Said Utah, I did not die

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Bangkok posting will be postponed today as the world lost a very special person just days ago.  My idol, inspiration, and historical guide in this life, Utah Phillips, has died.  Words cannot describe how this man and his music shaped and shape my thinking and my understanding of who I am and where I’m going.

Utah did so much that meant such a great deal to me. His recordings are things I go back to almost once a month, stories, songs, history lessons.  So the news may say that my friend Utah Phillips has died, but I know better… and to illustrate and pay the highest respect to him, Ill quote my most favorite labor poem and song, which Utah so often sang:

Joe Hill

words by Alfred Hayes
music by Earl Robinson

I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night,
Alive as you and me.
Says I “But Joe, you’re ten years dead”
“I never died” said he,
“I never died” said he.

“In Salt Lake, Joe,” says I to him,
him standing by my bed,
“They framed you on a murder charge,”
Says Joe, “But I ain’t dead,”
Says Joe, “But I ain’t dead.”

“The Copper Bosses killed you Joe,
they shot you Joe” says I.
“Takes more than guns to kill a man”
Says Joe “I didn’t die”
Says Joe “I didn’t die”

And standing there as big as life
and smiling with his eyes.
Says Joe “What they can never kill
went on to organize,
went on to organize”

From San Diego up to Maine,
in every mine and mill,
where working-men defend their rights,
it’s there you find Joe Hill,
it’s there you find Joe Hill!

I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night,
alive as you and me.
Says I “But Joe, you’re ten years dead”
“I never died” said he,
“I never died” said he.