Tom Joad

Words & Music : Woody Guthrie
Lyric as sung by Dick Gaughan

Tom Joad got out of the old McAlester pen
There he got his parole
After four long years on a man-killing charge
Tom Joad came a-walking down the road
Tom Joad came a walking down the road

Tom Joad he met with a truck driving man
There he took a little ride
He said, "I just got loose from McAlester's pen
On a charge called homicide"

Well, that truck rolled away in a cloud of dust
Tommy set his face towards home
He met Preacher Casey and they had a little drink
And he found that his family they was gone

They found his mother's old fashioned shoe
They found his daddy's hat
They found little Muley and Muley did say
"They've been tractored out by the cats"

Tom Joad went down to a neighbour's farm
And he found his family
They took Preacher Casey and they loaded up a car
And his mother said "We got to get away"

Now the twelve of the Joads made a mighty heavy load
And Grandpa Joad he did cry
He picked up a handful of earth in his hand
He said, "I'm stayin' with my farm until I die"

They fed him short ribs and coffee and soothing syrup
But Grandpa Joad he did die
They buried Grandpa Joad by the side of the road
Buried Grandma on the California side

They stood on a mountain and they looked to the west
And it looked like the promised land
That bright green valley with the river running through
There'd be work for every single hand, they thought

The Joads rolled away to the jungle camp
There they cooked them up a stew
And the hungry little children of the jungle camp
They said, "We'd like to have some too"

Then a deputy sheriff fired loose at a man
And he shot a woman in the back
But before he could take his aim once again
Preacher Casey dropped him in his tracks

They handcuffed Casey and they took him to jail
But then he got away
He met Tom Joad by the side of the road
And these few words he did say

"Well, I've preached for the Lord for a mighty long time
I've preached about the rich and the poor
But us working people got to all stand together
Or we ain't got a chance anymore."

Then the deputies come and Tom and Casey did run
To the bridge where the river runs down
But a deputy sheriff got Casey with a club
And he laid Preacher Casey in the ground.

Tom Joad he grabbed that deputy's club
And he hit him over the head
Tom Joad took flight in the dark and rainy night
With a preacher and a deputy lying dead

Tom Joad he run where his mother lay asleep
He woke her out of her bed
He kissed goodbye to the mother that he loved
And he told her what Preacher Casey said

"Everybody might be but one big soul
It looks that way to me
Wherever you look in the day or the night
That's where I'm gonna be, Ma"

"Wherever little children go hungry and cry
Wherever people aren't free
Where working people are fighting for their rights
That's where I'm gonna be, Ma"


Top of Page