Old Man Trump - Ryan Harvey




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmZnlGBhwKg


Woody Guthrie was an incredibly prolific songwriter, and many of the songs he wrote and played were never put on vinyl. In 1950 he and his family moved into an apartment block near the beach in Brooklyn, one of over two thousand units collectively called Beach Haven, just a stone's throw from Coney Island, the "Blackpool of New York City". Woody was intrigued by the fact that these relatively modest homes had no black or ethnic minority residents. Upon further enquiry he realised that the landlord was operating a "no blacks" policy for would-be tenants. He was so incensed he wrote a song about it. The landlord was a property magnate named Donald John Trump, father of the future president of the USA. As he often did when incensed by injustice, Guthrie picked his guitar, famously inscribed with the words "This machine kills fascists", and wrote a song about it.


Guthrie meticulously kept the original copies of the lyrics of all of his songs, so, although there is no recording of him singing the words, he has provided a testament which has remained in public memory longer than the accusation made by the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department of creating a “substantial impediment to the full enjoyment of equal opportunity” at Beach Haven.


Here Ryan Harvey is joined by luminaries Ani DiFranco and Tom Morello (ex lead guitarist from Rage Against the Machine) for a spirited revival of Guthrie's song, perfectly capturing the feeling of outrage of the original words.


"In 2016, Beach Haven, which is now operated by Beach Haven Apartments Associates, was fined for dumping two hundred thousand gallons of untreated sewage into Coney Island Creek each day. It is the largest fine that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has ever levied against an apartment building for the mishandling of human waste." - New Yorker, November 6, 2018.


While it would be a mistake to assume that all bad traits are inherited by sons from their parents - Guthrie's father for example allegedly partook in the notorious 1911 Oklahoma lynching of black mother and son Laura and L D Nelson - it is a sobering thought that Trump's core wealth - the money that enabled him to start on the road that eventually led to the White House, game from housing developments such as and including Beach Haven.


I suppose that Old Man Trump knows just how much racial hate

He stirred up in that bloodpot of human hearts

When he drawed that colour line

Here at his Beach Haven family project


Beach Haven ain't my home!

No, I just can't pay this rent!

My money's down the drain,

And my soul is badly bent!

Beach Haven is Trump’s Tower

Where no black folks come to roam,

No, no, Old Man Trump!

Old Beach Haven ain't my home!


I'm calling out my welcome to you and your man both

Welcoming you here to Beach Haven

To love in any way you please and to have some kind of a decent place

To have your kids raised up in.


Beach Haven ain't my home!

No, I just can't pay this rent!

My money's down the drain,

And my soul is badly bent!

Beach Haven is Trump’s Tower

Where no black folks come to roam,

No, no, Old Man Trump!

Old Beach Haven ain't my home!