Woody Guthrie’s song version of John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath as sung by Brooklyn’s favorite cowboy, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott. Phil Ochs fans might recognize the melody as the same that Phil used for his own song “Joe Hill,” but Phil was just following tradition since Woody had already stolen the tune from an even earlier song called “John Hardy.”
Woody Guthrie from Oklahoma and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott from Brooklyn sing Monday morning about the legendary bad man Railroad Bill. They’re joined by Sonny Terry on harmonica, who if I’m not mistaken, takes a verse towards the end.
Monday, Phil looking back at us, singing a song inspired by Steinbeck and Woody Guthrie.
“Wherever they’s a fight so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever they’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. If Casy knowed, why, I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad an’ — I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry an’ they know supper’s ready. An’ when our folks eat the stuff they raise an’ live in the houses they build — why, I’ll be there.”–The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
“Some will rob you with a six-gun,
And some with a fountain pen.”—Pretty Boy Floyd, Woody Guthrie