ON THE ROAD TO TOKIO
(THE BALLAD OF CARLSON'S RAIDERS)
(trad./ALMANAC SINGERS) (1942)

TUNE ADAPTED FROM "THE BUFFALO SKINNERS"


THE ALMANAC SINGERS, 1942: BESS HAWES, PETE SEEGER, MILLARD LAMPELL, WOODY GUTHRIE, ARTHUR STERN, SIS CUNNINGHAM (left to right)


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Lyrics as printed in ANTI-FASCIST SONGS of the ALMANAC SINGERS (mimeographed songbook, c. 1942)


Come listen, friends, and I will tell a tale you'll like to hear
Of Colonel Evan Carlson, a man who knows no fear.
He's famous for his Raiders, the facts you all should know;
How he led a band of brave marines --- On the Road to Tokio.

When Carlson was a young man, he roamed the world around
And while in far-off China, a secret there he found
From the Chinese Eighth Route Army, he learned the word "Gung-ho"
And now this word is spoken on the Road to Tokio.

He helped the Eighth Route Soldiers and ministered to their needs
And wondred in amazement at the bravery of their deeds
Their courage it was unequaled, their watchword was "Gung-ho"
As they fought the mad invaders, the hordes from Tokio.

The Secret of this Army's strength our hero soon did learn
He brought his knowledge home and caused the Brass Hats great concern
He praised the Eighth Route Army and he let the whole world know
They were China's bravest fighters in the War with Tokio

Soon the Brass Hats come to see the folly of their ways
They needed Colonel Carlson in those mad Pearl Harbor days
For the foe of the Eighth Route Army had become our country's foe
And they called on him to lead the way, on the Road to Tokio

A thousand men did Carlson choose and he picked them one by one
With the raid on Mokin (?) Island, their job it had begun
They killed 400 Japanese -- they struck a fearful blow
And the Raiders lost but thirty men, on the Road to Tokio

'Twas just before the break of dawn that they put their boats to sea
And rowed ashore in a roaring tide to meet the enemy
The landing was successful, indeed they saw no foe
Then all at once, hell broke loose on the Road to Tokio

Among the Raiders there was one from a famous family
It was young Colonel Roosevelt and greatly loved was he
Where fighting was the heaviest, that's where he chose to go
Though well he knew the dangers on the Road to Tokio

Now of the usual social rank, there wasn't any trace
You couldn't tell an officer unless you knew his face
They ate the same and they wore the same, for Carlson had it so
The officers fought beside their men, on the Road to Tokio

It's this they say of Carlson -- how he calmly strolled around
Smoked his pipe and snapped his galluses with bullets raining down
And shouted "Ahoy, you Raiders!" -- they answered back "Gung-ho!"
It became the Raiders watchword on the Road to Tokio

'Twas the seventeenth day of August in 1942
For forty hours the Raiders fought and saw the battle through
They left no Japanese alive -- they captured nary foe
They left those bastards bones to bleach, on the Road to Tokio

It's "Raiders, ahoy" -- "Hi, Raider", they go where the going's rough
Guadalcanal and Tarawa (?) -- wherever the fighting's tough
For each knows what he's fighting for, that's what he had to know
Or he wouldn't be with Carlson on the Road to Tokio

And now my song is ended for I've told you all I know
There isn't any secret to this thing they call "Gung-ho"
How to work and fight together -- that's what we've got to know
If we want to go with Carlson on the Road to Tokio


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