Live 25 Sep 1996 version
Tom Joad got out of the old McAlester Pen, there he got his parole
After four long years on a man killing charge Tom Joad came walking down the road, poor boy
Tom Joad came walking down the road
Well Tom Joad he met a truck driving man and there he caught him a ride
He said, "I just got loose from the McAlester Pen on a charge called homicide
On a charge called homicide"
Well that truck rolled away in a cloud of dust, Tommy turned his face toward home
He met Preacher Casey and they had a little drink but they found that his family they were gone
They found that his family they were gone
Well he found his mother's old fashion shoe, he found his daddy's hat
And he found little Muley and Muley said, "They've been tractored out by the cats, Tommy boy
They've been tractored out by the cats"
Tom Joad walked down to the neighbor's farm and he found his family
They took Preacher Casey and loaded in a car and his mother said, "We've got to get away, Tommy boy"
His mother said, "We've got to get away"
Now the twelve of the Joads well they made a heavy load but Grandpa Joad did cry
He picked up a handful of land in his hand, said, "I'm staying with the farm till I die
I'm staying here, Tommy, till I die"
Well they fed him short ribs and soothing syrup, and Grandpa Joad he did die
They buried Grandpa Joad by the side of the road, and Grandma on the California side
Grandma on the California side
Well they stood on a mountain and they looked west and it looked like the promised land
That bright green valley with a river running through, there was work for every single hand they thought
There'd be work for every single hand
Well the Joads rolled away to the jungle camp, there well they cooked a stew
And the hungry little kids of the jungle camp said, "We'd like to have some too"
"Yeah we'd like to have some too"
Now a deputy sheriff fired loose at a man and he shot a woman in the back
Before he could take his aim again, Preacher Casey dropped him in his tracks
Preacher Casey dropped him in his tracks
Well they handcuffed Casey and they took him to jail, and then he got away
And he met Tom Joad on the old river bridge and these few words he did say, poor boy
These few words he did say
"I preached for the Lord a mighty long time, I preached about the rich and the poor
Well working folks we got to all get together 'cause we ain't got a chance anymore, Tommy boy
We ain't got a chance anymore"
Well now the deputies come, Tom and Casey they did run to the bridge where the river run down
But the vigilante thugs hit Casey with a club, they laid Preacher Casey on the ground
They laid Preacher Casey on the ground
Tom Joad he grabbed that deputy's club and he hit him over the head
Tom Joad took flight in the dark rainy night and a deputy and a preacher lay dead
Two men, a deputy and preacher, they lay dead
Well Tom run back where his mother was asleep, he woke her up out of her bed
He kissed goodbye to the mother that he loved and he said what Preacher Casey said
He said what Preacher Casey said
"Well everybody might be just one big soul, well it looks that way to me
Everywhere that you look, in the day or night, that's where I'm gonna be, Ma
That's where I'm gonna be"
"Wherever little children are hungry and cry, wherever these people ain't free
Wherever men are fighting for their rights, that's where I'm gonna be, Ma
That's where I'm gonna be"
TOM JOAD is a 1940 song by Woody Guthrie. See the original Woody Guthrie version for more details.
The above lyrics are for the live 25 Sep 1996 performance of TOM JOAD at E. J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall in Akron, OH, during The Ghost Of Tom Joad Solo Acoustic Tour. The song was the show opener. It was played solo on acoustic guitar and harmonica.
TOM JOAD was performed 13 times during The Ghost Of Tom Joad Solo Acoustic Tour (128 dates, November 1995 to May 1997). The song was the show opener each time, played in a solo acoustic guitar and harmonica arrangement.
TOM JOAD was performed off-tour on 29 Sep 1996 at Severance Hall in Cleveland, OH, during a Woody Guthrie tribute concert. The song was played in a solo acoustic guitar and harmonica arrangement. See the live 29 Sep 1996 version for more details.
List of available versions of TOM JOAD on this website:TOM JOAD [Live 25 Sep 1996 version]