Joe Hill songs

We Will Sing One Song (1913)

Tune: “My Old Kentucky Home” (by Stephen Foster)
First published in 1913 edition of the IWW Little Red Songbook.

We will sing one song of the meek and humble slave,
The horn-handed son of the soil,
He’s toiling hard from the cradle to the grave,
But his master reaps the profits from his toil.
Then we’ll sing one song of the greedy master class,
They’re vagrants in broadcloth, indeed,
They live by robbing the ever-toiling mass,
Human blood they spill to satisfy their greed.

Organize! Oh, toilers, come organize your might;
Then we’ll sing one song of the workers’ commonwealth,
Full of beauty, full of love and health.

We will sing one song of the politician sly,
He’s talking of changing the laws;
Election day all the drinks and smokes he’ll buy,
While he’s living from the sweat of your brow.
Then we’ll sing one song of the girl below the line,
She’s scorned and despised everywhere,
While in their mansions the “keepers” wine and dine
From the profits that immoral traffic bear.

We will sing one song of the preacher, fat and sleek,
He tells you of homes in the sky.
He says, “Be generous, be lowly, and be meek,
If you don’t you’ll sure get roasted when you die.”
Then we sing one song of the poor and ragged tramp,
He carries his home on his back;
Too old to work, he’s not wanted ’round the camp,
So he wanders without aim along the track.

We will sing one song of the children in the mills,
They’re taken from playgrounds and schools,
In tender years made to go the pace that kills,
In the sweatshops, ‘mong the looms and the spools.
Then we’ll sing one song of the One Big Union Grand,
The hope of the toiler and slave,
It’s coming fast; it is sweeping sea and land,
To the terror of the grafter and the knave.

See performances by John Paul Wright, Revolte Ensemble.  For sheet music and karaoke file click here.

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