Washington Talkin' Blues
Words and Music by Woody Guthrie
Long about nineteen twentynine.
I owned a little farm, was a doin' just fine.
Raised a little row crop raised some wheat
Sold it over at the county seat,
Drawed the money. Raised a family.
But the dust came along, and the price went down,
Didn't have the money when the bank come around;
Tumble weeds and the black dust blowed,
So we hit the trail to the land where the waters floed,
Way out across yonder somewhere.
Well, the hot old rocks and the desert sand
Made my mind run back to the dust bowl land,
But my hopes was high and we rolled along
To the Columbia River up in Washington.
Lots of good rain, Little piece of land. Feller might grow something.
We settled down on some cut over land
Pulled up brush and the stumps by hand.
Hot sun burnt up my first crop of wheat
And the river down the canyon just 500 feet.
Might as we of been 50 miles. Couldn't get no water.
We loaded our belongings and we lit out for town
Seen the old vacant houses and farms all around,
And folks a leaving out, if you're asking me
That's as lonesome as sight as a feller can see.
Good land. Grow anything you plant, long as you can get the moisture.
I struck a lumber town and heard the big saw sing,
And when business is good, why lumber's king;
I went to lookin' for a job but the man said no,
So we hit the skids on the old skid row.
Traipsing up and down. Chasing a bite to eat. Kids hungry
Heard about a job, so we hit the wheat
Made about enough for the kids to eat,
Picked in the berries, gathered in the fruit,
Hops, peaches, and the apples, too.
Slept in just about everything except a good warm bed.
Been to Arizona, been to California, too,
Found the people was plenty but the jobs was few;
Well maybe it's like the feller said,
When they ain't enough arok, well, business is dead,
Sorta ailin'. Ain't no money a changin' hands, just people changing places. Folks wastin gasoline a'chasin' around.
Now what we need is a great big dam
To throw a lot of water out acrost that land,
People could work and the stuff would grow
And you could wave goodbye to the old Skid Row
Work hard, raise all kinds of stuff, kids, too. Take it easy.
© Copyright 1988 (renewed) by Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc. & TRO-Ludlow Music, Inc. (BMI)