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Daniel Patrick Welch: People's Hurricane (Song)

People's Hurricane

a song by Daniel Patrick Welch

Listen To The Song…

The rebel tradition has a long history of borrowing from gospel and popular songs, from the Wobblies' Amazing Boss to Get on Board of the Civil Rights movement. Don't you weep after me is an old gospel song that has been well used, the most poignant version of which I found to be one sung during the Logan County miners' strike of 1921.

Every little river must go down to the sea
All the slaving miners in our union will be free
Goin' down to Blair Mountain, gonna whoop the company
My darling don't you weep after me

Inspired by that verse, I composed this song and put it to a chorus I had kicking around for awhile. I kind of like how the two sound together. There is a strong tradition in radical folk in almost every culture of drawing comparisons between the 'power of the people' and nature: unstoppable, stronger than their opponents, and so on… "If the boss is in the way we're gonna roll right over him." This was especially important in the struggle for oppressed groups to feel proud of their progress in the face of overwhelming opposition, and also in control of their destiny. I think we actually need to believe that el pueblo unido jamas sera vencido, but these are times which test my populist roots. Anyway, enjoy:

People's Hurricane

There came a mighty hurricane that flooded New Orleans
They said help couldn't get there—that they didn't have the means
We watched whole families swallowed up in television scenes
My darling don't you weep after me

We are a people angry
A people proud, a people free
A mighty river flowing
From the mountains to the sea

Bush went to the levee but the Devil met him there
Took 200 billion and he vanished in thin air
Now there are thousands drowning but ol' Georgie doesn't care
My darling don't you weep after me

We are a people angry...

Boats came to the rescue but FEMA sent them back
The troops that could have helped them were all over in Iraq
Do people even matter—-or was it just 'cuz they were black?
My darling don't you weep after me

We are a people angry..

GW sent the army in to calm the people's fears
They needed food and water, but they brought more blood and tears
In the name of "law and order," they shot the engineers!
My darling don't you weep after me

We are a people angry...

The people wanted answers but the government gives us lies
The anger's deep and rising—-got no time to dry our eyes
Mother Jones was right: she said 'Don't mourn-—but organize!'
My darling don't you weep after me

We are a people angry...

Impeach this sorry government and put in one that cares
That takes care of its people and won't pollute the air
Enough of loot and plunder-—revolution's in the air
My darling don't you weep after me

We are a people angry...

So don't believe the lies—-you know the truth will set you free
The winds of change are blowing and it starts with you and me
We'll build a people's hurricane from sea to shining sea
My darling don't you weep after me

We are a people angry...


© 2005 Daniel Patrick Welch. Reprint permission granted with credit and link to Writer, singer, linguist and activist Daniel Patrick Welch lives and writes in Salem, Massachusetts, with his wife, Julia Nambalirwa-Lugudde. Together they run The Greenhouse School []. Translations of articles are available in up to 20 languages. Links to the website are appreciated at

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