Talking Columbia
Words and Music by Woody Guthrie
Contact Publisher - TRO-Essex Music Group

I was down 'long the river, just settin' on a rock,
Lookin' at the boats in Bonneville Lock.
And the gate swings open and the boat sails in,
Toots her whistle, she's gone a gin'!

Well, I fills up my hat brim, drunk a sweet taste,
Thought 'bout the river goin' to waste,
Thought 'bout the dust, thought 'bout the sand,
Thought 'bout the people, thought 'bout the land.
Ever'body runnin' round all over creation,
Just lookin' for some kind of a little place.

Pulled out my pencil, scribbled this song,
I figgered all these salmon fishers can't be wrong.
Them salmon fish, they're mighty shrewd,
They got senators, politicians, too!
Just like a President, they run ever' four years.

Yes, them folks back east are doin' a lot o' talkin',
Some of 'em balkin' and some of 'em squawkin'
But with all their figgerin' and all their books,
Well, they just didn't know them raw Chinooks.
Salmon! That's a good river!

Just watch this river and pretty soon
Ever'body's goin' to be changin' their tune.
The big Grand Coulee and Bonneville Dam
Run a thousand factories for Uncle Sam.
An' ever'body else in the world
Makin' ever'thing from sewing machines to fertilizer
Atomic bedrooms!... Plastic!
Everything's gonna be made out of plastic!

Yes, Uncle Sam needs wool, Uncle Sam needs wheat,
Uncle Sam needs houses and stuff to eat,
Uncle Sam needs water and power dams,
Uncle Sam needs people and people needs land.
Don't like dictators not much, myself,
But I think the whole country ought to be run
By electricity!

© Copyright 1961 (renewed), 1963 (renewed) by Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc. & TRO-Ludlow Music, Inc. (BMI)
Available on:
Album cover art where song appears
Album cover art where song appears

Columbia River Collection
Woody Guthrie