The Preacher and the Slave

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"The Preacher and the Slave"
"Pie In The Sky"
Written by Joe Hill
Music by Joseph P. Webster
Lyrics by Joe Hill
Published 1911
Language English
Recorded by The Weavers, Utah Phillips, Pete Seeger, Cisco Houston, Mischief Brew, This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb
Recording of the lyrics & chords contained within this article

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"The Preacher and the Slave" is a song written by Joe Hill in 1911. It was written as a parody of the hymn "In the Sweet By-and-By". The Industrial Workers of the World (commonly known as the Wobblies) concentrated much of its labor trying to organize migrant workers in lumber and construction camps. When the workers returned to the cities, the Wobblies faced the Salvation Army (which they satirized as the "Starvation Army").[1] Hill had first encountered the Salvation Army in Sweden when he was a child.[2]

Several songs were written parodying the Salvation Army's hymns, "The Preacher and the Slave" being the most successful. In this song, Joe Hill coined the phrase "pie in the sky."[3] The song is often referred to as "Pie in the Sky", or as "Long Haired Preachers" (which was its original title).[4] It was first published in the 4th edition of the Little Red Songbook in 1911.[5]

Lyrics and chords[edit]

 Verse #1:
 G                          C         G
 Long-haired preachers come out every night 
 G                                       D                
 Try to tell you what's wrong and what's right
 G                        C            G
 But when asked how 'bout something to eat 
 G                   D         G
 They will answer in voices so sweet

 Chorus Type #1:
 G                     C 
 You will eat, bye and bye
 G                               D
 In that glorious land above the sky 
 G                      C
 Work and pray, live on hay 
 G                     D            G
 You'll get pie in the sky when you die

 Verse #2:
 G                  C          G
 And the Starvation Army, they play 
 G                                    D
 And they sing and they clap and they pray 
 G                      C           G
 Till they get all your coin on the drum 
 G                       D             G
 Then they tell you when you're on the bum

 Chorus Type #1

 Verse #3:
 G                C            G
 Holy Rollers and Jumpers come out 
 G                                   D 
 And they holler, they jump and they shout 
 G                  C           G
 Give your money to Jesus, they say 
 G                  D        G      
 He will cure all diseases today

 Chorus Type #1

 Verse #4:
 G                     C            G
 If you fight hard for children and wife
 G                                 D
 Try to get something good in this life 
 G                   C             G
 You're a sinner and bad man, they tell 
 G                     D          G
 When you die you will sure go to hell.

 Chorus Type #1

 Verse #5:
 G                 C           G
 Workingmen of all countries, unite 
 G                                D
 Side by side we for freedom will fight 
 G                      C              G
 When the world and its wealth we have gained 
 G                     D           G
 To the grafters we'll sing this refrain

 Chorus Type #2: 
 G                     C
 You will eat, bye and bye 
 G                                          D
 When you've learned how to cook and how to fry 
 G                             C
 Chop some wood, 'twill do you good 
 G                      D             G
 Then you'll eat in the sweet bye and bye 

The chorus is sung in a call and response pattern.

You will eat [You will eat] bye and bye [bye and bye]
In that glorious land above the sky [Way up high]
Work and pray [Work and pray] live on hay [live on hay]
You'll get pie in the sky when you die [That's a lie!]

Thus the final verse becomes

You will eat [You will eat] bye and bye [bye and bye]
When you've learned how to cook and how to fry [How to fry]
Chop some wood [Chop some wood], 'twill do you good [do you good]
Then you'll eat in the sweet bye and bye [That's no lie]

The fourth verse is not normally sung today, probably because of the reference to "children and wife" not being gender-neutral[according to whom?]. Other variations include changing the second line of the chorus to "In that glorious land up in the sky" and the last line of the third verse to "And you will eat on that glorious day." Workingmen is normally changed to working folks, as well. The above lyrics are from the 19th edition of the Little Red Songbook.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Adler 2011, p. 12.
  2. ^ Adler 2011, p. 181.
  3. ^ Adler 2011, p. 182.
  4. ^ Adler 2011, pp. 20, 130.
  5. ^ Adler 2011, p. 130.

References[edit]

  • Fowke, Edith (1973). Songs of Work and Protest. ISBN 0-486-22899-1. 
  • Adler, William (2011). The Man Who Never Died: The Life, Times, and Legacy of Joe Hill, American Labor Icon. Bloomsbury USA. 
  • Rise Up Singing p. 184.

External links[edit]