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If you are interested in licensing a song for publication, recording, performance, or other, please contact the publisher.

Questions? Contact Anna Canoni at: acanoni(at)woodyguthrie.org

All works by Woody Guthrie are held under U.S. Copyright Law.

Look at the bottom of each lyric page to find the correct publisher.

TRO-Essex Music Group
Attn: Sarah Smith
266 West 37th Street, 17th Floor
New York, NY 10018-6609
T: 212-594-9795 x25
E: NorthAmericaLicensing(at)troessexmusic.com

Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc.
(Administered by BMG Chrysalis)
1 Music Circle South, Suite #500
Nashville, TN 37203
E: mechanical(at)bmg.com (Mechanical licenses)
E: licensing(at)bmg.com (Synch licenses)

Sanga Music Group
(Administered by Bicycle Music)
449 South Beverly Drive, Suite 300
Beverly Hills, CA 90212 
T: 310-286-6600

Michael Goldsen Music, Inc.
(Administered by Universal Music)

2100 Colorado Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90404
T: (310) 235-4892
E: umpg.songlist(at)umusicpub.com



Talking Columbia
Words and Music by Woody Guthrie

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:

Columbia River Collection
Woody Guthrie