“Goober Peas” is a traditional folk song mostly known in the Southern United States. It
was popular with Confederate soldiers during the American Civil War, and is still sung
frequently in the South to this day. It is frequently covered by pop singer Elton John
during live shows, though has yet to appear in any of his studio releases. It has also been
sung by Burl Ives, Tennessee Ernie Ford and The Kingston Trio.
The lyrics of “Goober Peas” are a fairly accurate description of daily life during the last
few years of the Civil War for Southerners. After being cut off from the rail lines and
their farm land, they had little to eat aside from boiled peanuts (or “goober peas”) which
often served as an emergency ration, especially in Georgia.
Publication date on the earliest sheet music is 1866, published by A. E. Blackmar in New
Orleans. Blackmar, perhaps humorously, lists A. Pindar as the lyricist and P. Nutt as the
Sitting by the roadside on a summer’s day
Chatting with my mess-mates, passing time away
Lying in the shadows underneath the trees
Goodness, how delicious, eating goober peas.
Peas, peas, peas, peas
Eating goober peas
Goodness, how delicious,
Eating goober peas.
When a horse-man passes, the soldiers have a rule
To cry out their loudest, “Mister, here‘s your mule!”
But another custom, enchanting-er than these
Is wearing out your grinders, eating goober peas.
Just before the battle, the General hears a row
He says “The Yanks are coming, I hear their rifles now.”
He turns around in wonder, and what d’ya think he sees?
The Georgia Militia, eating goober peas.
I think my song has lasted almost long enough.
The subject’s interesting, but the rhymes are rough.
I wish the war was over, so free from rags and fleas
We’d kiss our wives and sweethearts, and gobble goober peas