Dylan about Woody: "Listening to his songs is learn how to live, how to feel; he was like a guide. I couldn't believe I had never heard of him before." Woody to Dylan: "The words are the important thing. Don't worry about the tunes. Take a tune, sing high when they sing low, sing fast when they sing slow and you've got a new tune." This tune reminds Aunt Mollie Jackson's version of One Morning In May; see: The Nightingale.
On Christmas day 1913 in Calumet, Michigan, copper miners on strike had a solidarity gathering with their families when hired strike breakers blocked the doors and shouted "Fire". Widespread panic caused the death of 73 children. This typecase of anti-unionism was bluntly overlooked in most American history books, reason enough for Woody to write a song.