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Lyr Req: Ballad of Joe Hill

13 Jul 98 - 11:37 PM (#32504)
Subject: LYRIC REQUEST: Ballad of Joe Hill

Help! I can't find the lyrics to this song anywhere online. If you know the name of a CD or artist who sings this song, that would be helpful too!

Thank you,


13 Jul 98 - 11:43 PM (#32508)
From: Barry Finn

In the upper right hand corner, you'll find a search box, enter into it joe hill & more Joe Hill will come to life than you could dream of. Barry

13 Jul 98 - 11:44 PM (#32509)
From: rosebrook

Is this the song you're looking for? If so, it's in the DigiTrad database here. Joan Baez recorded a strong version of this song.



I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night,
Alive as you or me
Says I, "But Joe, you're ten years dead,"
"I never died," says he
"I never died," says he

Click for lyrics in the Digital Tradition

15 Jul 98 - 01:54 PM (#32598)
Subject: RE: "Ballad of Joe HIl"
From: Arne

IIRC, Billy Bragg did a tune the title of which was "The Ballad of Joe Hill". I think this was on a CD compilation of various artists. I'm not sure of the CD title (being 5000 km from my main CD collection) but it was either something about workers songs or "A Tribute to Joe Jill". . . .

That's off the top of my head. Maybe someone else recognizes this CD and can go look it up.

Otherwise, semd me an e-mail address, and I'll give you the information in a month or so when I go home. . .

-- Arne

15 Jul 98 - 05:24 PM (#32611)
From: Doctor John

Phil Ochs also recorded his own "Joe Hill"; it's pretty long and I haven't transcribed the words. It's written to Woody Guthrie's "Tom Joad". It's on his album "Tape From California."

19 Jul 98 - 10:20 PM (#32946)
Subject: RE: LYRIC REQUEST: The Falcon by Richard Farina
From: The Raven

The Falcon by Mimi & Richard Farina. I believe it was recorded on Celebrations for a Grey Day album. Have tried various places to get lyrics but unsuccessful. Email or post. many thanks!!!

19 Jul 98 - 10:30 PM (#32950)
From: Big Mick

If you get in touch with a labor organization known as the IWW (also known as the Wobblies), they have a strong musical tradition and publish an annual compilation of mostly left wing labor music. Joe Hill was killed by the authorities because of his song writing and organizing activities (It's my story, let me tell it!! ). Songs written by him and about him are in this book, including the one you are looking for.


19 Jul 98 - 10:30 PM (#32951)
From: The Raven

Sorry, didn't mean to hone in on your request. I guess I lost my sense of direction.

21 Jul 98 - 01:57 AM (#33044)
From: Pete M

One of the earliest recordings available world wide and to my mind still the best was by Paul Robeson, its on his "Live at carnegie hall" recording which is available on CD, amongst others

Pete M

18 Jul 08 - 02:11 PM (#2392293)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ballad of Joe Hill
From: Rog Peek

I have recordings of four songs about Joe Hill:
Joe Hill's Ashes by Mark Levy
Calling Joe Hill by Ray Hearne
Joe Hill sung by Earl Robinson
Joe Hill by Phil Ochs

One of the recordings I have of Phil Ochs singing his song has a very 'Ochs' intro:

"Here's the story of Joe Hill who was a song writer. Came over from Sweden to America at the turn of the century, and uh..... joined the Industrial Workers of the World, The Wobblies, noted left wing union of the times, and uh...... became a sort of a minor left wing hero, and then one day, he was accused of murder and he became a major left wing hero. He was accused of murder in Utah, and you know where Utah's at. So uh, he had to pay, with his life, back then, and uh here's a song about that, sort of like a folk ballad to the tune of John Hardy. The song by the way has been made into a movie, starring Richard Burton as Joe Hill, and Elizabeth Taylor plays the Industrial Workers of the World.


I also have a lovely recording of Utah Phillips, bless his soul, giving a little of the history of Joe Hill's fate which concludes with 'Joe Hill's Last Will'.

18 Jul 08 - 08:29 PM (#2392624)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ballad of Joe Hill
From: GUEST,Bill the sound


I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night, alive as you and me
Says I, but Joe you're ten years dead
I never died, said he. I never died said he.

They framed you on a murder charge
Says Joe, but I ain't dead, says Joe, but I ain't dead

The copper bosses killed you Joe. They shot you Joe, says I
Takes more than guns to kill a man
Says Joe, I didn't die, says Joe, I didn't die.

And standing there as big as life, and smiling with his eyes
Joe says, what they forgot to kill
Went on to organise, went on to organise

Joe Hill ain't dead, he says to me, Joe Hill ain't never died
Where working men are out on strike
Joe Hill is at their side, Joe Hill is at their side

From San Diego up to Maine, in every mine and mill
Where workers strike and organise
Says he, You'll find Joe Hill, says he You'll find Joe Hill

I hope this is what you want
All the best

19 Jul 08 - 01:22 AM (#2392702)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ballad of Joe Hill
From: Jim Lad

Didn't Luke Kelly do a fine job of this one BEFORE he died?
Pretty sure I've got it on at least one Dubliners album.

19 Jul 08 - 06:14 AM (#2392763)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ballad of Joe Hill
From: Raggytash

My will is easy to decide
for there is nothing to divide
my kin don't need to fuss or moan
moss does not cling to a rolling stone
my body ah if I could choose
I would to ashes it reduce
and let the gentle breezes blow
my dust to where some flowers grow
maybe some fading flower then
would come to life and bloom again
this is my last my final will
good luck to all of you .... Joe Hill

This he wrote on the wall of his cell the night before he was murdered (executed) as the guards refused to give him paper.
I put this to music and sing it before I go into the song proper

I dreamed ........etc etc



19 Jul 08 - 09:35 PM (#2393203)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ballad of Joe Hill
From: GUEST,Bill the sound

I have a recording by Dave Burns(one of the hennessys

I have recording by Dave Burns on his CD-Last Pit in the Rhondda.

It was first recorded by Paul Robson but I don't have acopy of that


20 Jul 08 - 07:26 AM (#2393368)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ballad of Joe Hill
From: ard mhacha

Jim Lad, Yes Luke Kelly and Paddy Reilly two excellent recordings.

20 Jul 08 - 05:51 PM (#2393676)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ballad of Joe Hill
From: Rowan

Mark Gregory runs a site "Union Songs" that includes poems, articles, anthologies and discographies as well as the songs themselves.

Cheers, Rowan