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Campfire Fairy

Gimme the Light of the Campfire

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While I'm not necessarily new to Ventures (I've got four years under my belt now), I am ashamed to admit that I know virtually no boy scout camp songs. *is shamefaced*


This was made painfully clear to me when, on a recent camping trip, everyone else burst into song one night sitting around the campfire. They took pity on me, The One Who Didn't Know the Words to Sing Along, and generously sang a song I knew: (I am almost embarassed to admit this...) Bingo.


Apparently my repertoire of girl scout songs isn't cutting it.


So, to spare me any further embarassment (don't get me wrong- I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend, and it was ridiculously hilarious to witness teenagers and the adult advisors singing Bingo:P), I would greatly appreciate some suggestions as to what camp songs I should know. Any favorite/traditional/must-know-or-be-relentlessly-teased songs?


Knowing OldGreyEagle and OutdoorThinker, I apologize to everyone in advance for giving them this opportunity ;)

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Campfire Fairy, I think you have a good head on your shoulders and I admire your enthusiasm for the program and enjoy reading your posts. But did you really mean to get OGE singing?????? ;)


Actually, I'm a fan of songs around the campfire and you've called upon a great resource.


There are several types of songs that can be led in various circumstances from the rousing ones to the more somber ones (that are often used when there's naught left but coals and it's nearing bed-time.)


One of my favorite rousing songs is "The Cat Came Back." I don't know how to express the tune in writing, but it's a bluesy-folksy type of song with an easy to remember chorus and the burden is on the song-leader to remember the verses. I also like "The Great Ship Titanic," which my wife knows but I do not. Another favorite of mine that is now on the politically incorrect list is called "Mountain Dew."


For the quieter songs, I prefer "Scout Vespers" and "On my Honor."


Keep singing and learn as many songs as you can. Above all, keep Scouting.



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BSA publishes a small book of campfire songs. It should be available at your nearest scout service center and store. In addition to standard fare, all the official scout songs, including the two mentioned by The Man of Steele are in this book. Most BSA songs are easy to learn since the melodies are not original but are borrowed from other sources.


Regrettably singing at campfires appears to be a dying art, at least in this neck of the woods.

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Oh Gosh CF, I always thought of you as a Muse, and you have to remember Outdoor Thinker, YoungSpiked Eagle, "Dave" and Daves dad, Mr T as well as myself have attended multiple boy scout outings, and with OT and YSE on summercamp staff year you didnt have a chance.


here is the Cat Came Back Lyrics


Old Mister Johnson had troubles of his own

He had a yellow cat which wouldn't leave its home;

He tried and he tried to give the cat away,

He gave it to a man goin' far, far away.


But the cat came back the very next day,

The cat came back, we thought he was a goner

But the cat came back; it just couldn't stay away.

Away, away, yea, yea, yea


The man around the corner swore he'd kill the cat on sight,

He loaded up his shotgun with nails and dynamite;

He waited and he waited for the cat to come around,

Ninety seven pieces of the man is all they found.




He gave it to a little boy with a dollar note,

Told him for to take it up the river in a boat;

They tied a rope around its neck, it must have weighed a pound

Now they drag the river for a little boy that's drowned.




He gave it to a man going up in a balloon,

He told him for to take it to the man in the moon;

The balloon came down about ninety miles away,

Where he is now, well I dare not say.




He gave it to a man going way out West,

Told him for to take it to the one he loved the best;

First the train hit the curve, then it jumped the rail,

Not a soul was left behind to tell the gruesome tale.




The cat it had some company one night out in the yard,

Someone threw a boot-jack, and they threw it mighty hard;

It caught the cat behind the ear, she thought it rather slight,

When along came a brick-bat and knocked the cat out of sight




Away across the ocean they did send the cat at last,

Vessel only out a day and making water fast;

People all began to pray, the boat began to toss,

A great big gust of wind came by and every soul was lost.




On a telegraph wire, sparrows sitting in a bunch,

The cat was feeling hungry, thought she'd like 'em for a lunch;

Climbing softly up the pole, and when she reached the top,

Put her foot upon the electric wire, which tied her in a knot.




The cat was a possessor of a family of its own,

With seven little kittens till there came a cyclone;

Blew the houses all apart and tossed the cat around,

The air was full of kittens, and not a one was ever found.




The atom bomb fell just the other day,

The H-Bomb fell in the very same way;

Russia went, England went, and then the U.S.A.

The human race was finished without a chance to pray.





What did you think of "The Ballad of WIlliam Sycamore" and the St Crispins Speech from Shakespeare?

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DS and eisley~

Many thanks for your suggestions. I'll definitely look into finding a songbook. :)



Alas, perhaps my Muse-ness expertise is limited to the area of the visual arts. At any rate, I will work on my boy scout songs for the next camping trip. :)


I thoroughly enjoyed both recitations. Or should I say, all three, since The Maker of the St. Crispin's Day Speech also recited The Raven for us. I had decided not to recite the one poem I have memorized; it would have been quasi-blasphemous for me to follow the St. Crispin speech and the Ballad of William Sycamore with Shel Silverstein's "Sick" (I cannot go to school today/Said little Peggy Ann McKay/I have the measles and the mumps/A gash, a rash, and purple bumps..." etc. etc. etc...) Perhaps I should work on my own recitation as well as songs :p


It was interesting, though. Just one more reason I enjoy being a boy scout more than I liked being a girl scout ;)


(This message has been edited by Campfire Fairy)

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Hmm..Bingo, yes, it was a highly entertaining time. Campfire Fairy, let me hook you up with the camp song book from when YSE and I worked up at camp, that may help.


On the recitations, WAHOO! to OGE and KiltedPhilospher. They totally rocked. I think KiltedPhilospher enjoyed the oppertunity to show off his reciting talents an an environment where he didnt feel like a major dork.


I had Michael Douglas's big speech at the end of the American President memorized for along time, but alas, no more...thinking about some TS Eliot, the To Be or Not to Be speech or maybe some of the Little Prince.

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CF, as you know OGE likes 'One Tin Soldier' which should be in your Girl Scout song repitiore and the Minsi Alma Mater is another must to know...you'll catch on (or you'll sing the words to KiltedPhilospher's college's alma mater, like he does).


We do the Mermaid song, which is a personal favorite of mine..catchy chorus

Oh the ocean waves will roll

And the stormy winds will blow

But we poor sailors go skipping to the top

While the land lovers lie down below below below

While the land lovers lie down below


The Quartermaster Song is common and pretty easy, repeats a lot too.


Basically, I think that the next time we get to singing, have us teach you and the rest of the non summer camp goers to teach you the words.

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Another one of my favorites


Moon on the Meadow bugs in our ears

Smoke in our eyes, wetwood and tears

Up on the meadow water somewhere

We were the only one's there.


Wild horses, Rushing dry lake and peak

finding a love that everyone seeks

hiking for rainbow, sunset, and stars

just finding out who you are


We will return here one lucky day

our hearts will guide us they know the way

people in citys don't understand

faling in love with the land


Moon on the meadow bugs in our ears

Smoke in our eyes, wetwood and tears

Up on the meadow water somewhere

With you my friend I am their.

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OT, I definitely agree that we should teach the boys a few of *our* songs. And I do know One Tin Soldier. *smiles angelically* We'll have to get Campaholic and serenade them sometime. Except that... I can't sing... so it won't be too pretty ;)


I would greatly appreciate your songbook. You'd be my newest hero. Again... because I think you were a hero in the past for something, as well...


At any rate, OGE, I like that one with the meadows... it has horses in it :p


Oh, and I would like to state that I fully appreciate the smileys. In other forums and such, I find it disheartening that they don't have the emoticons. They just add a certain something to your comments. :)

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Nothing at camp is as much fun as a well run campfire. People keep telling me that the campfire and singing at Scout camps is on the way out. I really hope this never happens.

Over the years I always seem to be the one who gets selected to put together the Song Book for Wood Badge courses and while it is a well known fact that I can't carry a tune in a bucket I am willing to get up and give it a whirl. There are a great number of songs on the net. Still I seem to remember campfire songs with the person who always will sing that song. The Cat Came Back, is one that the program director would always sing when I came over in 1977. On My Honor while we have it at most Wood Badge courses is one that my pal Mike is really keen on and I will always remember from the 2001 Jambo.

I do a half decent rendition of the Cremation of Sam McKee. And the Streets Of London.


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PSST...Hey Campfire Fairy...I'll let you in on a secret, OGE doesnt really know Moon on the Meadow. I betcha he doesnt know the tune. He jumped on that bandwagon when he heard that Campaholic and I liked that song. BUT, we can totally teach it to him.

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I've typed this one out, because I think it's hilarious, but now that I see it in print, it's one of those "I guess you had to be there" kind of things. Or hear the original. It was on an album (the old vinyl things we used to put on record players) by Henry Gibson (of Laugh - In fame). If you get to hear his version, it's really funny, and the kids love it. Here's the words:


Once I had a mule,

And I called him Sylvester

Found him on a Sunday,

down on Seven Oaks Road

Wasn't much to look at,

He just looked like Sylvester

Still, he was strong, and could carry my load.


Then, one day, he died.

Then, one day, he died.

He was standin' by a tree,

justa munchin' clover.

When he rolled his beady eyes,

and he plunked right over.


Found an empty field,

for to bury Sylvester.

Dug myself a hole,

then I said a little prayer.

Filled the hole with flowers,

then I filled it with Sylvester.

Covered it with dirt,

and I left Sylvester there.


Never comes a day,

I don't think of Sylvester

Never comes a Sunday, I don't think of that road.

You can bring back a memory,


Still I am strong, and I'm carryin', his load.


I also love to sing all the patriotic songs. And most everyone either knows the words, or can fake them well enough to get by until they learn them for real.




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Another note that I wanted to make on the patriotic songs...one of the first times the staff sang together at camp we sang a song called "America"...I was like "Hey, a song I know"...alas and alack, it's not "My country tis of thee, Sweet land of liberty..." It goes like this


America, America, let me tell you how I feel

You have given me many treasures

I love you so

I love you so


and then it gets into a round situation.

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