PLOW UNDER (LEE HAYS/PETE SEEGER) (1941)

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'Songs for John Doe' closed with the sardonic 'Plow Under.' It compares a controversial policy of Roosevelt's first New Deal agency, the Agricultural Adjustment Association, to the inevitable casualties of an unwanted war.
Ronald D. Cohen & Dave Samuelson, liner notes for "Songs for Political Action," Bear Family Records BCD 15720 JL, 1996, pp. 77-78.

Lyrics as reprinted ibid., p. 85.
ORIGINAL ISSUE: "SONGS FOR JOHN DOE" (ALMANAC RECORDS ALBUM 102), early May 1941
[PETE SEEGER, lead vocal]

Remember when the AAA
Killed a million hogs a day
Instead of hogs it's men today
Plow the fourth one under.

CHORUS:
Plow under, plow under
Plow under
Every fourth American boy.

They said our agricultural
System was about to fall
From Washington they sent a call
Plow the fourth one under.

CHORUS

The price of cotton wouldn't rise
They said, "We've got to fertilize"
So now on us they turn their eyes
Plow the fourth one under.

CHORUS

They said our system wouldn't work
Until we killed the surplus off
So now they look at us and say
Plow the fourth one under.

CHORUS

Any ignorant mule does know
Better than to step on a cotton row
But there ain't no mules in Congress, so
Plow the fourth one under.

CHORUS

Now the politicians rant
A boy's no better than a cotton plant
But we are here to say you can't
Plow the fourth one under.

FINAL CHORUS:
Plow under,
(Don't you...) Plow under
(Don't you...) Plow under
Every fourth American boy.
(Now, don't you...) Plow under,
(Don't you...) Plow under
(Don't you...) Plow under
Every fourth American boy.

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