TA-RA-RA BOOM DE-AY (JOE HILL) (c. 1914)
Tune: "Ta-Ra-Ra Boom De-Ay" (attributed to HENRY J. SAYERS) (1891)

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Hill also created a song reminding the workers that a little "sabotage" was sometimes necessary to help an employer realize the logic of his demands. "Conscientious withdrawal of efficiency" was not a mandate for violence, but rather for a sprinkling of sand in the workings of a machine, mysteriously broken bands around bundles of shingles, or, perhaps, as Hill illustrated in "Ta-ra-ra Boom De--Ay," a slight slip at the right time.
Gibbs M. Smith, Labor Martyr Joe Hill, New York, NY, 1969, p. 35.

First published in the March 1916 Joe Hill Memorial Edition of the Industrial Worker "Little Red Songbook."

I had a job once threshing wheat, worked sixteen hours with hands and feet.
And when the moon was shining bright, they kept me working all the night.
One moonlight night, I hate to tell, I "accidentally'' slipped and fell.
My pitchfork went right in between some cog wheels of that thresh-machine.
Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay!
It made a noise that way.
And wheels and bolts and hay,
Went flying every way.
That stingy rube said, "Well!
A thousand gone to hell.''
But I did sleep that night,
I needed it all right.
Next day that stingy rube did say, "I'll bring my eggs to town today;
You grease my wagon up, you mutt, and don't forget to screw the nut.''
I greased his wagon all right, but I plumb forgot to screw the nut,
And when he started on that trip, the wheel slipped off and broke his hip.
Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay!
It made a noise that way,
That rube was sure a sight,
And mad enough to fight;
His whiskers and his legs
Were full of scrambled eggs;
I told him, "That's too bad --
I'm feeling very sad.''
And then that farmer said, "You turk! I bet you are an I-Won't Work.''
He paid me off right there, By Gum! So I went home and told my chum.
Next day when threshing did commence, my chum was Johnny on the fence;
And 'pon my word, that awkward kid, he dropped his pitchfork, like I did.
Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay!
It made a noise that way,
And part of that machine
Hit Reuben on the bean.
He cried, "Oh me, oh my;
I nearly lost my eye.''
My partner said, "You're right --
It's bedtime now, good night.''
But still that rube was pretty wise, these things did open up his eyes.
He said, "There must be something wrong; I think I work my men too long.''
He cut the hours and raised the pay, gave ham and eggs for every day,
Now gets his men from union hall, and has no "accidents" at all.
Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay!
That rube is feeling gay;
He learned his lesson quick,
Just through a simple trick.
For fixing rotten jobs
And fixing greedy slobs,
This is the only way,
Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay!

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