Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Woody Wuz a Spartacus Too




Woody Guthrie hated injustice. He despised people getting picked on and exploited. Woody would have been disgusted by pasty pudgy little peckerwoods like Karl Rove saying that they though their kids were too fucking good to pick some tomatoes or make a bed. Karl also implies that the people who do those jobs for us don't deserve a living wage or any of his concern. Karl Rove is a prime example of some of the things that I see which are wrong in the world. All through junior high and high school my friends and I went out into the melon fields. Cantaloupe and watermelon by the acre. We weeded, we hoed, we picked, we loaded, we packed. We worked our asses off until the harvest went further north. That way we had money for clothes, shoes and books the next year. Once I even bought a car with some of the money. I spent a whole $100 on that car. It lasted a good long time too.

My kids haven't had to do that. Mostly it's because I am a lucky bastard who has been given a chance to make some pretty decent money. My kids have gone with me to the fields though. They know very well that there are many, many good people who are only hoping for a chance to have a back breaking job for a season or two.

Anyway back to Woody. He said this about this song.

Seen the pitcher last night, Grapes of Wrath, best cussed pitcher I ever seen.
The Grapes of Wrath, you know is about us pullin' out of Oklahoma and Arkansas, and down south, and a driftin' around over state of California, busted, disgusted, down and out, and a lookin' for work.

Shows you how come us to be that a way. Shows the dam bankers men that broke us and the dust that choked us, and comes right out in plain old English and says what to do about it.

It says you got to get together and have some meetins, and stick together, and raise old billy hell till you get youre job, and get your farm back, and your house and your chickens and your groceries and your clothes, and your money back.

Go to see Grapes of Wrath, pardner, go to see it and don't miss.

You was the star in that picture. Go and see your own self and hear your own words and your own song.

Woody Guthrie, in one of his People's World columns (1939-'40), reprinted in Woody Sez, New York, NY, 1975, p. 133.


John Edwards talks the talk of this song. I 'spect to see me some walkin' before I go any farther in my support.

You can listen to the tune right here it's an old outlaw ballad called Tom Hardy. It's a long song. It takes about a week to memorize well enough to perform and almost seven minutes to sing if you don't drag the tempo. One of my daughters said it did a better job on hitting the important parts of the novel than Cliff Notes.

Tom Joad

Tom Joad got out of the old McAlester Pen;
There he got his parole.
After four long years on a man killing charge,
Tom Joad come a-walkin' down the road, poor boy,
Tom Joad come a-walkin' down the road.
Tom Joad, he met a truck driving man;
There he caught him a ride.
He said, "I just got loose from McAlester Pen
On a charge called homicide,
A charge called homicide."

That truck rolled away in a cloud of dust;
Tommy turned his face toward home.
He met Preacher Casey, and they had a little drink,
But they found that his family they was gone,
He found that his family they was gone.

He found his mother's old fashion shoe,
Found his daddy's hat.
And he found little Muley and Muley said,
"They've been tractored out by the cats,
They've been tractored out by the cats."

Tom Joad walked down to the neighbor's farm,
Found his family.
They took Preacher Casey and loaded in a car,
And his mother said, "We've got to get away."
His mother said, "We've got to get away."

Now, the twelve of the Joads made a mighty heavy load;
But Grandpa Joad did cry.
He picked up a handful of land in his hand,
Said: "I'm stayin' with the farm till I die.
Yes, I'm stayin' with the farm till I die."

They fed him short ribs and coffee and soothing syrup;
And Grandpa Joad did die.
They buried Grandpa Joad by the side of the road,
Grandma on the California side,
They buried Grandma on the California side.

They stood on a mountain and they looked to the west,
And it looked like the promised land.
That bright green valley with a river running through,
There was work for every single hand, they thought,
There was work for every single hand.

The Joads rolled away to the jungle camp,
There they cooked a stew.
And the hungry little kids of the jungle camp
Said: "We'd like to have some, too."
Said: "We'd like to have some, too."

Now a deputy sheriff fired loose at a man,
Shot a woman in the back.
Before he could take his aim again,
Preacher Casey dropped him in his track, poor boy,
Preacher Casey dropped him in his track.

They handcuffed Casey and they took him in jail;
And then he got away.
And he met Tom Joad on the old river bridge,
And these few words he did say, poor boy,
These few words he did say.

"I preached for the Lord a mighty long time,
Preached about the rich and the poor.
Us workin' folkses, all get together,
'Cause we ain't got a chance anymore.
We ain't got a chance anymore."

Now, the deputies come, and Tom and Casey run
To the bridge where the water run down.
But the vigilante thugs hit Casey with a club,
They laid Preacher Casey on the ground, poor Casey,
They laid Preacher Casey on the ground.

Tom Joad, he grabbed that deputy's club,
Hit him over the head.
Tom Joad took flight in the dark rainy night,
And a deputy and a preacher lying dead, two men,
A deputy and a preacher lying dead.

Tom run back where his mother was asleep;
He woke her up out of bed.
An' he kissed goodbye to the mother that he loved,
Said what Preacher Casey said, Tom Joad,
He said what Preacher Casey said.

"Ever'body might be just one big soul,
Well it looks that a-way to me.
Everywhere that you look, in the day or night,
That's where I'm a-gonna be, Ma,
That's where I'm a-gonna be.

Wherever little children are hungry and cry,
Wherever people ain't free.
Wherever men are fightin' for their rights,
That's where I'm a-gonna be, Ma.
That's where I'm a-gonna be."



Yeah, Woody was a Spartacus. I cannot speak for the other contributors to Big Brass Blog, it wouldn't be right or proper for me to do so. I do, with this post, invite them to stand with Spartacus, Shakes, Amanda, Woody, and me. I bet the Dark Wraith could enlighten us non-coding geniuses on how to lump up the byline on this one.

Big Brass Blog

10 Comments:

Blogger Rez Dog said...

This shit from the wingers will not stop because it works so well. I'm far away from supporting anyone for president but John Edwards has demonstrated that he is unwilling to push back hard against the hate mongers. He and the rest of the pack will need to show some real spine if they want my support.

4:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is an absolutely fantastic post!

8:09 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

and where were the other voices? one blogger i read was talking about how there haven't been any other catholic organizations aligning themselves with donohue. the thing is though that the maxim of canon law, english common law, and the american constitution is qui tacet consentere. silence gives consent.

if you shut up about it, then you consent.

as far as this being a fantastic post, 80% was pure woody guthrie. can't get much better than that. i just tried to stay out of his way.

8:52 PM  
Anonymous horsedooty said...

I have read somewhere that The Catholic League may be in violation of the 501 c 3 laws. I am no expert but 501 c 3 laws state that they are not allowed to get involved with politics in any manner. Can anyone say if that is true. If it is, then we need to find a lawyer for pro bono to file on this asshole and his racist organization.

yo soy Horsedooty!

wasn't there a sign painted on Woodies guitar that said "this machine eats fascist" ?

7:39 AM  
Anonymous amish451 said...

...get together and have some meetings, and stick together, and raise old Billy Hell ...

I am sure that Woody would have been amazed at the how of meetings now; but I'm betting he would be reading here and at Shakes and no doubt have his own place ...gotta wonder if Edwards reads past his own site ...

8:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

horsedooty, hunt around on the web a bit and you're bound to encounter a blog giving you specific instructions on how to flie a complaint about that with the IRS.

IIRC, the contention is that he was pressuring a political campaign to fire two of its employees, and that necessarily suggests he was exerting influence in a political campaign, rather than on a political issue.

- oddjob

8:22 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

while serving in the merchant marine during WWII (on the same ship as cisco houston) woody painted on his guitar in red lead primer "this machine kills fascists"

9:50 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

it's already been filed in new york along with a shitload of other motions. in washington too. i think the guiding principle will remain that "it's OK if you're a republican" but let's see.

9:52 AM  
Anonymous horsedooty said...

excellent news about the petitions

motherfucker deserves every piece of shit thrown at him.

yo soy Horsedooty!

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Vervet said...

Thanks for another great post, MB.
I also wanted to say that when I was in college I, along with my husband-to-be (now ex) roomed with an elderly couple who had a few acres of land, and I earned my keep by weeding, planting, and picking fruits and vegetables from their garden. I am a better person for that experience.
Rez dog, I agree with you about John Edwards. He will need to show that he will really stand up against people like Donohue and his hateful ilk before he will get my support. I called and e-mailed his campaign yesterday to tell them as much and-no response.

3:23 PM  

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