Satirical lyrics for "This Land is Their Land"

The booklet these lyrics are from, discussed in a blog posting I did on January 19, is a complex work, in many ways posing more questions than providing answers.  I asked our readers to analyze the lyrics and think about the intent of the authors.  Here is some more information to inform you about this item:

There is no published date for the book but from some lyrics it appears that it was published in 1947.

The lyrics in the booklet are highly satirical of the conflict between those in power, both polititians and others in control by virtue of wealth or ownership of businesses, and workers.  The lyrics are very bitter to those who own Cadillacs (a very fancy and expensive car, especially in the 1940s), are landlords, are on Wall Street and in Hollywood, as in the song “This Land is Their Land,” or to the President (at that time Harry S Truman), implying that he is playing golf while workers suffer, as in the song “The Right to Suffer Blues.”  Burning Tree is a reference to an exclusive golf club in Greenwich, Connecticut.

There are references to publications of the Communist Party, including The Daily Worker, and the Socialist Workers Party, who published Labor Action.

The lyrics to “The Right to Suffer Blues” has an interesting play on the word “putts,” with a note to those who speak Yiddish that it means “to hit the ball.”   It actually is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Yiddish word “putz,” which means a stupid person.

This primary source conforms to the Connecticut Social Studies Curriculum Framework for high school students, particularly Strand 1.1, grade level expectation 7 — compare and contrast various American Beliefs, values and political ideologies.

Laura Smith, Curator for Business, Railroad and Labor Collections

Advertisements