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I Don't Want Your Millions, Mister

Jim Garland
Lingua: Inglese

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[1932]
Lyrics by Jim Garland
Music: sung to the tune of "East Virginia" or "Greenback Dollar"

Manifesto di un concerto di Jim Garland nel 1963


This song is about the frustration of a man out of work. His master has made a fortune but he is out of a job. The political parties continue their empty rhetoric but he's children are still cold and hungry. (Jim Garland, Sarah Garland Gunning's half-brother, was a contemporary of Woody Guthrie and Heddy "Leadbelly" Leadbetter. He was also one to the troubadour union organizers of the Industrial Workers of the World. He suffered from tuberculosis and took refuge at Leadbelly's home.

"Jim Garland said that he wrote this song about life in the coalfields of Appalachia...
Jim Garland was here in Leadbelly's house, and Jim's wife and their three children. Jim's children were sick lots of the time, and his wife took down with the fogs of TB. Then Jim got down with it, and for a long time he walked and fought it, and he would come to Leadbelly's house for the same reason why I had come, to find your strength to fight the thing that holds you back. He carried his wife, I forget her name right now, but he walked her here because the walk and the sun was good, because their apartment house was sunless, sickening, stinking, and old, run down, chipping away into the winds, and decaying like a marsh full of dead logs.
Jim got up the strength to play his guitar here, and he tried to tell us with his songs and ballads the stories of the ones that went down fighting. Half a song would be a clear story of how the murderous gunthugs hid in the brush and killed the union organizer, Harry Simms, and the other half of the song would be Jim's slogans, his sermons, his plea, his newspaper editorial, his whole appeal for you to come over onto the union side and fight. Jim made up several pieces, I never knew the exact number, I never tried to find out, I never tried to call a verse good or bad, I never had the energy to say that one of his lines needed to be rewritten, another line rubbed out, another one skipped, another one added. I found something bigger and better than all of this is the war that Jim Garland was fighting.
(Woody Guthrie, "Leadbelly Is A Hard Name", American Folksong, New York, 1947, p.11)
I don't want your millions, mister.
I don't want your diamond ring.

All I want's just live and let live,
Give me back my job again.

I don't want your Rolls Royce, mister,
I don't want your pleasure yacht.
All I want is food for my babies,
Now give to me my old job back.

We worked to build this country, mister,
While you enjoyed a life of ease.
You've stolen all that we've built, mister,
Now our children starve and freeze.

Yes, you have a land deed, mister,
The money is all in your name.
But where's the work that you did mister ?
I'm demanding back my job again.

Think me dumb if you wish, mister,
Call me green or blue or red.
There's just one thing that I know, mister,
Our hungry babies must be fed.

We'll organize together, mister,
In one big united band,
And with a Farmer-Labor party
We will win our just demands.

Take the two old parties, mister,
No difference in them I can see.
But with a Farmer-Labor party,
We will set the workers free.

inviata da giorgio - 1/6/2010 - 22:16


La canzone non dovrebbe essere attibuita a Barbara Dane.

Prima di lei (la sua versione è del 1973) l’hanno incisa infatti molti altri, a cominciare dall’autore stesso, Jim Garland (che, fra l’altro, era il fratellastro di Sarah Ogan Gunning)
La sua versione originale si trova, per esempio, nella raccolta intitolata “Newport Broadside”, registrazione del Newport Folk Festival del 1963, pubblicata dalla Vanguard nel 1964.

Newport Broadside

Quella di Woody Guthrie con Pete Seegere The Almanac Singers è del 1941 (poi in “Talking Union and Other Union Songs” del 1955)…
Quella di Tom Rush del 1963…

Quindi Barbara Dane c’entra veramente poco e attribuirei il brano a Jim Garland, che fu anche il coautore, con la sorella Aunt Molly Jackson, di The Death of Harry Simms.

Bernart Bartleby - 15/4/2015 - 11:39



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