Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Woody Guthrie's Deportation Song

Woody Guthrie

Woody Guthrie wrote the song "Deportee: Plane Wreck at Los Gatos" in 1949. Some stories say that he actually wrote a poem, which was later made into a son. Below is the link to a video of his son Arlo Guthrie singing the song with Emmylou Harris. The story is very familiar.


Also known as '"Plane Wreck At Los Gatos. From "A Vision Shared: A Tribute To Woody Guthrie And Leadbelly,"' 1988.

Here are the lyrics:

Plane Wreck At Los Gatos (Deportee)

The crops are all in and the peaches are rott'ning,
The oranges piled in their creosote dumps;
They're flying 'em back to the Mexican border
To pay all their money to wade back again

Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye, Rosalita,
Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria;
You won't have your names when you ride the big airplane,
All they will call you will be "deportees"

My father's own father, he waded that river,
They took all the money he made in his life;
My brothers and sisters come working the fruit trees,
And they rode the truck till they took down and died.

Some of us are illegal, and some are not wanted,
Our work contract's out and we have to move on;
Six hundred miles to that Mexican border,
They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves.

We died in your hills, we died in your deserts,
We died in your valleys and died on your plains.
We died 'neath your trees and we died in your bushes,
Both sides of the river, we died just the same.

The sky plane caught fire over Los Gatos Canyon,
A fireball of lightning, and shook all our hills,
Who are all these friends, all scattered like dry leaves?
The radio says, "They are just deportees"

Is this the best way we can grow our big orchards?
Is this the best way we can grow our good fruit?
To fall like dry leaves to rot on my topsoil
And be called by no name except "deportees"?

Thanks to Steve Anderson's article in the Huffington Post -"Right Wing Hypocrosy: Illegal Immigration" http://search.huffingtonpost.com/search/?sp_a=sp100395aa&sp_k=&sp_p=all&sp_f=ISO-8859-1&sp_q=arlo+guthrie

lyrics from Deportee: http://www.woodyguthrie.org/Lyrics/Plane_Wreck_At_Los_Gatos.htm
photo: http://www.bmi.com/news/entry/232878

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