No, this isn't the travelling salesman joke, or another Farmer Brown joke. It's not even a joke; it's for real! This is a song by the folk band Eddie from Ohio, from their studio album "actually not", but phenomenally better on "portable efo show". They sing three part harmony on all the choruses, but add a bass (and he is a true bass, not a baritone!) and break into an amazing four part a cappella breakdown, with harmony in the old Appalachian style--the high lonesome sound that bluegrass gospel is famous for, only without the baggage--before the last chorus. If the live cut doesn't give you goosebumps, check your pulse.


Breaking hearts in Halifax County,
the three fine daughters of Farmer Brown,
Turning heads on the boys in the schoolyard,
catching whistles from the men downtown,
No one knows why they went rowing.
The three fine daughters of Farmer Brown,
they didn't know that the rocks on the river'd
be the Three Sisters' Island where they'd all drown.

Widower Brown had a girl named Nellie,
she was the oldest and toughest of three.
She'd take her daddy's well-sharpened sickle
and carve "kill men" in the sycamore tree.
The men came a courtin' but she'd keep her distance,
never cracked a smile, just played it coy.
Some would say "She's as tender as a petal--
she'd act up 'cause her daddy wanted a boy."

Old Man Brown had a girl named Dottie,
the middle button and the most vain of the three.
She'd take her daddy's fat leather boot strap
with anyone who'd call her Dorothy.
The men would fall on her, and she'd repay them,
peck 'em where they'd find it safe to kiss--
like the barn or the kitchen or the upstairs parlor--
anywhere to keep 'em from her father's fist.

Farmer Brown had a girl named Becca,
she was the youngest and most reverent of all.
She'd take her daddy's King James Bible
and go study scripture at the Brethren Hall.
The men would avoid her, and she would condemn 'em
for cussin', and drinkin', and chasin' the Browns.
She'd say "Repent, and join God forever!
The pleasure of sin's not as good as it sounds."
One day the three with nothing in common
spied upon an abandoned rowboat.
Maybe their sense of adventure had pushed
the three young girls to set the ship afloat.
They didn't know the strength of the river,
the merciless current that pulled 'em down;
Maybe it was due the weight of their denim,
but the three girls' bodies were never found.

a cappella, fortissimo:
Some may recall the singin' of the sirens
lured in the sailors who wrecked and drowned.
Some say they still hear the fightin' and the flirtin'
and the preachin' of the daughters of Farmer Brown.


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