Goober peas

"Goober Peas" sheet music, 1866

I had peanuts on the brain today. It started out with a few Goobers (the candy). Then I considered what an odd word “goober” is. I wikimedia’d “goober,” found this sheet music, wiki’d “goober peas,” and here we are.

Note that the real composer of this sheet music is A.E. Blackmarr, who credits A. Pindar and P. Nutt as the lyricist and composer, respectively. (A pindar is another word for peanut, along with ground nuts and ground peas.) Who says the South doesn’t have a sense of humor?

For those of you not in the know, goober peas are more than just peanuts. They’re boiled peanuts, which a lot of Southerners lived on at the end of the Civil War, after they lost their farms and were cut off from the rail lines.

I guess boiled peanuts are worth singing about when you’re hungry, but I never cared much for them myself — possibly the only peanut product that doesn’t attract me.

At any rate, this folk tune has been sung by people like Burl Ives, Tennessee Ernie Ford, and The Kingston Trio. In recent years, it was covered regularly in live performances by Elton John, although it’s never appeared on one of his albums.

This song bears the address of Canal Street, New Orleans.

Verse 1
Sitting by the roadside on a summer’s day
Chatting with my mess-mates, passing time away
Lying in the shadows underneath the trees
Goodness, how delicious, eating goober peas.
Peas, peas, peas, peas
Eating goober peas
Goodness, how delicious,
Eating goober peas.
Verse 2
When a horse-man passes, the soldiers have a rule
To cry out their loudest, “Mister, here’s your mule!”
But another custom, enchanting-er than these
Is wearing out your grinders, eating goober peas.
Verse 3
Just before the battle, the General hears a row
He says “The Yanks are coming, I hear their rifles now.”
He turns around in wonder, and what d’ya think he sees?
The Georgia Militia, eating goober peas. (Note: In some versions, “The Tennessee Militia” is sung instead.
Verse 4
I think my song has lasted almost long enough.
The subject’s interesting, but the rhymes are mighty tough.
I wish the war was over, so free from rags and fleas
We’d kiss our wives and sweethearts, and gobble goober peas.
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