“Down on Penny's Farm”


"Hard times in the country, Down on Penny's farm." The renters are subjected to dreadful conditions: Bad land, houses with "no windows but the cracks in the wall," low income, high expenses -- and a threat of going on the chain gang for debt


Bascom Lamar Lunsford has the "Roberts' Farm" version from a Claude Reeves of North Carolina, who claimed to have written it around 1935. It would seem, however, that this was only a local adaption. - RBW

Bob Dylan wrote a parody/pastiche of this song entitled "New York Town". -PJS

And, of course, Gid Tanner produced a version about his own farm! - RBW


  • Bently Boys, "Down on Penny's Farm" (Columbia 15565-D, 1930; rec. 1929; on AAFM1, HardTimes1)
  • Pete Seeger, "Penny's Farm" (on PeteSeeger02, PeteSeegerCD01)


  1. Lomax-FSNA 147, "Down on Penney's Farm" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Darling-NAS, p. 362, "Down on Penny's Farm" (1 text)
  3. Asch/Dunson/Raim, p. 66 "Down on Penny's Farm" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Greenway-AFP, pp. 216-217, "Down on Roberts' Farm" (1 text)
  5. Silber-FSWB, p. 119, "Robert's Farm" (1 text)
  6. Roud #6687
  7. BI, LoF147


Alternate titles: “On Tanner's Farm”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1929 (recording, Bently Boys)
Found in: US(Ap,SE)