Posted in Musical Musings

Song Lyric Sunday- Feb.20, 2022-The Marvelous Toy

This week the theme is songs that feature lyrics of Automated, Mechanized, Modernized, Robotic suggested by Melanie B Cee of Sparks From A Combustible Mind.  

The first song that came to my mind was The Marvelous Toy by Peter, Paul, & Mary. It was on their also marvelous album called Peter, Paul, and Mommy. As a child, Peter, Paul, & Mary were frequently played on our parent’s stereo system on Sunday mornings. We learned many delightful songs word-for-word which cropped up during family road trips. (Instead of Smartphones and the iPad, kids either read or sang to pass the long car rides. Or there always was car Bingo too.) Mechanical toys that make noise, light up, and move, are still favorites under Christmas trees!

The writer of many influential beloved songs, including this one, was Tom Paxton.

Thomas Richard Paxton (born October 31, 1937) is an American folk singer-songwriter who has had a music career spanning more than fifty years.[1] In 2009, Paxton received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.[2][3] He is a music educator as well as an advocate for folk singers to combine traditional songs with new compositions.

Paxton’s songs have been widely recorded, including modern standards such as “The Last Thing on My Mind“, “Bottle of Wine“, “Whose Garden Was This”, “The Marvelous Toy”, and “Ramblin’ Boy”. Paxton’s songs have been recorded by Pete SeegerBob DylanThe WeaversJudy CollinsSandy DennyJoan BaezDoc WatsonHarry BelafontePeter, Paul and MaryThe SeekersMarianne FaithfullThe Kingston Trio, the Chad Mitchell TrioJohn DenverDolly Parton and Porter WagonerJohnny CashWillie NelsonFlatt & ScruggsThe MoveThe Fireballs, and many others

Here is he, himself, singing this song followed by my favorite version:

Peter, Paul & Mary – The Marvelous Toy Lyrics

When I was just a wee little lad,
Full of health and joy,
My father homeward came one night
And gave to me a toy.
A wonder to behold it was
With many colors bright
And the moment I laid eyes on it,
It became my heart’s delight.

It went “Zip” when it moved, and “Bop” when it stopped,
And “Whirrr” when it stood still.
I never knew just what it was and I guess I never will.

The first time that I picked it up
I had a big surprise
Cause right on the bottom were two big buttons
That looked like big green eyes
I first pushed one and then the other,
Then I twisted it’s lid
And when I set it down again, here is what it did:


It first marched left, and then marched right
And then marched under a chair
And when I looked where it had gone
It wasn’t even there
I started to cry, but my daddy laughed
‘Cause he knew that I would find,
When I turned around my marvelous toy
Would be chugging from behind.


The years have gone by too quickly it seems,
I have my own little boy
And yesterday I gave to him
My marvelous little toy:
His eyes nearly popped right out of his head
And he gave a squeal of glee!
Neither one of us knows just what it is
But he loves it just like me!

It still goes… (refrain)


I love a well told story. If it makes me laugh, all the better.

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