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Plow Under

Almanac Singers
Language: English


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La canzone che chiude il controverso album 'Songs for John Doe' (vedi Ballad Of October 16th) è l'ironica "Plow Under" (Sotterrali), la quale mette a confronto una tattica del controverso New Deal Roosveltiano ,l'Agricultural Adjustment Association con le inevitabili conseguenze di una guerra non voluta.

'Songs for John Doe' (see also Ballad Of October 16th) closed with the sardonic 'Plow Under.' It compares a controversial policy of Roosevelt's first New Deal agency, the Agricultural Adjustment Association, to the inevitable casualties of an unwanted war.
(Ronald D. Cohen & Dave Samuelson, liner notes for "Songs for Political Action," Bear Family Records BCD 15720 JL, 1996, pp. 77-78.)

(from this page

The Almanac Singers.
The Almanac Singers.


jdoeTHE SONGS FOR JOHN DOE
Questa canzone degli Almanac Singers di Pete Seeger, scritta in un momento in cui gli Stati Uniti erano ancora neutrali nella Seconda Guerra Mondiale, conteneva una critica feroce contro il presidente Roosevelt e la sua decisione di iniziare il riarmo del paese.
Con un tempismo estremamente sfortunato l'album venne pubblicato proprio poche settimane prima che Hitler invadesse l'Unione Sovietica.
A seguito dei fatti del maggio 1941, però, l'album fu ritirato in tutta fretta ed il gruppo pubblicò un nuovo disco di canzoni anti-hitleriane tra le quali spicca Dear Mr. President, un talking blues che si rivolge direttamene a Roosvelt dicendo "Lo so che non siamo sempre stati d'accordo in passato, ma la prima cosa da fare è battere Hitler. Il resto può aspettare"

The song dates from the period in which the United States was strictly neutral but had begun re-armament and the first peace-time US draft (Act passed Saturday, 9/14/40). On October 16, 1940 it was announced that 16,500,000 men had registered.

This song and its album, "SONGS FOR JOHN DOE" proved something of an embarrassment to the Almanacs. Just a few weeks after it was released in May 1941, Hitler ordered the invasion of the USSR. The album was shelved and they soon came out with anti-Hitler songs.
( Notes based on those of Guy Logsdon & Jeff Place from the Folkways album "That's Why We're Marching"
Copyright Abby Sale, 1997. Used by permission. All publication rights are retained by author, but limited broadcast license will probably be granted on request.)

Set to the tune of 'Jesse James,' 'The Ballad of October 16th' was one of Lampell's earliest works; the title of this vitriolic anti-Roosevelt song refers to the day in 1940 when Congress passed the peacetime draft law. "No other peace song of the pact era proved more popular in the Communist movement," Richard Reuss later wrote. Critics from both the right and the left would later use 'The Ballad of October 16th' to embarass the Almanacs after the left turned to a pro-Roosevelt stance.
( Ronald D. Cohen & Dave Samuelson, liner notes for "Songs for Political Action," Bear Family Records BCD 15720 JL, 1996, p. 77.)

from This page

Dear Mr. President is direct antithesis of the songs of this album where Seeger says directly to Roosvelt: "We haven't always agreed in the past, I know / But that ain't at all important now / What is important is what we got to do / We got to lick Mr. Hitler, and until we do / Other things can wait."
Remember when the AAA
Killed a million hogs a day
Instead of hogs it's men today
Plow the fourth one under.

Plow under, plow under
Plow under
Every fourth American boy.

They said our agricultural
System was about to fall
From Washington they sent a call
Plow the fourth one under.

Plow under, plow under
Plow under
Every fourth American boy.

The price of cotton wouldn't rise
They said, "We've got to fertilize"
So now on us they turn their eyes
Plow the fourth one under.

Plow under, plow under
Plow under
Every fourth American boy.

They said our system wouldn't work
Until we killed the surplus off
So now they look at us and say
Plow the fourth one under.

Plow under, plow under
Plow under
Every fourth American boy.

Any ignorant mule does know
Better than to step on a cotton row
But there ain't no mules in Congress, so
Plow the fourth one under.

Plow under, plow under
Plow under
Every fourth American boy.

Now the politicians rant
A boy's no better than a cotton plant
But we are here to say you can't
Plow the fourth one under.

Plow under,
(Don't you...) Plow under
(Don't you...) Plow under
Every fourth American boy.
(Now, don't you...) Plow under,
(Don't you...) Plow under
(Don't you...) Plow under
Every fourth American boy.

2005/8/22 - 23:42



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