DO RE MI

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs

DO RE MI

“Do Re Mi” is the title of a folksong by American songwriter Woody Guthrie. The song
deals with the experiences and reception of Dust Bowl migrants when they arrive in
California..
The message of the song parallels a theme of John Steinbeck‘s seminal novel The
Grapes of Wrath”, where in the Joad family makes a dangerous, expensive trip from their
home in Oklahoma to California. They encounter a fellow Dust Bowl migrant at a
roadside rest-stop who tells them to turn back, echoing the cautionary tone of the song.
He cites his own loss and misfortune (he mentions the trials of his dead wife and his
underfed children ‘moaning like pups’) as a warning to others to avoid the same fate.
Continuing on in spite of this, the Joads arrive in California nearly penniless, and having
buried the two oldest members of the family. There they find there is indeed not enough
work or pay to make ends meet.
Lots of folks back East, they say, is leavin’ home every day,
Beatin’ the hot old dusty way to the California line.
‘Cross the desert sands they roll, gettin’ out of that old dust bowl,
They think they’re goin’ to a sugar bowl, but here’s what they find
Now, the police at the port of entry say,
“You’re number fourteen thousand for today.”
Oh, if you ain’t got the do re mi, folks, you ain’t got the do re mi,
Why, you better go back to beautiful Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Georgia, Tennessee.
California is a garden of Eden, a paradise to live in or see;
But believe it or not, you won’t find it so hot
If you ain’t got the do re mi.
You want to buy you a home or a farm, that can’t deal nobody harm,
Or take your vacation by the mountains or sea.
Don’t swap your old cow for a car, you better stay right where you are,
Better take this little tip from me.
‘Cause I look through the want ads every day
But the headlines on the papers always say:
If you ain’t got the do re mi, boys, you ain’t got the do re mi,
Why, you better go back to beautiful Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Georgia, Tennessee.
California is a garden of Eden, a paradise to live in or see;
But believe it or not, you won’t find it so hot
If you ain’t got the do re mi