Malvina Reynolds: Song Lyrics and Poems  

First Amendment Banjo

Notes: words and music by Malvina Reynolds; copyright 1961 by Malvina Reynolds. Concerning Pete Seeger's run-in with the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Come gather round, you singing folk,
And listen to my tale,
About this long, lean banjo man
Who loved to sing and frail.
When many songs were lost and gone
Or hidden out of sight,
He found that frabjous music
And he sang with all his might.

He sang with all his might, my boys,
And people gathered round;
They followed him where'er he went
To hear the joyful sound.
The girls and boys who followed him,
They loved his singing way,
They picked up flutes and strung up lutes
And learned to sing and play.

And all the world is singing how
That never sang before,
The treasury of hearty song
Made richer with the store.
And who would take this singing man
Who purely loves to frail,
And wrest him from the world of life
And muffle him in jail?

And who is so afraid of song
And truth that's bravely said,
And who so fears the singing kind
To wish their singing dead?
They hailed his banjo into court
And stood it at the bar,
Because it would not tune its strings
To cruelty and war.

Oh, gather round, you singing folk,
And sing along with me
A song to ring around the world
And set that banjo free.
Oh, gather round, you singing folk,
And clearly sing along
A song of truth and liberty
That will not suffer wrong--
And Pete will lead the song.

Malvina Reynolds songbook(s) in which the music to this song appears:
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Malvina Reynolds recording(s) on which this song is performed:
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