Deportee (feat. Gypsy Twang)

04:37
Sarah Barker
2014
Woody Guthrie

Story

In addition to being a lament for the farm workers killed in the crash, the opening lines of "Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos)" are also a protest by Woody Guthrie:

"The crops are all in and the peaches are rotting,

The oranges piled in their creosote dumps”

At the time, government policies paid farmers to destroy their crops in order to keep farm production and prices high. Woody felt it was wrong to render food inedible by poisoning it in a world where hungry people lived.

 

Lyrics

The crops are all in and the peaches are rotting

The oranges stacked in their creosote dumps

They’re flying them back to the Mexican border

To pay all their wages to wade back again

My father’s own father, he waded that river

They took all the money he made in his life

My brothers and sisters come working the fruit trees

They rode the trucks ‘til they took down and died

 

Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye Rosalita

Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria

You won’t have your name

When you ride the big airplane

All they will call you will be ‘Deportee’

 

Some of us are illegal and some are not wanted

The work contracts out and we have to move on

Six hundred miles to the Mexican border

They chase us just like we have done something wrong

We died in your hills and we died in your deserts

We died in your valleys and died on your plains

We died ‘neath your trees and we died in your bushes

Both sides of the river we died just the same

Chorus

The sky plane caught fire over Los Gatos Canyon

A fireball of lightning, and shook all our hills

Who are these friends all scattered like dry leaves?

The radio tells us they’re just deportees

Is this the best way we can grow our big orchards?

Is this the best way we can pick our good fruit?

To fall like the dry leaves and rot on your topsoil

And be known by no name except ‘Deportee’