Woody Guthrie - DEPORTEE

First performance: 28/08/1981


Coverinfo

Bruce performed the song 5 times:
 
 
The song was played in a solo acoustic guitar and harmonica arrangement.
 
1988-03-04 - DEAN E. SMITH STUDENT ACTIVITIES CENTER, CHAPEL HILL, NC 
During Souncheck 
 
The song was performed during a Woody Guthrie tribute concert. The song was played in a solo acoustic guitar and harmonica arrangement. This live 29 Sep 1996 version of Plane wreck at Los Gatos (Deportee) was officially released in 2000 on the various artists album 'Til We Outnumber 'Em. The spoken outro at the end of the song, which led into Across the border at the original concert, is not on the official release.  

1996-10-23 - WILLIAM SAROYAN THEATRE, FRESNO, CA
 

Songinfo

The genesis of "Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos)" reportedly occurred when Guthrie was struck by the fact that radio and newspaper coverage of the Los Gatos plane crash did not give the victims' names, but instead referred to them merely as "deportees." Guthrie lived in New York City at the time, and none of the deportees' names were printed in the January 29, 1948, New York Times report, only those of the flight crew and the security guard. However, the local newspaper, The Fresno Bee, covered the tragedy extensively and listed all of the known names of the deportees. Unaware of the extensive local coverage of the disaster, Guthrie responded with a poem, which, when it was first written, featured only rudimentary musical accompaniment, with Guthrie chanting the song rather than singing it. In the poem, Guthrie assigned symbolic names to the dead: "Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye Rosalita; adiós, mis amigos, Jesús y María..." A decade later, Guthrie's poem was set to music and given a haunting melody by a schoolteacher named Martin Hoffman. Shortly after, folk singer and friend of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, began performing the song at concerts, and it was Seeger's rendition that popularized the song during this time.
 

Other cover versions

The song has been covered by many artists, often under a variety of alternate titles, including "Deportees", "Ballad Of The Deportees", "Deportee Song", and "Deportee (Plane Wreck At Los Gatos)".  No audio of Wooy Guthrie exists
 

Bruce on the artist

The influence of Guthrie on Bruce is been well-documented.  He covered his signature song "This Land Is Your Land" all throughout the 1980s, and was directly inspired to record The Ghost of Tom Joad by Guthrie's work, especially "Tom Joad Blues." "There was always some spiritual center amid Woody's songs," Springsteen said in 1996. "He always projected a sense of good times in the face of it all. He always got you thinking about the next guy, he took you out of yourself. I guess his idea was salvation isn't individual. Maybe we don't rise and fall on our own." (source)
 
Bruce covered Woody 14 times : 
 

Lyrics

The crops are all in and the peaches are rotting
The oranges are packed in their creosote dump
You're flying 'em back to the Mexican border
To spend all their money to wade back again

Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye Rosalita
Adios mis amigos, Jesus e Maria
You won't have a name when you ride the big airplane
And all they will call you will be "deportees"

Some of us are illegal, and others not wanted
Our work contract's out and we've got to move on
Six hundred miles to that Mexican border
They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves

Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye Rosalita
Adios mis amigos, Jesus e Maria
You won't have a name when you ride the big airplane
And all they will call you will be "deportees"

The sky plane caught fire over Los Gatos Canyon
A fireball of lightning that shook all our hills
Who are all these dear friends who are scattered like dry leaves?
The radio says they were just deportees

Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye Rosalita
Adios mis amigos, Jesus e Maria
You won't have a name when you ride the big airplane
And all they will call you will be "deportee"

Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye Rosalita
Adios mis amigos, Jesus e Maria
[fades]