New England: Complaining about the weather since the beginning
November 2, 2016 10:49 AM   Subscribe

The first American folk song written in English is a list of New England's Annoyances as felt by early Puritan colonists. One historian argues that the song was written in 1643 by Edward Johnson, who also founded the MA town of Woburn and authored the first printed history of New England. Another cover to listen to.
posted by cubby (10 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
We have pumpkins at morning and pumpkins at noon,
If it was not for pumpkins we should be undone!
If barley be wanting to make into malt,
We must be contented, and think it no fault;
For we make liquor to sweeten our lips,
Of pumpkins and parsnips and walnut-tree chips....
It's 375 years later, and pumpkin ale is STILL an annoyance.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 11:01 AM on November 2, 2016 [4 favorites]

Let me also say that there is a rich history of music (and probably of complaining about weather) in this region that predates white settlers by a long shot. I know very little about, say, Mashpee Wampanoag music traditions, and didn't want to try to represent them here without more knowledge.
posted by cubby at 11:02 AM on November 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Pronounced Woo-ben for the outsiders.
posted by backseatpilot at 11:25 AM on November 2, 2016

Give it a few years, they'll give Christopher Marlowe a co-author credit.

(I'd love an FPP on pre-Columbian or even modern Native American folk music, if anybody out there is knowledgeable enough on the subject to pull such a thing together.)
posted by tobascodagama at 11:26 AM on November 2, 2016 [3 favorites]

@backseatpilot - it depends on the age of said woo-bun-eer. In my (admittedly only 2 towns over experience) it always appeared that the older the resident the closer to "Woo-bun" it became. I went to the RMV office there (close to work) and to this Southern boy, regional accent variations stood out like sore thumbs...
posted by cyclotronboy at 11:41 AM on November 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

It rings odd to me these are sung in modern American English. Is there a version that would sound more like the pronunciation and language of the time?
posted by Nelson at 11:44 AM on November 2, 2016

Woobn is just down Rte. 3 from B'ricka and Chelmsfihd.
posted by adamg at 3:32 PM on November 2, 2016

And yet I still can't convince the wife to abandon this ridiculous climate...

Though Woburn is basically the perfect town to have been founded by somebody full of complaints, as it chiefly seems designed to inflict more complaints on those with the misfortune to pass through (or worse, decide to live there, as somebody who shall remain nameless but looks exactly like me once did).
posted by Dr.Enormous at 4:40 PM on November 2, 2016

I remember this guy from some nerding I did on my family tree. It definitely stuck out to me that someone would travel to another continent seeking a new life and found... Woburn.

(I'm obviously not a Mass native since I still pronounce the R. I definitely say "woo" and not "woe," so I'm halfway there. I'M SORRY BUT IT'S HAHD TO GIVE UP ON THE LETTAH AH.)
posted by sonika at 5:29 PM on November 2, 2016

I've lived here for about 12 years and the weather's not bad. It can definitely keep you on your toes though. Nothing quite like a Nor'easter...
posted by jwest at 6:43 PM on November 2, 2016

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