I JUST WANT TO SING YOUR NAME

(WOODY GUTHRIE) (1945-'46)

Sacco and Vanzetti entering court, July 1921.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND | SONG LYRICS


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Charged with the crime of murder on May 5, Sacco and Vanzetti were indicted on September 14, 1920, and put on trial May 21, 1921, at Dedham, Norfolk County.

The setting of the trial, in the courthouse opposite the old home of Fisher Ames, furnished a striking contrast to the background and antecedents of the prisoners. Dedham is a quiet residential suburb, inhabited by well-to-do Bostonians, with a surviving element of New England small farmers. Part of the jury was specially selected by the sheriff's deputies from Masonic gatherings and from persons whom the deputies deemed "representative citizens," "substantial" and "intelligent." The presiding judge was Webster Thayer of Worcester. The chief counsel for these Italians was a Westerner, a radical and a professional defender of radicals. In opinion, as well as in fact, he was an outsider. Unfamiliar with the traditions of the Massachusetts bench, not even a member of the Massachusetts bar, the characteristics of Judge Thayer unknown to him, Fred H. Moore found neither professional nor personal sympathies between himself and the Judge. So far as the relations between court and counsel seriously, even if unconsciously, affect the current of a trial, Moore was a factor of irritation.

Sacco and Vanzetti spoke very broken English and their testimony shows how often they misunderstood the questions put to them. In fact, an interpreter had to be used, whose conduct raised such doubts that the defendants brought their own interpreter to check his questions and answers. The trial lasted nearly seven weeks, and on July 14, 1921, Sacco and Vanzetti were found guilty of murder in the first degree.

Felix Frankfurter, The Case of Sacco and Vanzetti, Atlantic Monthly, March 1927.


Lyrics as reprinted in liner notes for "Ballades de Sacco & Vanzetti" (French edition of "Ballads of Sacco & Vanzetti", Folkways/Le Chant du Monde, LDX 74467, 1960s); minor corrections by Manfred Helfert.


Oh, Sacco, Sacco,
Oh, Nicola Sacco,
Oh, Sacco, Sacco,
I just want to sing your name.

Sacco, Sacco, Sacco,
Sacco, oh, Sacco, Nicola,
Sacco, Sacco,
I just want to sing your name.

Oh, Rosie, Rosie,
Oh, Miss Rosie Sacco,
Oh, Rosie, Rosie,
I just want to sing your name.

I never did see you, see you,
I never did get to meet you.
I just heard your story, story,
And I just want to sing your name.

Hey, hey, Bart Vanzetti,
Hey, hey, Bart Vanzetti,
You made speeches for the workers, workers,
Well, I just want to sing your name.

Oh, Sacco, Vanzetti,
Oh, Sacco, Vanzetti,
Sacco, Sacco, Vanzetti,
I just want to sing your name.

Hey, Judge Webster Thayer,
Ho, ho, Judge Webster Thayer,
Hey, hey, old Judge Webster Thayer,
I don't want to sing your name.

Bart Vanzetti and Nicola Sacco,
Bart Vanzetti and Nicola Sacco,
Come here lookin' for the land of freedom,
I just want to sing your name.

Vanzetti sold fish around Plymouth Harbor,
Sacco was a shoe factory's best shoe-cutter,
All my sons and all of my daughters,
They're gonna help me sing your name.

Oh, Sacco, Sacco,
Hey, hey, Bart Vanzetti,
Your wife and kids and all your family,
I just want to sing your name.

Oh, Sacco, Vanzetti,
Hey, Sacco, Vanzetti,
Nicola Sacco, Bart Vanzetti,
I just want to sing your name.

Oh, ho, ho, ho,
Ho, ho, ho, ho,
Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho,
Ho, ho, ho, ho,
Yes, yes, yes, yes,
Yes, yes, yes, yes,
Yes, yes, yes, yes,
Well, I just want to sing your name.


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