Old Judge Thayer
Words and Music by Woody Guthrie
Old Judge Thayer take your shackle off of me;
Old Judge Thayer, take your shackle off of me;
Turn your key and set me free,
Old Judge Thayer take your shackle off of me.
The monkey unlocked the courthouse door,
The elephant oiled the hardwood floor;
In did jump the kangaroo,
In did hop the rabbits, too.
Next in come the two baboons,
Next in rolled a dusty storm,
Next in waddled the polar bear
To keep the judge and jury warm.
Everybody knows that the mocking bird
Wrote down every word he heard,
The lawyers all were sly
With foxy nose and a foxy eye.
The 'possum used the big stiff broom,
Then he polished the new spittoon;
Up did smile the crocodile,
Said, "Here comes the jury down the aisle."
The old lady Catfish asked the Trout,
"What is this trial all about?"
The little baby Suckerfish up and said,
"The judge has caught him a couple of Reds."
The Rattlesnake asked the Bumble Bee,
"Whose this Sacco and' Vanzetti?
"Are they the men," said Mammy Quail,
"That shot the clerks at the Slater Mill?"
The Mosquito sung out with his wings,
"I was there and saw the whole blamed thing;
I saw the robbers fire their guns,
But I didn't see these men, neither one."
The big-eyed Owl she looked around,
"They say that Sacco's cap was found
Down on Pearl Street on the ground
Where the payroll guards both got shot down."
"That cap don't fit on Sacco's head,"
A big black Crow flapped up and said,
"They tried that cap on Sacco here,
And it fell down around both his ears."
The Camel asked the old Giraffe,
"Did these two fellows duck the draft
By running down below the Mexican line
To keep from fighting on the rich man's side?"
The limber Duck did rattle his bill.
"All the ducks and Geese are flying still
Down toward Mexico's warm sun
To try to dodge the rich man's gun."
Up did waddle the Lucey Goose.
"I think these men ought to be turned loose.
But old Judge Thayer has swore to friends
These men will get the chair or noose."
And when the guilty verdict came
And seven years in jail they'd laid,
And when these two men there did die,
The animals met on the earth and sky.
"Oh see what fear and greed can do,
See how it killed these sons so true?
Us varmints has got to get together too,
Before Judge Thayer kills me and you."
© Copyright 1960 by Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc.