Grand Coulee Dam

Woody Guthrie, Will Geer  Buy

About Grand Coulee Dam

"Grand Coulee Dam" is an American folk song recorded in 1941 by Woody Guthrie. He wrote it during a brief period when he was commissioned by the Bonneville Power Administration to write songs as part of a documentary film project about the dam and related projects. The song was part of the Columbia River Ballads, a set of 26 songs written by Guthrie as part of a commission by the BPA, the federal agency created to sell and distribute power from the river's federal hydroelectric facilities, in particular the Bonneville Dam and Grand Coulee Dam. On the recommendation of Alan Lomax, the BPA hired Guthrie to write a set of propaganda songs about the federal projects to gain support for federal regulation of hydroelectricity. Although the intended documentary film was not completed until 1949, Guthrie's songs were recorded in Portland, Oregon in May 1941. The tune for "Grand Coulee Dam" is based on that of the traditional song, "The Wabash Cannonball". Guthrie's recording was reissued on the Folkways album Bound For Glory in 1956, and subsequently on numerous compilations of Guthrie's songs. 


Year:
2004
64 Views

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Well, the world has seven wonders, the travelers always tell
Some gardens and some towers, I guess you know them well
But the greatest wonder is in Uncle Sam's fair land
It's that King Columbia River and the big Grand Coulee Dam

She heads up the Canadian Rockies where the rippling waters glide
Comes a-rumbling down the canyon to meet that salty tide
Of the wide Pacific Ocean where the sun sets in the west
And the big Grand Coulee country in the land I love the best

In the misty crystal glitter of that wild and windward spray
Men have fought the pounding waters and met a watery grave
Well, she tore their boats to splinters but she gave men dreams to dream
Of the day the Coulee Dam would cross that wild and wasted stream

Uncle Sam took up the challenge in the year of Thirty three
For the farmer and the factory and all of you and me
He said, "Roll along Columbia. You can ramble to the sea
But river while you're ramblin' you can do some work for me"

Now in Washington and Oregon you hear the factories hum
Making chrome and making manganese and light aluminum
And there roars a mighty furnace now to fight for Uncle Sam
Spawned upon the King Columbia by the big Grand Coulee Dam

In the misty crystal glitter of that wild and windward spray
Men have fought the pounding waters and met a watery grave
Well, she tore their boats to splinters but she gave men dreams to dream
Of the day the Coulee Dam would cross that wild and wasted stream

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Woody Guthrie

Woodrow Wilson "Woody" Guthrie (July 14, 1912 – October 3, 1967) was an American singer-songwriter and folk musician whose musical legacy includes hundreds of political, traditional and children's songs, ballads and improvised works. He frequently performed with the slogan This Machine Kills Fascists displayed on his guitar. His best-known song is "This Land Is Your Land." Many of his recorded songs are archived in the Library of Congress. Such songwriters as Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Pete Seeger, Joe Strummer, Billy Bragg, Jeff Tweedy and Tom Paxton have acknowledged Guthrie as a major influence. more »

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Written by: WOODY GUTHRIE

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Grand Coulee Dam

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