manure out of a neighbor’s dusty and claustrophobic chicken coop.
#4  B.B. King’s “The Thrill is Gone”  –while grabbing the last bale on the ninth hayrack load in a field of never-ending hay windrows.
#5 The Beatles’ “Hard Day’s Night”  –when driving in the final load of corn from the field, after dark on a cold October night.
#6 The Kinks’ “All Day and All of the Night”  –during farrowing time when the sows might decide any hour of the day was a good time for baby pigs.
#7 The Monkees’ “Daydream Believer”  –experienced in a trance after four hours of going back and forth on a four-row cultivator in a field with foot-high corn.
#8  The Stones’ “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction”  –in my early days of milking when I had no idea how to squeeze the milk out of our one Guernsey. Bossy the Cow didn’t get no satisfaction either.
#9 Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Wanna Work on Maggie’s Farm No More”  –toward the end of a session where we held and vaccinated a hundred or more baby pigs.
# 10 The Easybeats “Friday on My Mind”  –especially during the later teen/car years, but it was usually “Saturday on My Mind” when the pitchforks, tractors, and feed buckets were set aside for a spell. 
Note: I never did hum along with Johnny Paycheck’s “Take This Job and Shove It.” As I said above, even in my dazed and confused teen years, I knew how lucky I was to be raised on a farm. 
by dan gogerty (top photo from huffpost.com and bottom from livingthecountrylife.jpg)


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