The lyrics were written by the legendary folk singer Woody Guthrie. Many of Guthrie's songs were never recorded, but the lyrics exist in the Woody Guthrie Archives and are often interpreted by contemporary musicians. Rafael, who is a folk singer from California, has released two albums of songs written by Guthrie.
Anna Canoni, who is Guthrie's granddaughter and a director at the Woody Guthrie Foundation, considers this one of Guthrie's most powerful songs. Says Anna: "It's this beautiful song about God. Woody was sick for the last 15 years of his life, and I think within that time period the songs that he could write down became very powerful. Real end-of-life songs. And so I think that was one of the songs that came out of that time period. That's another very powerful song. 'To undo your sandal, sandal, to undo your sandal string. Christ you know that I'm not worthy to undo your sandal string.'"
Canoni talks about Guthrie and his religious beliefs: "I think in general, Woody's religion was All: it incorporated pieces of everything. The idea of doing something in the name of your god, I think, was a real bulls--t idea. And that all you're really supposed to do here is participate, be active, have a voice, and then leave it behind for next generations to continue. And no, that it's not about who you are physically, it's about what you participate and leave so that others can work from there." (Read more from Anna in her full interview. Learn much more at the official Woody Guthrie website.)