HomeThe SongsPastures of Plenty

Pastures of Plenty


Recording | Tabs

Background: Woody saw the green promise of the Northwest through the thirsty eyes of a dust bowl refugee.  The melody for this song is based on the old murder ballad, “Pretty Polly.”  Woody plays one chord throughout most of the song.  In the movie, he favors a minor chord.  On this recording, he plays a major chord.  The melody is the same in both cases.  BPA’s manuscript, and the verses Woody sang in the movie differs from the version presented here.


It's a mighty hard row that my poor hands have hoed
My poor feet have traveled a hot dusty road
Out of your Dust Bowl and Westward we rolled
And your deserts were hot and your mountains were cold

I worked in your orchards of peaches and prunes
I slept on the ground in the light of the moon
On the edge of the city you'll see us and then
We come with the dust and we go with the wind

California, Arizona, I harvest your crops
Well its North up to Oregon to gather your hops
Dig the beets from your ground, cut the grapes from your vine
To set on your table your light sparkling wine

Green pastures of plenty from dry desert ground
From the Grand Coulee Dam where the waters run down
Every state in the Union us migrants have been
We'll work in this fight and we'll fight till we win

It's always we rambled, that river and I
All along your green valley, I will work till I die
My land I'll defend with my life if it be
Cause my pastures of plenty must always be free