Wednesday, 26 June 2013

My Top Ten Carpentry Songs

My dad is a joiner by trade, and though he didn't pass any of those woodworking skills on to me, I think he's proud that at least one of his grandsons did follow him into the trade. A joiner is a carpenter, in case you were wondering, though arguably more skilled... I'll let you google the arguments on that one. 

Special mentions to The Carpenters (of course), Mary Chapin Carpenter, Cold Chisel, Woodkid, Harrison Ford, Jesus and Ron Swanson...

(Ron Swanson ROCKS.)

10. Paul Weller - Woodcutter's Son

I guess this could be about me...
You better give me the chance
I'll cut you down with a glance
Yeh, with my small axe - so help me,
And tho' I'm only one
And tho' weak, I'm strong
And if it comes to the crunch
Then I'm the woodcutter's son
And I'm cutting down the wood for the good of everyone!
Erm... perhaps not.

9. Bob Dylan - The House Carpenter

A traditional folk song ghost story, recorded by Bob and a bunch of other people. Nice guitar work on this one, Robert.

8. Robert Plant - Big Log

OK, I admit it, this one's a stretch even for me. But it's a great song just looking for a bandsaw to cut it into planks...

7. John Prine - Grandpa Was A Carpenter
He built houses, stores and banks
Chain-smoked Camel cigarettes
And hammered nails in planks
Nice work if you can get it.

6. Idlewild - These Wooden Ideas

All good carpentry projects have to start somewhere...
Don't be real - be post-modern!
5. The Avett Brothers - The Once & Future Carpenter
Once I was a carpenter, man my hands were calloused
I could swing a metal mallet sure and straight
But I took to the highway, a poet young and hungry
And I left the timbers rotting where they lay
Lovely stuff from the new Avett Brothers record.

4. Eddie Floyd - Knock On Wood

What else do carpenters do? (If you believe this song is a euphemism for something else entirely... shame on you.)

See also the excellent versions by David Bowie, Amii Stewart and Emma 'Gwen Stacy' Stone... among others. The original's still the best though.

3. Aberfeldy - If I Were A Joiner

Joiners are better than plain old carpenters. According to my dad, anyway.
If I were a joiner
You know what I'd do?
Put up a shelf

All about you.
2. The Four Tops - If I Were A Carpenter

Written by Tim Hardin, recorded by everyone from Johnny Cash and Bob Seger to Robert Plant and Leonard Nimoy... but it was the Four Tops version that originally chiselled its way into my heart.

I know... you thought this was going to be Number One, didn't you? So did I, until I remembered...

1. Johnny Johnson & The Bandwagon - Breaking Down The Walls Of Heartbreak

He's a carpenter of love and affection!

I could have chosen the equally smashing (if slightly less legible) cover by Dexys Midnight Runners... but that didn't have Pan's People dancing like this...

Which one gives you wood?



  1. I know you've said it was recorded by everyone but you can't mention If I Were A Carpenter without including The Small Faces version...

  2. Van Morrison - Choppin' Wood.

    1. Van the Man with an axe is a scary prospect.

  3. believe it or not this list actually really helped me! :P i'm working on a rather weird crack!vid/song spoof (search it on youtube if you don't know what it is haha) for buffy the vampire slayer, and needed a couple of lines about carpentry for one of the characters. thanks!

    1. Glad to be of help. Send me the link when it's done.


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