THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs
  • THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND
    “This Land Is Your Land” is one of the United States most famous folk songs. Its lyrics
    were written by Woody Guthrie in 1940 on an existing melody, in response to Irving
    Berlin‘s God Bless America“, which Guthrie considered unrealistic and complacent.
    Tired of hearing Kate Smith sing it on the radio, he wrote a response originally called
    “God Blessed America for Me”. Guthrie varied the lyrics over time, sometimes including
    more overtly political verses than appear in recordings or publications.
    Guthrie lifted the melody of “This Land Is Your Land” essentially note-for-note from
    “When the World’s on Fire”, a Baptist hymn recorded by country legends the Carter
    Family ten years earlier. However, some sources claim that a Carter Family original,
    “Little Darlin’ Pal of Mine,” was the source of the melody for “This Land.” He wrote the
    song in 1940 and recorded it in 1944. The song was not published until 1951, when it was
    included in a mimeographed booklet of ten songs with typed lyrics and hand drawings.
    The song was brought back to life in the 1960s, when several artists of the new folk
    movement, including Bob Dylan, The Kingston Trio, The New Christy Minstrels and
    Peter Paul and Mary, recorded versions, inspired by its political message.
    Bruce Springsteen once again brought back the song in 2008 as set closer when
    performing acoustic concerts in support of Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack
    Obama, this time adding a “Yes We Can” chant before and after the song.
    This land is your land, this land is my land
    From California, to the New York Island
    From the redwood forest, to the Gulf Stream waters
    This land was made for you and me
    As I was walking a ribbon of highway
    I saw above me an endless skyway
    I saw below me a golden valley
    This land was made for you and me
    Chorus
    I’ve roamed and rambled and I’ve followed my footsteps
    To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
    And all around me a voice was sounding
    This land was made for you and me
    Chorus
    The sun comes shining as I was strolling
    The wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
    The fog was lifting a voice come chanting
     This land was made for you and me
    Chorus
    As I was walkin’ – I saw a sign there
    And that sign said – no tress passin’
    But on the other side …. it didn’t say nothin!
    Now that side was made for you and me!
    Chorus
    In the squares of the city – In the shadow of the steeple
    Near the relief office – I see my people
    And some are grumblin’ and some are wonderin’
    If this land’s still made for you and me.
    Chorus (2x)