How Ya Gonna Keep ’em Down On the Farm?

 

 

Something for the weekend.   How Ya Gonna Keep ’em Down On the Farm?  With music by Walter Donaldson and words by Joe Young and Sam M. Lewis, the humorous song became immensely popular in 1919, especially with troops awaiting demobilization.  The song reflected a real concern among parents and wives that their doughboys would come back changed men.  Well, they did, but most of them resumed their former lives with little fuss or bother.

 

“Reuben, Reuben, I’ve been thinking,
Said his wifey dear,
Now that all is peaceful and calm,
Soon our boys will be back on the farm.
Mister Reuben started winking,
And slowly rubbed his chin,
He pulled his chair up close to Mother,
Asked her with a grin
How ya gonna keep ’em down, oh no?
How ya gonna keep ’em down, oh no, oh no
How ya gonna keep ’em away from Broadway?
Jazzin’ around,
And painting the town?
How ya gonna keep ’em
Away from harm?
That’s the mystery,
They’ll never want to see a rake or a plow,
And who the deuce can parley-vous a cow?
And how ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm
After they’ve seen Paris?
Reuben, Reuben, you’re mistaken,
Said his wifey dear,
Once a farmer, always a jay, and
Farmers always stick to the hay.
Mother Reuben, I’m not fakin’,
Though you may think it strange.
But wine and women play the mischief,
With a boy who’s loose with change!
Oh, how ya gonna keep ’em down,
Oh no, oh no
Oh, how ya gonna keep ’em down?
How ya gonna keep ’em away from Broadway?
Jazzin’ around,
And painting the town?
How ya gonna keep ’em away from harm?
That’s the mystery
Imagine Reuben when he meets his pa,
He’ll pinch his cheek and holler “Ooh la la!”
How you gonna keep ’em down on the farm
After they’ve seen Paris, Paris?
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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.