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My other name for the song is "Labor History 101." I used to call it "Ballad of the Proletariat," but Pete Seeger suggested I change the title, pointing out that "proletariat" is a "long, Latin word" which "might as well be in Swahili, or Chinese."
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Genre:
Acoustic - Folk
Songs by artist:
264 songs
Upload date
June 14, 2005
Meta data
MP3 10.3 MB
128 kbps bitrate
0:00 minutes
Words/music
David Rovics © David Rovics 1998 All Rights Reserved
Story behind the song
I already recorded this song on my CD, Make It So, and might not have recorded it once again, except that when Anne Feeney heard me sing it around a campfire at the Kerrville Folk Festival, she said she liked it but that it might stand a little editing. I had long thought that myself, and after she made the suggestion, Chrysler helped me cut out half the verses during a long drive one night someplace in the midwest. My other name for the song is "Labor History 101." I used to call it "Ballad of the Proletariat," but Pete Seeger suggested I change the title, pointing out that "proletariat" is a "long, Latin word" which "might as well be in Swahili, or Chinese." I originally wrote the song in the spring of '93, and it has obviously been a victim of the "folk process."
Lyrics
I pulled the stones for the emperor, stacked 'em up and made that wall I thought, a mountain lasts forever but the rain must always fall I worked the mines in Chile for conquistador Died there in the pitshaft, joined my family with the ore I tapped the trees for Leopold, and then he took my hands The sap sailed to Brussels and my blood stained the lands I cut down the sugar cane on the islands off the coast Oh but the sweet taste of freedom is the stuff that I love most (chorus) Tell me who am I Do you know my name Will I lie forgotton Or arise in glory and fame I fought with Poncho Villa, stood with him side by side When the Bluecoats took the land, I thought how long is freedom's ride I was there at Haymarket with the martyrs eight For striking in Chicago, death would have to be my fate I cut the timber in Centralia, nearly broke my back Tried to organize a union and they tied me to the tracks I fought in Barcelona, kept the fascists there at bay Then when Hitler's tanks came rolling, I knew we couldn't stay (Chorus) I mined the ore in Arizona, last of the Navajo Got that radium a-glowin' then it was time for me to go I marched in South Africa, found myself in Sharpeville Once the police came and went I was lying oh so still I campaigned for Allende for a nation without fear Didn't look behind me for the day I'd disappear I spoke at Tiananmen to revive the revolution Didn't think for Deng Xiaoping, rolling tanks were his solution (Chorus) I grew the mangos in Somalia for the people in the west And when the price of fruit went down, I went down starving with the rest I worked the plant in Bangkok, breathed the dusty air When the cotton started burning, I knew my life would not be spared The cops beat me in Los Angeles but I would not be scared When they sent the Army in, I thought next time we'll be prepared Yes I've been yearning for a new day, all the world wide Some day my time will come and you will have to step aside (Chorus) ---- Created December, 1998 Copyright David Rovics 1998, all rights reserved