Country Joe McDonald a réalisé en 1969 l’un (et longtemps le meilleur) des quelques disques entièrement consacrés à Woody Guthrie.

Il chante ici Roll On Columbia, l’une des chansons du cycle consacré par Guthrie aux « grands travaux » de l’ère rooseveltienne, le cycle de la Columbia River. Embauché pour les besoins d’un film sur les travaux de construction d’un barrage sur le fleuve Columbia, dans l’État de Washington, Guthrie avait écrit là un certain nombre de ses chefs d’œuvres, qui ne sont pas seulement des chansons de propagande. Ses héros sont toujours les gens du peuple.

Roule, Columbia. Ta puissance change notre ombre en aube…


Green Douglas firs where the waters cut through.
Down her wild mountains and canyons she flew.
Canadian Northwest to the ocean so blue,
Roll on, Columbia, roll on!

CHORUS: Roll on, Columbia, roll on.
Roll on, Columbia, roll on.
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn,
Roll on, Columbia, roll on.

Other great rivers add power to you,
Yakima, Snake and the Klickitat, too,
Sandy Willamette and Hood River, too;
Roll on, Columbia, roll on.


Tom Jefferson’s vision would not let him rest,
An empire he saw in the Pacific Northwest.
Sent Lewis and Clark and they did the rest;
Roll on, Columbia, roll on.


It’s there on your bank that we fought many a fight,
Sheridan’s boys in the blockhouse that night,
They saw us in death but never in flight,
Roll on, Columbia, roll on.


At Bonneville now there are ships in the locks,
The waters have risen and cleared all the rocks,
Shiploads of plenty will steam past the docks,
Roll on, Columbia, roll on.


And on up the river is Grand Coulee Dam,
The mightiest thing ever built by a man,
To run these great factories and water the land,
It’s roll on, Columbia, roll on.


These might men labored by day and by night,
Matching their strength ‘gainst the river’s wild flight,
Through rapids and falls they won the hard fight,
Roll on, Columbia, roll on.