When You See Those Flying Saucers

While perusing the local newspaper recently, an article caught my eye, big time. The headline read “Extraterrestrial Ground Zero.” Whoa Nelly! I had to read about this. It turns out that the town of Capilla Del Monte in Argentina (population 16,000) has a fetish for creatures from outer space. It all started in 1986 when a giant circle of burned grass was found on the slope of one of the principle hills in the town. Local residents were interviewed and many claimed they had seen a spaceship with flashing fluorescent lights.

The town soon hired Mary Lopez Espitia as director of the Center for UFO Investigation. Espitia convincingly asserts that the majority of the townspeople of Capilla del Monte regularly see UFOs.

To celebrate the town’s unique connection with UFOs, Capilla del Monte holds an annual Alien Festival that draws as many as 30,000 curious visitors from as far away as the USA, France, Germany and Japan. The festival features an alien costume contest, a parade of Star Wars characters, a laser contest and special effects simulating aliens’ arrival on Earth.

Dry Branch Fire Squad

All this excitement about aliens brings to mind a rarely heard bluegrass song called “When You See Those Flying Saucers” which was recorded most recently by the Dry Branch Fire Squad. The song was composed in 1947 by Cy Coben and Charlie Grean and released as a single by the Buchanan Brothers. Chester and Lester Buchanan were an old-time country music brother duet from Georgia who recorded for Bluebird in 1945 and for RCA from 1947-1949.

Cy Coben

If you miss the chance to catch a ride in a flying saucer, don’t miss out on the fun of playing “When You See those Flying Saucers” on the 5-string banjo or the guitar. The tab below works for both of these instruments. The horizontal lines are the strings, which are numbered on the left. The melody is easy to pick out because it uses only eighth notes and quarter notes. The tune starts with two eighth notes (which are tied together with little lines). The quarter notes have a single stem hanging down. If you’re a clawhammer banjo player, you can add the clawhammer lick after any of the quarter notes. If you’re a bluegrasser simply add a pinch (5 and 1 played together) after a quarter note. On guitar, you can strum the chord after any of the quarter notes.

Your best is to pay a friendly visit to Youtube and listen to the original recording of  “When You See those Flying Saucers” as played by the Buchanan Brothers.

 When You See Those Flying Saucers by Cy Coben and Charlie Grean

You’d better pray to the Lord when you see those flying saucers

It may be the coming of the judgement day

It’s a sign there’s no doubt of the trouble that’s about

So I’d say my friend you better start to pray


They’re a terrifying sight as they fly on day and night

It’s a warning that we’d better mend our ways

You’d better pray to the Lord when you see those flying saucers

It may be the coming of the judgement day.


Many people think the saucers might be someone’s foolish dream

Or maybe they were sent down here from Mars

if you just stop and think you’d realize just what it means

they’re more than atom bombs or falling stars


And though the war may be through there’s unrest and trouble brewing

And those flying saucers may be just a sign

That if peace doesn’t come it will be the end of some

So repent today you’re running out of time


When you see the saucers fly like a comet through the sky

You should realize the price you’ll have to pay

You better pray to pray to the Lord when you see those flying saucers

Wayne Erbsen

Wayne Erbsen has been teaching banjo, fiddle, guitar and mandolin since dinosaurs roamed the earth (really about fifty years). Originally from California, he now makes his home in Asheville, North Carolina. He has written thirty songbooks and instructions books for banjo, fiddle, guitar and mandolin. Check out his web site at http://www.nativeground.com/ or email or call for a FREE catalog: (828)299-7031 or banjo@nativeground.com

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