“The Big Combine”

Author: Jock Coleman
Earliest date: 1919 (composed); first printed 1923
Keywords: bragging farming harvest labor-movement work moniker nonballad boss worker IWW migrant
Found in: US(NW)

Description

Singer describes the crew of "harvest stiffs" on the big combine (harvester) in Oregon, including Oscar (Nelson), an IWW member; the horse-puncher ("the things he tells the horses...I can't tell you") and the singer himself, who is head puncher.

Notes

The Pacific Northwest was the center of the IWW (Wobbly) movement in the early 20th century; migrant farmworkers and lumberjacks were its principal supporters. - PJS

Cross references

Recordings