PASTURES OF PLENTY

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs

PASTURES OF PLENTY

“Pastures of Plenty” is a 1941 composition by Woody Guthrie. Describing the travails
and dignity of migrant workers, it is evocative of the world described in John Steinbeck‘s
“Grapes of Wrath”. The history of California farm workers is also the history of
immigration and migration. From the Chinese and Japanese of the 1800’s, migrant
workers of the 30’s, to Mexican workers of today, their story is bigger than picking peas,
or loading apples. California is Ellis Island of the West, and as such, can tell us something
about how we as a nation accommodate new arrivals.
Well, it’s always we ramble, this river and I
All along your green valleys, I work till I die
My land I’ll defend with my life need it be
‘Cause my pastures of plenty must always be free
Green pastures of plenty from dry desert ground
From the Grand Coulee Dam where the waters run down
Every state in this union us migrants have been
Lord, we come with the dust and we go with the wind
California, Arizona, I harvest your crops
Then it’s on up North to Oregon to gather your hops
Dig the beet from your ground, cut the grapes from your vine
Just to place on your table your that light, sparkling wine
Well, it’s always we ramble, this river and I
All along your green valleys, I work till I die
My land I’ll defend with my life need it be
‘Cause my pastures of plenty must always be free