—— folk family and jam

Penny’s farm

Come you ladies and you gentlemen, I'll sing you a song
I'll sing it to you right though it may sound wrong
It may make you mad, but I mean no harm
It's all about the renters on Penny's Farm
Hard times in the country, down on Penny's Farm.

Well you move out on Penny's Farm
You plant a little crop of 'baccy and a little crop of corn 
Man comes around and you split and you plot
Until you got a mortgage on everything you got

You're out in the fields and you work all day
Way after night but you get no pay
Promise you some meat and a little lard
It's hard to be a renter on Penny's Farm 

George Penny's renters they come into town
Their hands in their pockets and their heads bowed down
Into the store and the merchant'll say
Your mortage is due and I'm waiting for my pay

So down in their pockets with a tremblin' hand
Can't pay it all but I'll pay what I can
Then to the telephone the merchant makes a call
They'll put you on the chaingang you don't pay it all



From  Pete Seeger.

One of those songs about how labourers of various kinds were exploited by hard-hearted capitalists who trapped them with contracts forcing them to buy supplies at the company store which doubled as a bank.  No possibility of ever breaking even.
Another example is the well-known 16 tons and what do you get, another day over and deeper in debt - I owe my soul to the company store.

The Bently Boys recorded it in 1929.  Probably it does have an author - one of the Bently Boys?  But traditional is used here to mean "public domain" or unknown.