Definitions

Goober_Peas

Goober Peas

[goo-ber]
"Goober Peas" is a traditional folk song mostly known in the Southern United States. It was popular with Confederate soldiers during the American Civil War, and is still sung frequently in the South to this day. It is frequently covered by pop singer Elton John during live shows, though has yet to appear in any of his studio releases. It has also been sung by Burl Ives, Tennessee Ernie Ford and The Kingston Trio.

The lyrics of "Goober Peas" are a fairly accurate description of daily life during the last few years of the Civil War for Southerners. After being cut off from the rail lines and their farm land, they had little to eat aside from boiled peanuts (or "goober peas") which often served as an emergency ration, especially in Georgia.

Publication date on the earliest sheet music is 1866, published by A. E. Blackmar in New Orleans. Blackmar, perhaps humorously, lists A. Pindar as the lyricist and P. Nutt as the composer.

Lyrics

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.

Chorus2x
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 rough.
I wish the war was over, so free from rags and fleas
We'd kiss our wives and sweethearts, and gobble goober peas.

Folk versions

The Reverand Wayland Fuller Dunaway recorded a stanza of the song he heard while imprisioned at the Union prison on Johnson's Island, Ohio, during the latter part of the Civil War. Dunaway had been a captain in Co. I, 40th Virginia, when captured during the Battle of Falling Waters in July 1863. His stanza:
But now we are in prison and likely long to stay,
The Yankees they are guarding us, no hope to get away;
Our rations they are scanty, 'tis cold enough to freeze,—
I wish I was in Georgia, eating goober peas.
Peas, peas, peas, peas,
Eating goober peas;
I wish I was in Georgia, eating goober peas.
Stanza of a Prison Song.

References

Bibliography

  • Dunaway, Wayland Fuller. Reminiscences of a Rebel. New York: The Neale Publishing Company (1913).
  • Pindar, A., Esq. (w.); Nutt, P., Esq. (m.). "Goober Peas" (sheet music). New Orleans : A.E. Blackmar (1866).

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