My Thirty Thousand

Paul Robeson he’s the man
That faced the Ku Klux Klan
On hollow grove’s golfing ground
His words come sounding!
And all around him there
To jump and clap and cheer
I sent the best, the best I had
My thirty thousand

The Klansman leader said
That Paul would lose his head
When thirty five thousand vets
Broke up that concert.
But less than four thousand came
To side with the Klan!
But around Paul’s lonesome oak
(My thirty thousand).

A beersoaked brassy band
Did snortle around the grounds
Four hundred noblest souls
(Westchester’s manhood)!
They looked exactly like
Fleas on a tiger’s back;
Lost fish in the waters of
My thirty thousand!

When Paul had sung and gone
And the kids and babies home
Cops came with guns and clubs
And clubbed and beat them!
I’d hate to be a cop
Caught with a bloody stick,
('Cause you can’t bash the brains out
of thirty thousand)!

Each eye you tried to gouge,
Each skull you tried to crack,
Has a thousand thousand friends
Around this green grass!
If you furnish the skull someday
I'll pass out the clubs and guns
To the billion hands that love
My thirty thousand!

Each wrinkle on your face
I know it at a glance,
You cannot run and hide
Nor duck nor dodge them.
And your carcass and your deeds
Will fertilize the seeds
Of the men that stood to guard
My thirty thousand!

Words: Woody Guthrie (1949) | Music: Billy Bragg
Jay Bennett: banjo, melodica, backing vocal
Billy Bragg: guitar, vocal
Eliza Carthy: violin
Ken Coomer: drums
Ben Ivitsky: viola
John Stirratt: bass


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