My Grandma’s Put It All In A Jar

This is a guy song from Greg Brown about growing up, peaches on the shelf, taste of summer, big-bosomed aunts, and a little Pablo Neruda thrown in for good measure. It’s appropriately called “Canned Goods.”

It’s a long song, partly sung, largely told. Runs about one good dram’s worth of whisky sippin’, thirteen minutes or so. If you have a photo album of your days of innocence, those forgotten times, pictures of your grandmother, now is the time to take them off the shelf, too. Unfortunately, the video has no images, just a black screen with the song title, so the photo gallery at the end of this post was designed to bring out some images described in the song. (You can listen to the song at the end of this post while you browse through the photos, and don’t forget the whisky to accompany you.) There are YouTube versions of “Canned Goods” with visuals of Brown singing, but none with his hypnotizing story about grandmothers, aunts and canned peaches. Here’s the chorus to the song:

Peaches on the shelf
Potatoes in the bin
Supper’s ready, everybody come on in
Taste a little of the summer,
Taste a little of the summer,
You can taste a little of the summer
My grandma’s put it all in jars.

Greg Brown is like a well-aged whisky: smooth, balanced, deep and fulfilling. He is an Iowa-raised singer-songwriter, a contemporary troubadour. He established his reputation as a folk-taler and performer in the ’80s as a staple of NPR’s popular “Prairie Home Companion” show. He has two dozen albums under his guitar. What I like best about him is his warm manner and the way he ties the loose ends together, captured so well in “Canned Goods.” But he also has a edge you can hear here in “I’m Happy, Happy, Happy, By Myself,” not the title of the song, but the refrain.

And if you listen long enough, Brown’s commentary on the social and economic times of the day will echo long after you have heard “Our Little Town.”

Like any good troubadour, he sings his love songs, and in this video of “Dream Cafe,” he takes us for a ride on his riderless Harley. With Greg Brown, you are always along for the ride.


About Author

Josh is an author, former blogger, media critic, x-Capitol Hill legislative aide and White House assistant, business consultant, idea marketing specialist, a squatter at the global village virtual bar and an alpine rock gardener where he lives in Woodstock, NY.