Time to Wake Up! Ally Ally Oxen Free

January 1, 2019

Time to Wake Up! Ally Ally Oxen Free


On a recent trip business trip to Europe, I was startled awake by the alarm song on my iPad. It was Love Shack by the B-52s – a personal favorite – but not a great way to wake up when you are feeling like a 55-gallon drum full of jet-lagged sludge. Ay-eee!!!

Not me, but pretty accurate!

Must. Pick. Different. Song.

Must. Ease. Into. Wakedness.

So the next night, I remembered to choose a new wake-up tune right as I went to bed. Being lazy – or still jet-lagged – I quickly started scrolling through the default sort of songs by title. I don’t have that much music on my iPad (unlike the 6K+ songs on my computer’s iTunes). I’m not even really sure how the music got onto my iPad, actually. I was in a hurry to pick a song and go to sleep, but none of the first few I scrolled past in the A’s were appropriate for a gentle, jet-lag respectful wakeup.

Africa by Toto? Nope. Too 80s. Might be tempted to make my hair big.

Ain’t Anyone Here for Love (from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) by Marilyn Monroe and Rosalyn Russell? Wrong subject matter, although I did consider it briefly, because that scene is set in Paris, and Paris is where I was.

Akobi: First Born S(u)n by Somi? Lovely, but no. I’d be tempted to stay in my hotel room and listen to the album.

All of Me by Tchavolo Schmitt (“gypsy jazz guitarist)? Nope, too upbeat, although Tchavolo is Parisian…I was really tempted but it could be as jarring as Love Shack if I was mid-dream.

All by Myself by Eric Carmen? Too depressing; my limbs would feel numb and I’d never be able to climb out of the jet lag pit.

Ally Ally Oxen Free by The Kingston Trio? Yes, that’s it! I hadn’t heard that song for quite a while, since my days by the water, growing up at my parents’ house, but I knew it would have just the right tone and tempo to get me out of bed, happy to face the day.


I got more than I bargained for.

Ally Ally Oxen Free was a perfect wake-up song. The sound of it made me happy. It made me thoughtful. It made me get out of bed and walk across the room to replay it and listen again. It woke me up every morning after that on an 11-day, 3-country trip, and stayed in my head for days. I had either forgotten or was too young or distracted to remember that it was a (peaceful) protest song.


It is incredibly timely. Incredibly.  

Give it a listen; see what you think

Ally Ally Oxen Free (McKuen / Yates)

Time to let the rain fall without the help of man
Time to let the trees grow tall, now, if they only can
Time to let our children, live in a land that’s free
Ally, ally, ally, ally, oxen free
(Ally, ally, ally, ally, oxen free)

Time to blow the smoke away, look at the sky again
Time to let our friends know we’d like to begin again
Time to send a message across the land and sea
Ally, ally, ally, ally, oxen free
(Ally, ally, ally, ally, oxen free)

Strong and weak, mild and meek, no more hide and seek

Time to see the fairness of a children’s game
Time for men to stop and learn to do the same
Time to make our minds up if the world at last will be
Ally, ally, ally, ally, oxen free
(Ally, ally, ally, ally, oxen free)


This is not a political blog, but one has only to breathe the air in an any major city, read the reports about plastic particles in the ocean to, or look at the violence and anger in every day’s news reports from every country to know that something needs to change. A lot of things.

Ally, ally, ally, ally oxen free.

Time to wake up!

“Time to blow the smoke away, and look at the sky again.” A beautiful, smogless December sky in Jefferson, CO.

© 2018 Glover Gardens

4 thoughts on “Time to Wake Up! Ally Ally Oxen Free”

  • It’s funny but I loved the Kingston Trio, but never realized that they did this song. We used to play a little game as children by that name too. I think originally the words come from a very old saying, “All ye, All ye oxen free” . . . Every fun!!!

    • Yes! The Grill-Meister was wondering if I misspelled it because in popular writing it is often “Olly Olly Oxen Free,” but according to The Dictionary of American Regional English (via Wikipedia), it “may be derived from all ye, all ye outs in free, all the outs in free, or possibly calling all the “outs” in free; in other words, all who are out may come in without penalty”. So perhaps the writers of the song preferred to be closer to the old English “All Ye” for their song. I like the depth and complexity of the words that at first listen seem so simple and straightforward.

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