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Lyr Req: Biggest Thing That Man Has Ever Done

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A PICTURE FROM LIFE'S OTHER SIDE
AS I GO RAMBLING ROUND
BELLE STARR
BOUND FOR GLORY
CLEAN-O
DEPORTEES
DO RE MI
DUST PNEUMONIA
EL DO RE MI
GAMBLER
HARD TRAVELIN'
HARD, AIN'T IT HARD
HIGHWAY 66 BLUES
I AIN'T GOT NO HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE
I'M GONNA MAIL MYSELF TO YOU
JACKHAMMER JOHN
JESUS CHRIST
JUST THE FACTS, MA'AM
LIFEBELT WASHED UP ON THE SHORE
LUDLOW MASSACRE
MEAN TALKING BLUES
MRS. ROOSEVELT
NINE HUNDRED MILES
OKLAHOMA HILLS
PASTURES OF PLENTY
POOR LAZARUS
PRETTY BOY FLOYD
RAMBLING ROUND
RANGER'S COMMAND
RED WINE
ROLL ON COLUMBIA
ROLL ON THE DAY
SHIP IN THE SKY
SO LONG IT'S BEEN GOOD TO KNOW YUH
TALKING BLUES
TALKING DUST BOWL BLUES
THE 1913 MASSACRE
THE BLINDING OF ISAAC WOODARD
THE GRAND COULEE DAM
THE LADIES' AUXILIARY
THE PHILADELPHIA LAWYER
THE SINKING OF THE REUBEN JAMES
THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND
THOSE BROWN EYES
TOM JOAD
UNION MAID
WHY OH WHY


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GUEST,Konradalappe@t-online.de 09 Jan 04 - 10:10 AM
GUEST,Konrad 09 Jan 04 - 10:19 AM
Sorcha 09 Jan 04 - 10:37 AM
banjo1925 09 Jan 04 - 10:47 AM
Rapparee 09 Jan 04 - 10:53 AM
Joe Offer 09 Jan 04 - 12:26 PM
Mark Ross 09 Jan 04 - 01:00 PM
GUEST 10 Jan 04 - 03:37 AM
Jim Dixon 12 Jun 13 - 03:08 PM
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Subject: woody guthrie lyrics
From: GUEST,Konradalappe@t-online.de
Date: 09 Jan 04 - 10:10 AM

We are searching the lyrics of woody guthrie`s song:
"The biggest thing man has ever done"
Thank you from the noth-sea coast   Konrad


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Subject: RE: woody guthrie lyrics
From: GUEST,Konrad
Date: 09 Jan 04 - 10:19 AM

My correct e-mailadress ist: konradolappe@t-online.de.Thanks. Konrad


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Subject: Lyr Add: Great Historical Bum
From: Sorcha
Date: 09 Jan 04 - 10:37 AM

Forgive me if these are already here. I looked, found several versions, but not this one....THE GREAT HISTORICAL BUM
also known as: Just the Facts, M'am
(Woody Guthrie)


This song can be sung as alternating verses with "I Was Born About Ten Thosand Years Ago," and it's a real hoot to sing them at the same time ..... they work well as counterpoint with each other!


I'm just a lonesome traveler, the great historical bum
Highly educated, out of history I've come
I built the Rock of Ages, it was in the year of One
And that's about the biggest thing that Man has ever done

I was in the Garden of Eden, that was the year of Two
Joined the Apple Pickers Union, and I always paid my dues
I'm the man that signed the contract to raise the Rising Sun
And that's about the biggest thing that Man has ever done

I was straw boss on the pyramids, the Tower of Babel, too
I opened up the ocean, let the migrant children through
I fought a million battles and I never lost a one
And that's about the biggest thing that Man has ever done

I licked the daring Roman, I licked the daring Turk
Defeated Nero's army, boys, with thirty minutes' work
I fought a million battles and I never lost a one
And that's about the biggest thing that Man has ever done

I was in the Revolution that set this country free
Me and a couple o' Indians, we dumped the Boston tea
I fought the battle of Valley Forge and the battle of Bully Run
And that's about the biggest thing that Man has ever done

There was a man across the ocean, I guess you know him well
His name was Adolph Hitler, God damn his soul to hell
We kicked him in the panzers and put him on the run
And that's about the biggest thing that Man has ever done


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Subject: RE: wood guthrie lyrics
From: banjo1925
Date: 09 Jan 04 - 10:47 AM

Biggest Thing that Man Has Ever Done (The Great Historical Bum)
Words and Music by Woody Guthrie 1961

1. I'm just a lonesome traveler, the Great Historical Bum.
    Highly educated from history I have come;
    I built the Rock of Ages, 'Twas in the year of One,
    And that was about the biggest thing that man had ever done.

2. I worked in the Garden of Eden, that was the year of Two,
    Joined the apple picker's union, I always paid my dues;
    I'm the man that signed the contract to raise the rising sun,
    And that was about the biggest thing that man had ever done.

3. I was straw boss on the pyramids, the Tower of Babel, too.
    I opened up the ocean, let the migrant children through;
    I fought a million battles and I never lost a one,
    And that was about the biggest thing that man had ever done.

There are 12 verses in all - but I'll skip the next eight and give you # 12.

12. I better quit my talking 'cause I told you all I know;
    But please remember, pardner, wherever you may go;
    The people are building a peaceful world, and when the job is done
    That'll be the biggest thing that man has ever done.

If you wish to have # 5 - 11, let me know.

Banjo 1925@aol.com


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Subject: RE: wood guthrie lyrics
From: Rapparee
Date: 09 Jan 04 - 10:53 AM

Tommy Makem does a song called "The Liar" on his album "An Evening With Tommy Makem" (also released as "Listen the rafters are ringing"). Very similar to the lyrics for "Great Historical Bum" -- the lyrics could be interchanged, in fact:

I saw Delilah cutting Samson's hair
She snipped away until his head was bare
When he tried to run away,
She married him next day
And they opened up a barbershop in Clare.

...

It was during World War Two I met them all
There was Roosevelt and Churchill and De Gaulle
And one day I nearly fainted
I was having my house painted
And there was Hitler hanging paper in the hall.

The Makem website (www.makem.com) doesn't post the lyrics to "The Liar" -- those two are from memory, and there are more. I'm at work right now and can't play the tape.
Click for "The Liar"


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Subject: ADD: Biggest Thing That Man Has Ever Done
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Jan 04 - 12:26 PM

If you're posting a song, it's best to post the whole thing, so we have a permanent record of it. There are lots of verses people don't sing any more, but it's still important that we preserve them. Great song, isn't it?
-Joe Offer-

BIGGEST THING THAT MAN HAS EVER DONE (GREAT HISTORICAL BUM)
Words and Music by Woody Guthrie

I'm just a lonesome traveler, the Great Historical Bum.
Highly educated from history I have come;
I built the Rock of Ages, 'Twas in the year of One,
And that was about the biggest thing that man had ever done.

I worked in the Garden of Eden, that was the year of Two
Joined the apple picker's union, I always paid my dues:
I'm the man that signed the contract to raise the rising sun.
And that was about the biggest thing that man had ever done.

I was straw boss on the Pyramids, the Tower of Babel, too;
I opened up the ocean, let the migrant children through;
I fought a million battles and I never lost a one,
And that was about the biggest thing that man had ever done.

I beat the daring Roman. I heat the daring Turk;
Defeated Nero's Army with thirty minutes' work;
I stopped the mighty Kaiser. I stopped the mighty Hun;
And that was about the biggest thing that man has ever done.

I was in the Revolution when we set this country free;
It was me and a couple of Indians that dumped the Boston Tea;
We won the battle at Valley Forge and Battle of Bully Run;
And that was about the biggest thing that man has ever done.

Next we won the Slavery War, some other folks and me;
I beat the chains from off their legs and set my people free:
The Slavery men they lost the war, and Freedom's men had won;
And that was about the biggest thing that man bad ever done.

Next I took to farming on the great midwestern plain;
The dust it blowed a hundred years, it never come a rain;
Me and a million other folks we left there on the run:
And that was about the biggest thing that man has ever done.

I clumb these rocky canyons where the Columbia River rolls:
Seen the salmon leaping the rapids and the falls:
Twas there I built my Coulee Dam in the state of Washington:
And that was about the biggest thing that man has ever done.

Three times the size of Boulder Dam or the highest Pyramid;
It makes the Tower of Babel a plaything for the kids;
From the rising of the river to the setting of the sun,
My Coulee Darn's the biggest thing that man has ever done.

There's man acrost this ocean, and I guess you know him well;
His name is Adolf Hitler, god damn his soul to hell;
We'll kick him in the panzers and we'll put him on the run;
And this will be the biggest thing that man has ever done.

There's warehouse guys and teamsters and guys that skin the cats,
Guys that run my steel mill, my furnace and my blast:
We'll stop these Axis rattlesnakes and thieves of old Nippon;
And that will be the biggest thing that man has ever done.

I better quit my talking 'cause I told you all I know;
But please remember, pardner, wherever you may go;
The people are building a peaceful world, and when the job is done,
That'll be the biggest thing that man has ever done.

Copyright 1961, Ludlow Music

Source: Woody Guthrie Songbook, TRO/Ludlow


Woody died in 1967, but he was hospitalized most of the time after 1954. Could it be that he sang this song for quite some time before the 1961 copyright date? From the contect, you'd think it was written during World War II.

The version at woodyguthrie.org is somewhat different:

Biggest Thing That Man Has Ever Done
(also known as The Great Historical Bum)

I'm just a lonesome traveler, The Great Historical Bum.
Highly educated from history I have come.
I built the Rock of Ages, 'twas in the Year of One
And that was about the biggest thing that man had ever done.

I worked in the Garden of Eden, that was the year of two,
Joined the apple pickers union, I always paid my due;
I'm the man that signed the contract to raise the rising sun,
And that was about the biggest thing that man had ever done.

I was straw boss on the Pyramids, the Tower of Babel, too;
I opened up the ocean let the migrant children through,
I fought a million battles and I never lost a one,
And that was about the biggest thing that man had ever done.

I beat the daring Roman, I beat the daring Turk,
Defeated Nero's army with thirty minutes work,
I fought the greatest leaders and I licked them everyone
And that was about the biggest thing that man had ever done.

I stopped old Caesar's Romans, and I stopped the Kubla Khan;
I took but half an hour's work to beat the Pharaoh's bands;
I knocked old Kaiser Bill flat, then I dumped the bloody Huns,
And that's about the biggest thing that man has ever done.

I was in the Revolution when we set the country free;
Me and a couple of Indians that dumped the Boston tea;
We won the battle at Valley Forge, the battle of Bully Run;
And that was about the biggest thing that man has ever done.

Next, we won the slavery war, some other folks and me,
And every slave from sea to sea was all turned loose by me.
I divorced old Madam slavery, and I wed this freedom dame.
And that's about the biggest thing that man has ever done.

And then I took to farming on the great midwestern plain,
The dust it blowed a hundred years, but never come a rain'
Well, me and a million other fellas left there on the run
And that was about the biggest thing that man has ever done.

I clumb the rocky canyon where the Columbia River rolls,
Seen the salmon leaping the rapids and the falls
The big Grand Coulee Dam in the state of Washington
Is just about the biggest thing that man has ever done.

There's a building in New York that you call the Empire State
I rode the rods to 'Frisco to walk the Golden Gate
I've seen every foot of film that Hollywood has run
But Coulee is the biggest thing that man has ever done.

Three times the size of Boulder or the highest pyramid
Makes the Tower of Babel a plaything for a kid
From the rising of the river to the setting of the sun
The Coulee is the biggest thing that man has ever done.

There was a man across the ocean, I guess you knew him well,
His name was Adolf Hitler, goddam his soul to hell;
We kicked him in the panzers and put him on the run,
And that was about the biggest thing that man has ever done.

I'm living with my freedom wife in this big land we built;
It takes all forty eight States for me to spread my quilt.
Our kids are several millions now; they run from sun to sun.
And that's about the biggest thing that man has ever done.

I built mines and mills and factories to run for Uncle Sam;
I turned th' ploughs and wheels to feed my soldiers in your lands;
This Nazi job's a tough 'un, it'll take us everyone,
'Cause this is about the biggest thing that man has ever done.

There's warehouse guys and teamsters and guys that skin the cats
Guys that run my steel mill, my furnace and my blast
We'll stop the Axis rattlesnakes and thieves of old Nippon
And that will be the biggest thing that man has ever done.

I'd better quit my talking, 'cause I told you all I know,
But please remember, pardner, wherever you may go,
The people are building a peaceful world, and when the job is done
That'll be the biggest thing that man has ever done.

I better quit my talking now; I told you all I know,
But please remember, pardner, wherever you may go,
I'm older than your old folks, and I'm younger than the young,
And I'm about the biggest thing that man has ever done.


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Subject: RE: wood guthrie lyrics - Great Historical Bum
From: Mark Ross
Date: 09 Jan 04 - 01:00 PM

The tune that Woody used was ZEBRA DUN. How he managed to play it in 6/8 time with a flatpick I've never been able to figure out. Listen to his recording of it.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: wood guthrie lyrics - Great Historical Bum
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Jan 04 - 03:37 AM

I am very happy to read the interest und support regarding this song.
Thank you all. Konrad


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BIGGEST THING THAT MAN HAS EVER DONE
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 12 Jun 13 - 03:08 PM

How many versions did Woody record, anyway? I transcribed this one from Spotify, which doesn't have liner notes. I have boldfaced the words that I can't find anywhere above.


THE BIGGEST THING THAT MAN HAS EVER DONE (THE GREAT HISTORICAL BUM)
As sung by Woody Guthrie on "Woody at 100: The Woody Guthrie Centennial Collection" (Smithsonian Folkways, 2012)

I'm just a lonesome traveler, the great historical bum.
Highly educated; from hist'ry I have come.
I built the Rock of Ages; 'twas in the year of one.
That's about the biggest thing that man had ever done.

I worked in the Garden of Eden; it was the year of two.
Joined the apple picker's union; I always paid my due.
I'm the man that signed the contract to raise the risin' sun.
That was about the biggest thing that man had ever done.

I was straw boss on the pyramids, and the Tower of Babel, too.
Opened up the ocean, let the migrant children through.
I fought a million battles and I never lost a one.
That was about the biggest thing that man had ever done.

I beat the darin' Roman; I heat the darin' Turk,
Defeated Nero's army with thirty minutes' work.
I fought the greatest leaders and licked 'em ever' one.
That was about the biggest thing that man had ever done.

I was in the Revolution when we set the country free.
It was me and a couple of Indians that dumped the Boston tea.
We won the battle at Valley Forge and battle of Bully Run.
That was about the biggest thing that man has ever done.

There's a man across the ocean, and I guess you know him well.
His name is Adolph Hitler, and damn his soul to hell.
We'll kick him in the panzers and put him on the run.
That'll be the biggest thing that man has ever done.

There's mines and mills and fact'ries that run for Uncle Sam,
Producin' for the soldier boys that fight for this great land.
Our job it is
a tough one; it'll take us ev'ry one,
But this'll be the biggest thing that man has ever done.

There's warehouse guys and teamsters and guys that skin the cats,
Guys that run the steel mills, the furnace and the blast.
We'll stop the Axis rattlesnakes and thieves of old Nippon.
That'll be the biggest thing that man has ever done.

Well, I better quit my talkin' 'cause I told you all I know.
Please remember, pardner, wherever you may go:
The world is diggin' Hitler's grave, and when the job is done,
That'll be the biggest thing that man has ever done.
Yes! That'll be the biggest thing that man's ever done.


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