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Boo Hewerdine's brilliant telling of the plight of migrant workers during the great depression in 1930s America. Forced from their farms as the soil disappeared after years of growing mono cropped cotton (a time to remember when we've been told that we have less than 100 harvests left here today due to unsustainable farming practises) many families migrated to California in the hope of finding work picking the rich harvests of the area.

Harvest gypsies

​In October we will come
A hundred and fifty thousand strong
When the picking's over we'll be gone
They call us the harvest gypsies

We only come because we must
We were driven here by dust
And they won't even look at us
We are the harvest gypsies


The hardest that it's ever been

I sold my blankets for gasoline

It's only hunger I have seen

Now I'm a harvest gypsy

There's apricots in Santa Clare
In Kern County, they have apples there
And the grapes, they're growing everywhere
All for the harvest gypsies

In a walnut grove I met a man

Who lost a child before San Fran 

We're strangers, they don't understand

We are the harvest gypsies

The gondolas and railway lines
Are filled with men when it is time
Drawn by the orange and the lime
All the harvest gypsies

They hate it when their taxes rise
And the squatter camps that they despise
Without us they would rot and die
Without the harvest gypsies

And the Holbrooks we were farming men
And I dream one day I will again
To miss the soil's a curious pain
When you're a harvest gypsy


Boo Hewerdine

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