Sunny Cal
Music accompanied the "Arkies" and "Okies" on their journey out of the Dust Bowl to California's Central Valley and the cities of the Golden State. Their objective was always the same: work. But what started in hope for many was not always fulfilled as the following song suggests.

Sing Along -

You've all heard the story
Of old Sunny Cal
The place where it never rains
They say it don't know how.

They say, "Come on, you Okies,
Work is easy found
Bring along your cotton pack
You can pick the whole year round.

Get your money ever' night
Spread your blanket on the ground
It' s always bright and warm
You can sleep right on the ground."

But listen to me Okies
I came out here one day
Spent all my money getting here
Now I can't get away.

To Start You Thinking

1) Who were the "Okies" mentioned in the song?

2) Listen carefully to the song. What story is being told?

3) List the various miseries encountered in Sunny Cal.


lyrics by Jack Bryant Firebaugh, 1940, part of Voices from the Dust Bowl: The Charles L. Todd and Robert Sonkin Migrant Worker Collection, 1940-1941, The Library of Congress, American Memory Collection.

Last modified in June, 2019 by Rick Thomas