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"How Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down on the Farm?" (Nora Bayes, 1919)

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Uploaded on Oct 14, 2008

America was as quick in getting out of Europe following World War One as she was tardy in entering that conflict. As a nation, we were forever transformed...America's involvement in World War One brought a change of character with it, and that change was felt nowhere more keenly than Rural America. Looking back, the family farm has been in decline ever since. Walter Donaldson wrote the music to this in 1919 (Joe Young and Sam M. Lewis wrote the words), and the song wound up being an overnight smash hit. It was recorded by nearly everyone, but no rendition was more sublimely spirited than this one, recorded for Columbia by Nora Bayes - a vaudeville talent of legendary proportions.

HOW YA GONNA KEEP 'EM DOWN ON THE FARM?

Reuben, Reuben, I've been thinking
Said his wifey dear
Now that all is peaceful and calm
The boys will soon be back on the farm
Mister Reuben started winking and slowly rubbed his chin
He pulled his chair up close to mother
And he asked her with a grin

How ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm
After they've seen Paree'
How ya gonna keep 'em away from Broadway
Jazzin around and paintin' the town
How ya gonna keep 'em away from harm, that's a mystery
They'll never want to see a rake or plow
And who the deuce can parleyvous a cow?
How ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm
After they've seen Paree'?

How ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm
After they've seen Paree'
How ya gonna keep 'em away from Broadway
Jazzin around and paintin' the town
How ya gonna keep 'em away from harm, that's a mystery
Imagine Reuben when he meets his Pa
He'll kiss his cheek and holler "OO-LA-LA!
How ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm
After they've seen Paree'?

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