29 August 2009

The Preacher and the Slave

IWW songwriters like Joe Hill and T-Bone Slim would often steal the tunes of Christian hymns and rewrite the lyrics. This was done for two reasons. 1) The tune would already be familiar to many in the intended audience who could then sing along which was particularly useful for 2) disrupting Salvation Army rallies (the Wobblies called it "Starvation Army,") by singing along with..rather different lyrics. This song--written by Hill to the tune of "In the Sweet By and By"--also introduced the saying "pie in the sky" into popular parlance.