Joe Jencks


I have been playing this song since I was about 10 years old.  I dreamed of growing up to be a folk singer and recording it.  Some dreams are attainable.  The song moved me deeply at a young age, but I did not fully appreciate it until I moved to Washington State in 1994 where the Columbia River Valley orchards and packing houses thrive on migrant labor.

The crops are all in and the peaches are rotting
The oranges are stacked in their creosote dumps
Their flying you back to the Mexico border
To pay all your money to wade back again

My fathers own father he waded that river
They took all the money that he made in his life
My brothers and sisters they worked in the fruit trees
They rode the big trucks till they took down and died

Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye Rosalita
Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria
You won't have a name when you ride the big aero-plane
For all they will call you will be deportees

Now some of us are illegal and others not wanted
The work season ends and we have to move on
Six hundred miles to the Mexico boarder
They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers and thieves

We've died in your hills and we've died in your deserts
We've died in your valleys, we've died in your plains
We've died in your trees and we've died in your bushes
Both sides of the river we've died just the same (chorus)

A sky plane caught fire over Los Gatos canyon
Like a fireball of lightning it shook all our hills
And who are these friends all scattered like dried leaves
The radio says they are just deportees

Is this the best way we can grow your good orchards
It this the best way we can grow your good fruit
To fall like dried leaves and rot on your topsoil
To be known by no name except deportees?
©1961 Woody Guthrie, Ludlow Music