If I Were A Carpenter Lyrics - Bobby Darin

Review The Song (15)

If I were a carpenter
And you were a lady
Would you marry me anyway
Would you have my baby

If a tinker were my trade
Would you still find me
Carrying the pots I'd made
Following behind me

Save my love through loneliness
Save my love for sorrows
I've given you my onliness
Come give me your tomorrows

If I worked my hands in wood
Would you still love me
Answer me babe say "yes I would
I'll put you above me"

If I were a miller
At a mill wheel grinding
Would you miss your colored blouse
Your soft shoe shining

If I were a carpenter
And you were a lady
Would you marry me anyway
Would you have my baby

Would you marry me anyway
And have my babyyyyyyyyyyyyy

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If I were a carpenter | Reviewer: Anonymous | 3/9/14

It sounds like color bar in the song, but could just as easily be colored boy, a phrase which was used when this song came out as it was considered more polite. Everything wasn't so black and white back then!

Oh! Don't take it so personal. | Reviewer: Rafael | 12/29/13

This song has been performed by various artists and the bottom line is some know how to sing it and some don't. It's an awesome song and yes it is very descriptive of a time before the 1930's not necessarily middle ages. RC.

four tops | Reviewer: evilynne | 9/30/13

I remember listening to this years ago by the fours tops. Had it on an old cassette. I always thought the words were colour box meaning would she miss the fine things like make up for her face. Why does rascism always have to come into it. Just enjoy the music.

Middle Age British ballad traditions | Reviewer: WoundedEagle | 7/26/13

I hate to sound like a teacher, but here goes. Tim Hardin was a folk singer and we must consider that this is a Folk Ballad that is steeped in the history and traditions of British folk music dating back to at least the Middle Ages. It's related to similar folk ballads like "Barbara Allen," "Greensleeves," "Three Marys" and others. During the Middle Ages and for several centuries afterward, it was unheard of for a "Lady" to have anything to do with a commoner workman such as a carpenter, a tinker, or a miller. The song asks, "If I were a carpenter, and you were a Lady, would you marry me anyway, would you have my baby." So the speaker in the song is asking his true love if she would love him even if their love were absolutely forbidden by all social mores and conventions. Would she forget her noble birth and status to live with him as a common working man, and by so doing turn completely away from the fine things of life that would be hers if she married someone from her own noble class. A carpenter or a tinker would never be able to afford the "colored blouse" or the "soft shoe shining" because peasants wore clothes made of rough woven and naturally dyed fabric similar to flour sacks and gunny sacks and wore wooden shoes similar to clogs and called sabots.
So basically the song asks if the woman would leave her world of high birth and luxury to live with a man who must work 16 hours a day trying to keep her from starving for the rest of her life? How many of us ever get to experience a love strong enough for such sacrifice, for such devotion?

emotional, not political | Reviewer: Ivan | 8/15/12

I heard this a lot when I was a kid, played on the radio. I'm not sure whose version - it was whatever was getting s lot of play. It mighgt have been Hardin, I really don't know or care. I hated it. I found it was trite and twee and a bit embarrassing, really. I pretty much dismissed it.

Then I heard Darin perform it.

One of the most beautiful things I've ever heard. It still takes my breath away every time I hear him do it. I don't understand this - maybe he's emotionally immersed and the wonder he seems to be experiencing is coming through.It's in my favourites pile, definitely. One of a handful of songs that usually has the tears rolling down my face if I sit and listen.

I think the lyrics may have been screwed with sure - but I never found the detail poetry important anyway. The song is far more impressionist than academic, and with the right performance, it lights up and you see your own pictures in the flames. Analyzing the subtleties of the written concept is just trampling on it to get closer. Step back a piece, let the dabs of paint merge.

Political issues. | Reviewer: Anonymous | 2/25/12

One thing i wonder is why everything has to be political for some people. The song is a wonderful example of tim hardin's writing skills. I wish people would not try to ruin the song with unnecessary political labels. Simon

Not racist but sexist | Reviewer: Jenna | 12/18/11

I find it ironic how quickly people will try to read something racist about a coloured blouse but ignore the blatant sexist references. If she were rich and he a tradesman, why couldn't she have her nice things? Because she has to put him above her, or apparently she doesn't really love him.

This is a simple beautiful song, no need to read between the lines. | Reviewer: Natalie | 6/15/11

There is no reading between the lines with this song, it just ruins it. It's one of the most beautifully written songs ever made. I remember listening to it for the first time when the show, "The Wonder Years" was still around. The song is just portraying what true love is and he wants to know will his lady truly love him for who he is. There is no "color bar" in the lyrics, who cares if it's there? Only negative people will hear what negative conotations they want to hear. Why nit pick? Lighten up & enjoy what true love really feels and sounds like. As cheesy as that sounds! =)

This song isn't about racism | Reviewer: Anonymous | 5/16/11

The song is very simple, it's an age-old question that almost every couple asks each other: if I were poor, if I didn't have money to buy you nice things, would you still love me? There was definitely no nonsense about "color bar"... he calls her a lady, referring to a woman born to a wealthy family and brought up to be a "lady" in every sense of the word, like having colored blouses and soft slipper-like shoes, probably shining because they were made of satin or silk, indicating that she'd never done a day of work in her life. Then he asks, "If I were a miller, at a mill wheel grinding," would you miss all those nice things that a miller definitely couldn't afford? Because as a miller's wife, she'd more likely be a home-maker, raising children and keeping house, and soft silk slippers and colored blouses are not the clothes of a hard-working woman.

geezer | Reviewer: Anonymous | 1/30/11

I too believe the colored blouse line is wrong. The song distinctly says 'his' soft shoes shining. The more I listen to it the more I believe the 'color bar' thought. At the very least it should be cobbler.

Don't look too deep into the lyrics | Reviewer: Roger | 7/23/10

This song represents the value in whatever you do, regardless of how society values your profession. Every profession is important-it is how you personally perceive your value to society. Your value is not based on what other people think. It's your own self perception of your efforts.

If I Were a Carpenter - lyrics | Reviewer: Mike Harding | 7/3/10

The song was written in 1965/6 at the height of black/white racial tensions in the USA. I have a suspicion (guess?) that Hardin changed the words at some point before publication of the song. Presumably this was done in response to either external pressure by anti racists or as a consequence of his own feelings, but I strongly suspect "colored blouse" was originally "color bar". The term was common at the time and shoe shining was an occupation almost exclusively performed by black people. As I said; just a guess - we'll never know :) In any event it is a beautiful song especially Bobby Darin's gentle version.

This song is about true, unconditional love. | Reviewer: Anonymous | 2/24/10

He is asking her; for richer or poorer, good times and bad, would she stay, respect and understand him. The chorus states his adoration and devotion for her. The blouse and shoe line just makes clear to her they might not have money for nice things that she may be used too. But I think in exchange for material things she will get true love.

thoughts | Reviewer: Heather | 12/24/09

I think the song is more about if he were poor and she were rich, would she still love him. Regardless of their lots in life would she still be with him. If she had fine things (colored blouse, soft shoe..etc)and then had none because being with him she would be poor..would she still want those fine things or could she be happy with him the rest of her life having no material wealth, but plenty of love.

Am I the only one who thinks the lyrics are wrong? | Reviewer: Anthony | 11/9/09

The entire piece is about tradesmen and their jobs and regardless if he were one--would she miss the other --so where does this 'colored blouse' come from. I always though the lyrics were "Would you miss your COBBLER--his soft shoes shining." A cobbler makes shoes and is one of those older tradesmen like the tinker etc. Who wrote this song and can someone ask them the logic of it being a 'colored blouse with soft shoes shining???

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------ Performed by Bobby Darin

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------ 11/20/2014

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