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The Band - ''King Harvest'' (Filmed in 1970 at Robbie Robertsons Studio in Woodstock)

"King Harvest (Has Surely Come)" is a song by The Band, which originally appeared as the final track on their second album, The Band.

The song is credited solely to guitarist Robbie Robertson, although drummer/singer Levon Helm claimed that "King Harvest" was a group effort. It is sung in the first person from the point of view of a poverty-stricken farmer who, with increasing desperation, details the misfortune which has befallen him: there was no rain and his crops died, his barn burned down, he has ended up on skid row.

A labor union organizer appears, promising to improve things, and the narrator tells his new associates, "I'm a union man, now, all the way", but, perhaps ashamed of his station, begs them to "just don't judge me by my shoes." The events depicted in the song are most likely a reference to the organizing drives of the Trade Union Unity League, which created share-cropper unions from 1928 to 1935, throughout the U.S. South.


Corn in the fields

Listen to the rice when the wind blows 'cross the water

King Harvest has surely come

I work for the union 'cause she's so good to me

And I'm bound to come out on top

That's where she said I should be

I will hear every word the boss may say

For he's the one who hands me down my pay

Looks like this time I'm gonna get to stay

I'm a union man, now, all the way

The smell of the leaves

From the magnolia trees in the meadow

King Harvest has surely come

Dry summer, then comes fall

Which I depend on most of all

Hey, rainmaker, can't you hear the call?

Please let these crops grow tall

Long enough I've been up on Skid Row

And it's plain to see, I've nothing to show

I'm glad to pay those union dues

Just don't judge me by my shoes

Scarecrow and a yellow moon

And pretty soon a carnival on the edge of town

King Harvest has surely come

Last year, this time, wasn't no joke

My whole barn went up in smoke

Our horse Jethro, well he went mad

And I can't remember things bein' that bad

Then there comes a man with a paper and a pen

Tellin' us our hard times are about to end

And then, if they don't give us what we like

He said, "men, that's when you gotta go on strike"

Corn in the fields

Listen to the rice when the wind blows 'cross the water

King Harvest has surely come

Songwriters: Robbie Robertson

King Harvest (Has Surely Come) lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group


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