Goober Peas

DESCRIPTION: "Sitting by the roadside, on a summer's day... Lying in the shadows underneath the trees, Goodness how delicious, Eating goober peas." The southern soldier complains about army life, the battles, and the poor equipment; goober peas are his chief comfort
AUTHOR: unknown
KEYWORDS: food Civilwar nonballad
REFERENCES (11 citations):
Jackson-PopularSongsOfNineteenthCenturyAmerica, pp. 73-75, "Goober Peas" (1 text, 1 tune)
Arnold-FolkSongsofAlabama, p. 100, "Goober Peas" (1 short text, 1 tune)
Silber-SongsOfTheCivilWar, pp. 184-186, "Goober Peas" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-SoldierSongsAndHomeFrontBalladsOfCivilWar, pp. 54-55, "Goober Peas" (1 text, 1 tune)
Arnett-IHearAmericaSinging, p. 82, "Goober Peas" (1 text, 1 tune)
Botkin-TreasuryOfSouthernFolklore, p. 715, "Eating Goober Peas" (1 text, 1 tune)
Messerli-ListenToTheMockingbird, pp. 158-160, "Goober Peas" (1 text)
Darling-NewAmericanSongster, p. 351, "Goober Peas" (1 text)
Pankake/Pankake-PrairieHomeCompanionFolkSongBook, p. 10, "Goober Peas" (1 text)
Silber/Silber-FolksingersWordbook, p. 276, "Goober Peas" (1 text)

ST RJ19073 (Full)
Roud #11628
New Lost City Ramblers, "Goober Peas" (on NLCREP4)
NOTES [200 words]: First published in 1866 (with words credited to A. Pindar and music to "P. Nutt"!), we know from outside references that this song was popular with southern soldiers in the Civil War. It is particularly accurate as a description of the last few years of the war, when the complete breakdown of Confederate industry left the soldier ragged, and the loss of farmland and rail lines left them starving. Peanuts -- "goober peas" -- often served as an emergency ration for soldiers in Georgia and other parts of the south.
The phrase in the song, "Mister, here's your mule" is usually treated as a joke about the fancy horses ridden by some officers, but E. Lawrence Abel, Singing the New Nation: How Music Shaped the Confederacy, 1861-1865, Stackpole, 2000, pp. 162-163, has another explanation. A sutler (called "Pies" of all things) worked near Jackson, Tennessee, and had a mule which drew his wagon. On one occasion, the soldiers hid the mule, then pretended to search for it, occasionally shouting out, "Mister, here's your mule." Supposedly they eventually returned it, and the phrase went into the soldiers' lexicon. Possible, of course, but it really sounds like an explanation after the fact. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.3
File: RJ19073

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