Songs about burning and chopping wood

We’re often talking about how being a wood-burning stove owner speaks to the human condition. Something about the act of collecting, chopping and burning wood connects us to our ancestors and, for many people at least, stirs something within them.

Perhaps one indication of that is that chopping and burning wood often makes its way into popular culture, including songs. Here are examples of songs that celebrate or at least mention woodburner-related activities.

Robin Williamson – The Woodcutter’s Song

Scottish folk musician Robin Williamson was a member of The Incredible String Band. In 1979, he and his Merry Band released an album entitled A Glint At The Kindling, which included this track. It features a traditional poem advising on the merits of burning various woods to Williamson’s arrangement. The lyrics are:

Oak logs will warm you well
That are old and dry
Logs of pine will sweetly smell
But the sparks will fly
Birchs long will burn too fast
Chestnut scarce at all sir
Hawthorn logs are good to last
That are cut well in the fall sir

Surely you will find
There’s no compare with the hard wood logs
That’s cut in the winter time

Holly logs will burn like wax
You could burn them green
Elm logs burn like smouldering flax
With no flame to be seen
Beech logs for winter time
Yew logs as well sir
Green elder logs it is a crime
For any man to sell sir

Surely you will find
There’s no compare with the hard wood logs
That’s cut in the winter time

Pear logs and apple logs
They will scent your room
and cherry logs across the dogs
They smell like flowers of broom
But ash logs smooth and grey
Buy them green or old, sir
and buy up all that come your way
They’re worth their weight in gold sir

Paul Weller – Woodcutter’s Son

On his 1995 album Stanley Road, Weller seemed to use the cathartic act of cutting wood as a metaphor for taking people down a peg or two. His previous album was entitled Wild Wood, so the song has also been viewed as an expression of creative renewal.

Bob Marley – Small Axe

On a similar track to – and perhaps the inspiration for – Paul Weller’s song, this also compares cutting down a tree with causing the demise of an enemy. Appropriately enough, it’s taken from the album Burnin’.

Van Morrison – Choppin’ Wood

The ubiquity of the fireplace is nicely summed up by Van Morrison’s tribute to his late father who, whatever else was going in his life, kept on chopping wood for the fire.

Jackyl – The Lumberjack Song

American Southern rock band Jackyl also used the chopping down wood as cutting someone down to size metaphor. And there hit The Lumberjack Song actually features a chainsaw solo!

Have we missed your favourite song about burning or chopping wood? Leave a comment to let us know

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