JESUS CHRIST (trad./WOODY GUTHRIE) (1940)

© Stormking Music, Inc., 1966


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I wrote this song looking out of a rooming house window in New York City in the winter of Nineteen and Forty. I thought I had to put down on paper how I felt about the rich folks and the poor ones.
Woody Guthrie; quoted in Millard Lampell, liner notes for "Bound For Glory: The Songs and Story of Woody Guthrie," FOLKWAYS FA 2481, 1956, p. 8.


Lyrics as reprinted ibid. and in Pete Seeger (ed.), Woody Guthrie Folk Songs, New York, NY, 1973, p. 12.
© Ludlow Music Inc., New York, NY, 1961


VERSION #1
Jesus Christ was a man that traveled through this land;
A carpenter, true and brave;
Said to the rich, "Give your goods to the poor",
So they laid Jesus Christ in His grave.

Jesus was a man, a carpenter by hand;
Carpenter true and brave;
And a dirty little coward called Judas Iscariot
Laid Jesus Christ in His grave.

The people of the land took Jesus by the hand,
They followed Him far and wide;
"I come not to bring you peace, but a sword",
So they killed Jesus Christ on the sly.

He went to the sick, he went to the poor;
And he went to the hungry and the lame;
Said that the poor would one day win this world,
And so they laid Jesus Christ in His grave.

They nailed Him there to die on a cross in the sky,
In the lightning, the thunder and the rain.
Judas Iscariot committed suicide
When they laid poor Jesus Christ in his grave.

One day Jesus stopped at a rich man's door.
"What must I do to be saved?"
"You must take all your goods and give it to the poor",
And so they laid Jesus Christ in His grave.

They nailed Him there to die on a cross in the sky,
In the lightning, the thunder and the rain.
Judas Iscariot committed suicide
When they laid poor Jesus Christ in his grave.

When the love of the poor shall one day turn to hate,
When the patience of the workers gives away;
"Would be better for you rich if you never had been born",
So they laid Jesus Christ in His grave.

This song was written in New York City,
Of rich man, preachers, and slaves;
Yes, if Jesus was to preach like He preached in Galillee [sic],
They would lay Jesus Christ in His grave.


VERSION #2
Jesus Christ was a man who traveled through the land,
A hard working man and brave.
He said to the rich "Give your goods to the poor."
But they laid Jesus Christ in His grave.

Jesus was a man, a carpenter by hand,
His followers true and brave,
One dirty little coward called Judas Iscariot
Has laid Jesus Christ in His grave.

He went to the preacher, He went to the sheriff,
He told them all the same,
"Sell all of your jewelry and give it to the poor,"
But they laid Jesus Christ in his grave.

When Jesus come to town, all the working folks around
Believed what He did say,
The bankers and the preachers they nailed Him on a cross.
Then they laid Jesus Christ in His grave.

The poor workin' people, they followed Him around,
They sung and they shouted gay,
The cops and the soldiers, they nailed Him in the air,
And they laid Jesus Christ in His grave.

Well, the people held their breath when they heard about His death,
And everybody wondered why,
It was the landlord and the soldiers that he hired,
To nail Jesus Christ in the sky.

This song was written in New York City,
Of rich man, preacher and slave,
But if Jesus was to preach like He preached in Galilee,
They would lay Jesus Christ in His grave.


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