The Ballad Of Harry Pollitt

Lyrics: Traditional
Music: Traditional

Sung acapella by Robert Hunter, probably at a 1961 performance with Jerry Garcia and Marshall Leicester. It took place at the Boar's Head coffeehouse, in a loft above the Carlos Bookstore. There is some doubt whether this Robert Hunter recording might be from another night.

Harry Pollit was a worker, one of Lenin's lads
He was foully murdered by those counter revolutionary cads
Counter revolutionary cads, counter revolutionary cads
He was foully murdered by those counter revolutionary cads

Old Harry went to heaven, he reached the Gates with ease
Said, "May I speak with Comrade God, I am Harry Pollitt, please"
I'm Harry Pollitt please, I'm Harry Pollitt please
May I speak with Comrade God, I am Harry Pollitt,please

"Who are you?" said Saint Peter, "Are you humble and contrite?"
"I'm a friend of Lady Astor's," "Well, OK, that's quite alright"
OK, that's quite alright, well OK, that's alright
You're a friend of Lady Astor, well OK that's quite alright

They put him in the choir, but the hymns he did not like
So he organized the angels and he led them out on strike
Led them out on strike, led them out on strike
He organized the angels and he led them out on strike

They dressed him in a nightie, put a harp into his hand
And he played the Internationale in the Hallelujah band
Hallelujah band, Hallelujah band
And he played the Internationale in the Hallelujah band

One day when God was walking around heaven to medidate
Who should he see but Harry, chalking slogans on the gate
Chalking slogans on the gate, slogans on the gat
Who should he see but Harry, chalking slogans on the gate

Well, they brought him up for trial before the Holy Ghost
For spreading disaffection amongst the heavenly hosts
Amongst the heavenly hosts, amongst the heavenly hosts
For spreading disaffection amongst the heavenly hosts

Well, the verdict it was guilty, Harry said "Ah, well" (note 1)
And he tucked his nightie 'round his knees and he drifted down to hell
Yes, he drifted down to hell, he drifted down to hell
He tucked his nightie 'round his knees and he drifted down to hell

Now seven long years have passed, Harry's doing swell
He's just been made the first People's Commissar of Soviet Hell
Commissar of Soviet Hell, Commissar of Soviet Hell
He's just been made the first People's Commissar of Soviet Hell

Well the moral of this story is easy for to tell
If you want to be a Bolshevik, you'll have to go to hell
If you want to be a bolshevik, you'll have to go to hell
If you want to be a Bolshevik, you'll have to go to hell
Notes
(1) the surviving tape cuts in at this point. The preceding verses are pieced together from other versions.

Futher Information
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography

 


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