GET THEE BEHIND ME, SATAN (MILLARD LAMPELL/LEE HAYS/PETE SEEGER) (1941)


THE ALMANAC SINGERS, 1941: WOODY GUTHRIE, LEE HAYS, MILLARD LAMPELL, PETE SEEGER
(left to right)


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The company union, the company stooge, and the company spy have always been targets for the most vigorous attacks by loyal trade-unionists. This rousing blast at those who would sell out the union is another product of the Almanac Singers who first sang it for striking Ford workers in Detroit in 1941.
Lee Hays wrote most of it, with a little help from Pete Seeger and Millard Lampell.
Edith Fowke and Joe Glazer, Songs of Work and Protest, New York, NY, 1973, p. 29.


Lyrics as reprinted (with minor corrections by Manfred Helfert) in Ronald D. Cohen & Dave Samuelson, liner notes for "Songs for Political Action," Bear Family Records BCD 15720 JL, 1996, p. 85.
ORIGINAL ISSUE: "TALKING UNION" Keynote K 302 B (Keynote album 106), July 1941
[LEE HAYS, lead vocal]


Boss comes up to me with a five-dollar bill,
Says, "Get you some whiskey, boy, and drink your fill."
CHORUS:
Get thee behind me, Satan,
Travel on down the line.
I am a union man,
Gonna leave you behind.
A red-headed woman took me out to dine,
Says, "Love me, baby, leave your union behind."

On the Fourth of July, the politicians say,
"Vote for us and we'll raise your pay."

Oh, then the company union sent out a call,
They said, "Join us in the summer, we'll forget you in the fall."

If anyone should ask you your union to sell,
Just tell him where to go, send him back to hell!


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