“I Wished Woody Guthrie Were Here”

by Gary Kanter ©2007

This world’s a strange and changing place

With cellphones, Ipods, and now My Space

It was just another day in the human race

That I wished Woody Guthrie were here

It was just another inning

Of the same old game

Atrocities were committed in our name

The more things changed

The more they seemed to stay the same

And I wished Woody Guthrie were here


I wished Woody Guthrie were here today

In the fight, in the fray

I wanted to hear what he’d have to say

If Woody Guthrie were here.

Woody traveled from here to there

Woody traveled damn near everywhere

His message was, you gotta fight to make it fair

And I wished Woody Guthrie were here (Ch)

I went to hear Arlo and his kids

They were sharing songs, just like Woody did

Half-way through I damn near flipped my lid

Because, Woody Guthrie was there!

(Alt. Chorus)

Woody Guthrie was there that day

Burning bright, in his own way

“You’re all my kids!” I heard Woody Guthrie say

Woody Guthrie was there.

(Alt. Chorus 2)

And, Woody Guthrie is here today

In the fight, in the fray

He’s alive in the words we’re all here to say

Woody Guthrie is here.


“Grow on, Monsanto!”

By Gary Kanter ©2014

Our food chain was government-protected

We kept bad stuff from the grocery store

That was before we found the profit

In the corporate revolving door

One day you’re working for Monsanto

Engineering genes every which way

Then comes the call from the White House

Next thing you know…you head the FDA


So grow, grow on, Monsanto

Grow those crops modified

For who could resist a salad

Dressed in its own herbicide

You tell us there’s no reason to worry

No reason for the protests and the fuss

But oh, Monsanto, it’s getting hard to swallow

What you’re feeding us!

They kicked you out of Europe and Asia

And banned you from other countries too

‘Cause they don’t like the dish that you’re serving

Unlike the red, white, and blue

So I guess it is just patriotic

To fill our plates anew

And show the world we are not afraid

To eat our Round Up-Ready stew (Ch)

For lunch I had a modified potato

With one eye staring up from the plate

Then as I watched it started changing

Soon there were four…then six…then eight

My tomato began reciting Shakespeare

Just like Olivier had done so long before

And my soybeans began excreting dark and inky liquid

Jumped off the plate and rolled right out the door (Ch)


The War Comes Home”

Gary Kanter © 2014

We sailed off to Europe

To fight in the Great War

It was our first allied incursion

Upon a foreign shore

We bravely fought to make the world

Safe for democracy

We laughed and cried and held parades

And cheered our victory


Then the war came home

Yes the war came home

The war came home in caskets

On crutches and on canes

The war came home both deaf and blind

The war came home insane

But the war came home

And war comes home
We sailed back to Europe

And on to Asia to

We went to fight the good fight

We called it World War II

We liberated nations

We set their people free

We laughed and cried and held parades

And cheered our victory (Ch)

We sailed onto Korea

And onto Vietnam

The rest of Indochina

To Iraq Afghanistan

That war’s become eternal

Has become reality

We just cry…without parades

And ask…what is victory?


Then the war came home

Yes, the war came home

The war came home in caskets

On crutches and on canes

The war came home both deaf and blind

The war came home insane

But the war came home

And war comes home

Yes war comes home.


“Ballad Of The Koch Brothers”

By Gary Kanter © 2014

Their father made a fortune during World War II

Trading with the Allies…and the Nazis too

And when the war was over…to keep our country free

He organized a little club…called the John Birch Society

He left his sons his fortune…they got when he was dead

He never left a generous…or a kind word for their head

They grew up to be like him…so it never could be said

They strayed a single inch,from the path…down which he led


They are Dave and Charlie

Charlie and Dave

They don’t care to share

They’d sooner see you in your grave

Dave and Charlie…Charlie and Dave

Can never have enough

Or too much stuff!

They truly love America

They think that it’s divine

That’s why they want to buy it up

One state at a time

They own must of the Congress

And the highest court

Soon they’ll own the best democracy

That money has ever bought (Ch)
They’ll always have a doctor

They’ll always have a nurse

All they’ll leave for you

Is just the graveyard and the hearse

They say our healthcare system

Is the best one you can pick

Accessible to anyone

As long as you don’t get sick (Ch)

They’re buying universities

So their folks can teach

Regulation is a curse

That’s what they always preach

Pollution’s good for business

So you really shouldn’t fear

Unless you drink the water

Unless you breathe the air (Ch)

If you’re thinking of retiring

Better think it one more time

Then start hoarding every penny

Nickel, every dime

They’re coming for your pension

Your social security

And when you think your IRA is safe

They will tank the economy (Ch)


“He Use To Look A Lot Like Me”

By Gary Kanter © 2013

There was a child I used to play with

So long ago when we were very young

The future wasn’t ready to claim us

Our songs weren’t ready to be sung


I hope you get a chance to meet him

If he’s still out there being free

You will know him when you see him

He used to look a lot like me

We rambled ‘round through our changes

As if we had invented being free

We saw the world on the highway

The universe we saw on LSD (Ch)

We marched for peace we marched for freedom

We marched for justice, we marched for civil rights

We made love where we could find it

We made music through the night (Ch)

We parted somewhere on the highway

He got into a car to anywhere

I always knew that he would make it

I hope he’s happy being there

But if his life has led him back to gthe highway

I know he isn’t out there all alone

‘Cause my life led to a conclusion

We’re all a piece of everyone we’ve known (Ch)

He used to look a lot like me

He used to look a lot like me

I hope he still looks a lot like me


“Here Comes The Oil Train”

By Gary Kanter ©2014


Here Comes the Oil Train

Rumbling round the bend

The oil train’s coming round the bend

Picking up steam as it nears the end

The oil train’s coming round the bend

They load it in the East

And they aim it at the West

And certify it safe to go

The say that we can trust them

Oil companies know best

Just like they did

In the Gulf of Mexico (Ch)

It’s rumbling by our pastures

It’s rumbling by our farms

It’s rumbling over river, lakes, and streams

It’s rumbling past our homes

And by our children’s schools

It’s rumbling through our hopes

It’s rumbling through our dreams (Ch)

It’s rumbling over mountains

It’s rumbling over plains

It’s rumbling over many-a-rugged parch

They say the seals are strong

The cargo is secure

But pray the wheels don’t spark

And no one lights a match (Ch)
It’s rumbling through our memories

It’s rumbling through our minds

As we recall that dark day in Quebec

Forty-seven killed…women, kids, and men

Who died a fiery death

In a fiery oil train wreck (Ch)


Solidarity Now!

By Gary Kanter © 2011

War has been declared on the working class

They say that it’s a concept whose time has passed

There’s still time to act…but we’ve got to act fast!

Solidarity Now!…we need…

Solidarity Now!…we need…

Solidarity Now!

Nobody handed us the 8-hour day

Nobody gifted us with decent pay

It cost blood and sweat and tears…all along the way!

Solidarity Now!…we need…

Solidarity Now!…we need…

Solidarity Now!
Lots of folks are hurting, some are doing fine

Living it up in the corporate shrine

Where the only God they worship…is the bottom line!

Solidarity Now!…we need…

Solidarity Now!…we need…

Solidarity Now!
The Ryans, the Boehners, the McConnells and the Kochs

Are sticking it to the working folks

But when we stand together…we’ll see who chokes!

Solidarity Now!…we need…

Solidarity Now!…we need…

Solidarity Now!


“Right To Work Is Wrong!”

© 2013 Gary Kanter

We built a world, We built a life

We labored long for decent pay

Here they come, to tear it down

And to take it all away


We’ve worked too hard

We’ve come too far

We brought America along

It doesn’t matter, What they call it

Right to work is wrong!

Right to work for.minimum wage

No healthcare; no vacation pay

No protection. or safety standards

Lives on the line each day (Ch)

Lose your job, on a boss’s whim

Asking if you could take

After working Long hard hours

A 15 minute coffee break (Ch)

Look around

Look it up

Are we looking at our fate

The lowest pay

Throughout the land (Ch)

Is in each right to work state! (Ch)


“Northwest Union Call”

© MS Dumovich and Gary Kanter © 2013

Brothers and sisters, come gather ‘round me

It’s time we stand together like we need to be

And raise up our voices so people will see

Working folk all over need to live in dignity

Brothers and sisters, know what we’re fighting for

It wasn’t us, who started waging class war

Let’s stand in solidarity, and show ‘em what’s in store

As we sing these old time lyrics…from shore to distant shore


Oh, you can’t scare me, I’m sticking to the union,

I’m sticking to the union, I’m sticking to the union.

Oh, you can’t scare me, I’m sticking to the union,

I’m sticking to the union ’til the day I die.

Brothers and sisters, we all will be strong

When we are united…when we all come along

It is a battle in which we all belong

So come and join us in this great ol’song! (Ch)

So, brothers and sisters, come gather around

We’ll show the bosses and the banksters, we never will back down

Let’s sing in solidarity, our message resound

Our voices will ring through each nation and each town! (Ch)


“Not Just In Florida”

by Gary Kanter ©2013

There’s a bitter breeze blowing across Florida these days

And the southern sun is burning cold

The sky hangs heavy over Florida these days

There’s a dead 17-year-old


Call it stand your ground

No duty to retreat

Call it any damn thing that you will

When vigilante justice…becomes the law

It’s nothing but a license to kill

Not just in Florida

Not just in Florida

Not just in Florida…these days
There’s a red tide flowing across Florida these days

Spilling over all who live down there

Don’t matter which side of the gun you’re on…in Florida these days

You’re swimming in a sea of fear (Ch)

There are lots of frightened families in Florida these days

You can see it written in their eyes

Your kid might be too loud

Frighten someone in a crowd

These days that’s grounds enough to die (Ch)



Not just in Florida

Not just in Florida

Not just in Florida…these days


“Don’t Mourn, Organize!”

By Gary Kanter © 2013

When the boss comes by to reduce your pay

And all your benefits go away

And you feel like you just swallowed a bitter pill

There’s no time to moan or boo-hoo-hoo

Here’s what you should go and do

Listen to the words of ol’Joe Hill


Don’t mourn, organize!

Keep your eyes on the prize

There’s strength in numbers…and in size

So don’t mourn, organize!


When the governor says “we no longer can,

Fund your union’s pension plan”

And he sends the legislature his little bill

Stand up straight, stand up tall…can you say the word “recall?”

And then recall the words of ol’ Joe Hill (Ch)


When you hear the views spewed on FOX-News

No need to go sing the blues

Cause they don’t get it and they never will

Drown them out in union song…

Sing it proud…and loud…and strong

Take a little music lesson from ol’ Joe Hill (ch)


It seems like every generation

Has to find out on its own

That war comes home

Yes, war comes home


“It’s a Helluva Party!”

By Gary Kanter ©2012

I died in my sleep and went up to the pearly gates

St.Peter met me there and said “Sorry, son, you’re gonna have to wait.”

He conferred with Jerry Falwell and some other clergy-types I didn’t know

He said “Sorry, son, to tell you this…you’re going down below.”


The Devil met me there and handed me a drink

He said “You’re gonna like it here regardless what they upstairs neighbors think.

There’s lots of happy souls inside, waiting for you to arrive

To join our little bash…the likes of which… you never saw…when you were alive.”



It’s a helluva party and it’s still going on

Mama don’t you weep for me now that I’m dead and gone

It’s a helluva party…to celebrate my fall

And the best part of the party is we’re never gonna hear the words “last call.”


Jerry Garcia played guitar, Paganini bowed the violin

Molly Ivins read my eulogy and George Carlin waved me in

Caruso sang from Figaro and Lady sang the blues

Ella sang some scat…and Phil Ochs sang the news


The great WC Fields was right at home behind the bar

Orson Welles filmed it all right at home behind a big Cuban cigar

Ginger said to Fred “Now you know just how it feels,

Doing everything you had to do…backwards…and in high heels (Ch)


I walked out in the garden, I never ever-ever felt so glad

Waiting for me there was every single dog I ever had

They ran around for hours, each as frisky as a pup

And miracle of miracles…there was nothing to clean up


Jesus came post-Christmas he was exhausted from the praise

He joined Moses on the golf course, he’d been here since the high holy days

Jesus couldn’t sink a simple putt to save his soul

He ditched his clubs and walked across the water…right to the 19th hole


Mark Twain and Kurt Vonnegut were busy making each other laugh

Joe Hill and Mother Jones were busy organizing the staff

There’s a million tales to tell but right now I gotta go

It’s getting late…I’ve got a date…with Marilyn Monroe (Ch)


Posted August 29, 2014 by garykanter

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