Preacher and the Slave, The
DESCRIPTION: The preacher comes and tells the hungry, downtrodden workers, "You will eat, by and bye, In that glorious land above the sky. Work and pray; live on hay. You'll get pie in the sky when you die." The song calls on workers to overthrow the system
AUTHOR: Words: Joe Hill/Music: "Sweet By and By"
EARLIEST DATE: 1911 (third edition of the Little Red Songbook, according to Stavis/Harmon; Foner, on p. 13 of The Case of Joe Hill, says it was composed "about" that year)
KEYWORDS: clergy political work food rebellion labor-movement IWW derivative
FOUND IN: US
REFERENCES (12 citations):
Sandburg, p. 221, "The Preacher and the Slave" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-FSNA 222, "Pie in the Sky" (1 text, 1 tune)
Botkin-AmFolklr, pp. 856-857, "Pie in the Sky" (1 text, 1 tune)
Arnett, p. 146-147, "Pie in the Sky" (1 text, 1 tune)
Greenway-AFP, p. 185, "The Preacher and the Slave" (1 text)
Shay-Barroom, p. 17, "In the Sweet Bye and Bye" (1 fragment)
Darling-NAS, pp. 375-376, "The Preacher and the Slave" (1 text)
Silber-FSWB, p. 306, "The Preacher and the Slave" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: (Barrie Stavis and Frank Harmon, editors), _The Songs of Joe Hill_, 1960, now reprinted in the Oak Archives series, pp. 10-11, "The Preacher and the Slave" (1 text, 1 tune)
William M. Adler, _The Man Who Never Died: The Life, Times, and Legacy of Joe Hill, American Labor Icon_, Bloomsbury Press, 2011, pp. 182-183, "(The Preacher and the Slave)" (1 text)
Gibbs M. Smith, _Joe Hill_, 1969 (I use the 1984 Peregrine Smith Books edition), pp. 232-233, "The Preacher and the Slave" (1 text, showing the original Little Red Songbook cover and version; pp. 231-237 includes a catalog of Hill songs in the Songbook); pp. 238-239, 1 text, the first edition to have Hill's name); pp. 240-241 (1 text, a sort of quasi-official version)
Arkansas Charlie (Charlie Craver), "You'll Get Pie In The Sky When You Die" (Brunswick 392, c. 1929)
Bud Billings [pseud. for Frank Luther] & Carson Robison: "You'll Get Pie in the Sky When You Die" (Victor V-40221, 1930)
Harry "Mac" McClintock, "Long Haired Preachers (Preacher and the Slave)" (on McClintock01) (on McClintock02)
Pete Seeger, "Pie in the Sky" (on PeteSeeger05)
cf. "Sweet By and By" (tune)
NOTES [188 words]: For the life of Joe Hill, see "Joe Hill."
According to William M. Adler, The Man Who Never Died: The Life, Times, and Legacy of Joe Hill, American Labor Icon, Bloomsbury Press, 2011, p. 12, Hill probably wrote this song in early 1911 while in San Pedro, California. Hill apparently worked as a longshoreman in this period; he also spent time at the local rescue mission, where the manager gave him access to the piano. So, presumably, the song was written at that piano.
Adler also notes that the song was included in Upton Sinclair's anthology "The Cry for Justice." It appears, based on Google Books, that Sinclair quoted it several other times, including in "The Profits of Religion" and "Oil!"
Adler, p. 130n., also observes that the first edition of the Little Red Songbook to contain this song credited it to "F. B. Brechler." Hill's name was used thereafter. Perhaps Hill used a pseudonym (after all, "Joe Hill" wasn't his real name either), but after he became famous, the IWW credited the song to him to strengthen his legend. I don't think there is any real doubt that Hill wrote it; it sounds like his work. - RBW
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