Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafesonny

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


ADD: The Grape Pickers Tragedy (Jack Warshaw)

DigiTrad:
DEPORTEES


Related threads:
New Info About Woody Guthrie's Deportee (29)
Looking for a particular recording of 'Deportees' (41)
(origins) Origins:Deportees-seeking original Woody recording (118)
(origins) Origin: Plane Wreck At Los Gatos (background) (44)
happy? – Jan 29 (Los Gatos crash) (12)
song challenge: deportees/illegal migrants (6)
W. Guthrie's Deportees: meaning? (57) (closed)
(origins) Origins: was Deportees based on Bold Robert Emmet (13)
oranges and creosote (10)


Jim Carroll 08 Jun 09 - 09:13 AM
GUEST,Jack Warshaw 08 Jul 09 - 12:44 PM
Songbob 08 Jul 09 - 01:29 PM
Joe Offer 10 Mar 10 - 02:06 AM
GUEST 15 Mar 10 - 02:28 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Mar 10 - 08:30 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 16 Mar 10 - 12:10 PM
GUEST 13 Apr 12 - 11:35 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:



Subject: RE: Looking for a version of 'Deportees'
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 09:13 AM

Anybody who likes Deportees should look out for Jack Warshaw's 'Crop Dusters' Lament' which has many similarities.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: ADD: The Grape Pickers Tragedy
From: GUEST,Jack Warshaw
Date: 08 Jul 09 - 12:44 PM

The actual title of "Crop Duster's Lament" is "The Grape Pickers Tragedy"
Sung: Seeger, Peggy. From Where I Stand. Topical Songs from America and England, Folkways FW 8563, LP (1982), trk# A.05


THE GRAPE PICKERS TRAGEDY
(Jack Warshaw)

The nighttime is hot and the city is sleeping
Ramon Sanches takes Maria his wife by the hand
The American border's a mile down the highway
The border they gotta cross over to work on the land
Cross over to work on the land

Ramon and Maria just follow the footsteps
To a place called "the Hole" where ten thousand stand in a line
If you look like you're strong you'll get work in the vinyards
Where fruitflys are thicker than dust or the grapes on the vine
Than dust or the grapes on the vine

At four the bus starts on another day's journey
At six see the sun in the hlls and the sky glowin' red
At eight they arrive, by nine they are weary
By eleven the drone of the duster is heard overhead

You work in a blizzard of fruit flies and hoppers
You bend and you bleed and you sweat and you choke and you crawl
Your lungs fill with dust and your body is broken
The life of a picker, you know it ain't no life at all
You know it ain't no life at all

The duster plane circled low over the vineyard
Ramon knew the sound that means run for the trucks or the shed
It came down like rain where Maria was working
Maria worked on, but a few hours later fell dead
A few hours later fell dead

Ramon, said the grower, we're all mighty sorry
She must have been sick long before she come up from the South
The spray can't hurt people and we don't want trouble
So here's your day's pay, dont come back and don't open your mouth
Don't come back and don't open your mouth

He threw down the money, walked out of the office
Maria was taken to town and they gave him her things
There's nowhere to go now but over the border
Adios mi Maria, it's their death the next harvest brings
It's their death the next harvest brings


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Looking for a version of 'Deportees'
From: Songbob
Date: 08 Jul 09 - 01:29 PM

"Crop Duster's Lament" is "The Grape Pickers Tragedy"

I'm sorry, but the story line doesn't make any damned sense. Why would they be dusting during harvest? I could see it if it was a mistake -- they dusted the wrong field. And I can easily see that the growers wouldn't quibble at the death of a simple grape picker. But the story just doesn't hold up as written.

Sorry. There is "truthiness," but no truth. Unless someone can enlighten me about crop-dusting practices.

Bob


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: ADD Version: the Grape Picker's Tragedy (Warshaw)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Mar 10 - 02:06 AM

Peggy Seeger's version of "The Grape Pickers Tragedy" is quite different from the lyrics Jack Warshaw posted above. Her recording is on From Where I Stand: Topical Songs from America and England. I think her version tightens the song up a bit, so it makes better sense. Still, it's quite possible for pickers to be working in the fields when cropdusters are active - more likely when the pickers were dressing vines, not picking. Fresno is the center of California agriculture, and I worked in the Fresno area back in the late 70's, and I'd occasionally see people working in the fields when there were cropdusters above - they may have been in the next field over, but that's still too close. You still occasionally hear of farmworkers getting sprayed by cropdusters.

Here are the lyrics from the liner notes:

THE GRAPE PICKER'S TRAGEDY
(Jack Warshaw)

The night-time is hot and the city is sleeping,
Ramon Sanchez takes Maria, his wife, by the hand;
The American border's a mile down the highway,
The border you've got to cross over to work on the land.
     Cross over to work on the land.

Ramon and Maria just follow the foot-steps
To a place called "The Hole" a little ways over the line;
Ten-thousand are begging for work in the vineyards,
Where fruitflies and hoppers are thicker than grapes on the vine.
     Thicker than grapes on the vine.

At four the bus starts on another day's journey.
At six see the sun in the sky and the hills glowing red.
At eight they arrive, and by nine they are weary.
At eleven the drone of the duster is heard overhead.
     The duster is heard overhead.

The dusterplane's loaded with tanks of spray poison
To kill off the fruitflies and hoppers that damage the crops,
But it's killed off the insects that feed on the fruitflies,
They're breeding unchecked and so fast that the dusting can't stop.
     So fast that the dusting can't stop.

The dusterplane circled low over the vineyard;
Ramon knew the sound that means 'run for the trucks or the shed';
The poison rained down where Maria was working;
Maria worked on, and a few hours later was dead.
     And a few hours later was dead.

"Ramon," said the grower, "We're all mighty sorry.
She must have been sick long before she come up from the south.
That spray don't hurt people, you know we don't want trouble,
So here's your day's pay, go away, and don't open your mouth.
     Go away, and don't open your mouth."

He turned on his heel and walked out of the office.
Maria was taken to town and they gave him her things.
There's nowhere to go but back over the border.
Adios, mi Maria, it's their blood the next harvest brings.
     It's their blood the next harvest brings.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ADD: The Grape Pickers Tragedy (Jack Warshaw)
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 02:28 PM

I wrote it in 1970, based on an article in the Sunday Times magazine 1 Feb, called "The Grapes of Wrath Vintage 1970" by prize winning author Norman Lewis. Everything about crossing the border, conditions, crop dusting etc. was true then. That's why I was moved to write it. I only invented the characters and the ending. Peggy cut one verse and changed a few words. My version can be viewed on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6h1Aeo7qWR4

Best wishes, Jack


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ADD: The Grape Pickers Tragedy (Jack Warshaw)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 08:30 PM

"Best wishes, Jack "
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ADD: The Grape Pickers Tragedy (Jack Warshaw)
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 16 Mar 10 - 12:10 PM

I grew up in the central San Joaquin Valley of California, where this song was derived. I had many schoolmates and playmates who were children of farm workers, a number of whom lived in labor quarters.

Particularly in the Kern County area, near the town of Delano, there were examples of egregious disregard of field workers' conditions; re: safety, health and living quarters. Fortunately, many of the insecticides used prior to the 1970's, DDT being one, are now banned. Most of the health and safety concerns were addressed legally and practically many years ago. Most, but not all.

One of my cousins flew crop dusters for many years. He would not fly in proximity to fields where pickers or other laborers were working. In fact, his concern for these people is probably what cost him his life. He was making an early morning pass over a field when he spotted carloads of workers pulling in where they were not supposed to be. In attempting to quickly abort his pass, he hooked his wheels over a high power line and crashed.

It is very likely that a number of pilots or those that hired them failed to adequately account for winds drifting insecticides to adjacent fields, exposing the workers. I have never known farmers callous enough to purposely expose their employees, but some certainly did so out of ignorance or neglect. Huge corporate farms were the principal culprits.

But, if you were one of those workers, especially someone who lost loved ones during that time, all of that surely rings hollow. The words are poignant still. Cesar Chavez is celebrated as the man who did the most to expose the wrongs and protect the workers. Had Woody Guthrie lived, he probably would have written a song for Cesar and for the victims.

Sorry for the ramble, but this brought a flood of memories to me.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ADD: The Grape Pickers Tragedy (Jack Warshaw)
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Apr 12 - 11:35 AM

Joe, is there a way I can get in touch with you? I have some questions about the plane wreck at Los Gatos, and you seem to have the most information of anyone I know so far. You can email me
at: tzhernandez@yahoo.com

thanks,
T


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 29 May 5:48 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.