This song was written in 1949 by Les Rice, a farmer from New York State, USA. It deals with the perverse injustice, exploitation and inequality Rice saw all around him. Pete Seeger wrote about Les Rice and this song: “Like most small farmers, he was getting intolerably squeezed by the big companies which sold him all his fertilizer, insecticide and equipment, and the big companies that dictated to him the prices he would get for his produce. Out of that squeeze came this song.”
It seems to me that the song has particular resonance and currency in Australia at the moment, following the largely ineffectual Royal Commission into Banking. This arrangement is based on an earlier Michael Roper arrangement.
To print the music above, look for a setting that says “Fit” or “Fit to Printer Margins”, for a nice big printout, or if that doesn’t work, print the music below.
This last recording with the pitch shift puts the recording into the same key as the arrangement presented here.
Finally here is the sheet music in .jpg format: