“Junior’s Farm,” Paul McCartney

Written by February 21st, 2011 at 11:05 am

Paul McCartney and Wings at Junior’s Farm. Photo courtesy of Curly and Bernice Putman.

Paul and Linda McCartney wrote “Junior’s Farm” as an homage to Claude “Curly” Putman, Jr., who’s farm they were staying at in Lebanon, Tennessee, along with Wings, in 1974. The band recorded the song at Nashville’s Sound Shop and released it as the A-side to a 7” single backed with “Sally G” in October, and the song went to number three on the U.S. charts.

The real Junior’s Farm looks much today like it did when the McCartneys made their Tennessee sojourn 37 years ago. A few miles down a winding country road off of I-40 highway, you pull up to a wrought iron fence. A large pond is set in a slope near the road and a long driveway winds up to a stately white house on a hill. It was not too long after the success of 1965’s “The Green, Green Grass of Home” that Curly Putman, a young writer and plugger with Nashville publisher Tree, and his wife, Bernice, and their son, Troy, bought and moved into the farm.

Paul and Linda’s first introduction to the place they’d call home for six weeks and that they’d come to call Junior’s Farm (at least in song) was after a long day of travel. “It was 7 or 8 o’clock,” Putman recently remembered. “They were pretty wore out. But they came and we had a little cocktail party to welcome them.They had asked for certain things to be in the house. They were vegetarians.” Putman says Paul and Linda stayed in the big house on the hill, while Wings was relegated to the little house down the road. Putman even fixed up his garage for Wings to practice in.

While the single’s B-side “Sally G” takes on a decidedly country feel, “Junior’s Farm” is a rock number and, with McCartney’s whimsical lyrics, seems to have little to do with Putman’s actual farm. Characters as diverse (and random) as a poker man, Oliver Hardy, an Eskimo and a sea lion pop up in the song’s verses. In one version of the single’s cover photo, members of Wings crowd around a poker table dressed as “Junior’s Farm” characters. Paul stands next to a seal and sports a hillbilly straw hat, while Geoff Briton plays the Eskimo part.

On the song’s chorus, McCartney gets more specific to his surroundings. “Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go, Down to Junior’s Farm where I wanna lay low. Low life, high life, oh let’s go, Take me down to Junior’s Farm.” He and the band were certainly “laying low,” warming up for a major Wings tour. “High life” and “low life” seem to sum up the dual worlds of rock stars – one minute partying in jet planes, the next relaxing in the country. Or “low life” might refer to the darker side of rock stardom. (Putman recalls hearing that one of the band members got a little “rambunctious” in Nashville and wound up in jail.) Finally, the old man at the grocery seems like a character from rural Tennessee.

Regardless of where Paul and Linda drew inspiration from the song, they certainly had fun on Junior’s farm. “They just seemed to enjoy being out in the country. They rode horses. I have a pond and they went swimming in it…Paul was very likable, personable. He just seemed like one of us.”

Curly Putman still lives on his Lebanon farm and recently released a new CD entitled Write ‘Em Sad, Sing ‘Em Lonesome, which is dedicated to his grandson, Sean Putman, who died of cancer. All proceeds from sales of the CD will go to the Sean Putman Memorial Fund at Cumberland University. To order the CD, visit iTunes, CDBaby, or Amazon.

Read the full story on “Rock In The Country” or order a copy of the Jan/Feb 2011 Legends issue here.

“Junior’s Farm”

You should have seem me with the poker man
I had a honey and I bet a grand
Just in the nick of time I looked at his hand
I was talking to an Eskimo
Said he was hoping for a fall of snow
When up popped a sea lion ready to go

Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go
Down to Junior’s Farm where I wanna lay low
Low life, high life, oh let’s go
Take me down to Junior’s Farm

At the Houses of Parliament
Everybody’s talking ’bout the President
We all chip in for a bag of cement
Ollie Hardy should have had more sense
He bought a gee-gee and he jumped the fence
All for the sake of a couple of pence

Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go
Down to Junior’s Farm where I wanna lay low
Low life, high life, oh let’s go
Take me down to Junior’s Farm
Let’s go, let’s go
Down to Junior’s Farm where I wanna lay low
Low life, high life, oh let’s go
Take me down to Junior’s Farm
Everybody tag along

I took my bag into a grocer’s store
The price is higher than the time before
Old man asked me “Why is it more?”
I said “You should have seem me with the poker man
I had a honey and I bet a grand
Just in the nick of time I looked at his hand

Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go
Down to Junior’s Farm where I wanna lay low
Low life, high life, oh let’s go
Take me down to Junior’s Farm

Let’s go, let’s go
Down to Junior’s Farm where I wanna lay low
Low life, high life, oh let’s go
Take me down to Junior’s Farm
Everybody tag along
Take me down to Junior’s Farm

Written by Paul and Linda McCartney

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