The IWW used to have long-running free-speech fights, whereby towns
would only allow soap-boxing and collecting by groups like the
Salvation Army. This song, like most of Joe Hill's, was written as
part of that struggle. The tune is a hymn that was parodied. There is
(I think) another verse not here which talks about working hard for
children and wife, which I suspect this version has missed out just
because of its inappropriateness in today's time.
- Long-haired preachers come out every night
- Try to tell you what's wrong and what's right
- But when asked about something to eat
- They will answer in voices so sweet
- 'You will eat, by and by,
- In that glorious land above the sky
- Work and pray, live on hay -
- You'll get pie in the sky when you die' - that's a lie!
- And the Starvation Army they play
- And they sing and the clap and they pray
- Till they get all your coin on the drum
- Then they'll tell you when you're on the bum . . .
- Holy Rollers and Jumpers come out
- And they sing and they clap and they shout
- 'Give your money to Jesus,' they say,
- 'He will cure all diseases today . . .
- Working folks of all countries, unite
- Side by side we for freedom will fight
- When the world and it's wealth we have gained
- To the grafters we'll sing this refrain:
- You will eat, by and by,
- When you've learned how to cook and how to fry
- Chop some wood, it'll do you good
- Then you'll eat in the sweet by and by - that's no lie!
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other radical songs