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CCCers Sing "Oh, why did I join the C.C.C.?"

This song, titled "Loveless C.C.C.," was most likely written as a parody by a young enrollee in the Civilian Conservation Corps. The song pokes fun at the hard work and strict discipline found in the camps. While a majority of corpsmen were satisfied with their experiences in the CCC, by 1939 desertion rates had reached almost 20%. The abbreviation "O.D" in the last stanza of the song refers to "Olive Drab,"an informal description of the color of army uniforms.

Why did I ever join the C.C.C.?
Oh, why did I join the C.C.C.?
Why did I join the C.C.C?
This old hard labor’s killing me.

They treat me like a dirt dog
I have to slave down in a log
And they feed me like a hog
Oh, why did I join the C.C.C.?

I haft to work most every day
Five bucks a month is my pay
I’m just a wasting my life away
Oh, why did I join the C.C.C.?

The Lieut. Sure is hard boiled
His hands and clothes are never soiled
When I come in all day I’ve toiled
Oh, why did I join the C.C.C.?

These O.D. clothes sure is hot
They’ll make you scratch a whole lot
They’ll make you wish you’d never got
Into this old C.C.C.


Source | "C.C.C. blues," sung by Jimmie Collins with guitar, collected by Margaret Valiant, Farm Security Administration at a Migratory Camp in Brawley, California, February 1939, Library of Congress; also titled "Loveless C.C.C." and available on Songs from the Great Depression, performed by New Lost City Ramblers, Smithsonian Folkways, 1959.
Creator | Jimmie Collins
Item Type | Music/Song
Cite This document | Jimmie Collins, “CCCers Sing "Oh, why did I join the C.C.C.?",” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed December 7, 2023,

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