Les Rice

Les Rice was a New York State apple farmer and one-time president of the Ulster County chapter of the Farmers Union. His songs have made him well-known to farmers throughout the northeast. This song, ‘Banks of Marble’, written around 1948-49 deals with the farmer’s perennial problem of “parity” and how it affects the farmer’s life. Pete Seeger recorded the song on at least two albums; and in a note in one of his songbooks he wrote that Rice ‘farms across the Hudson from me, near Newburgh [Orange County, New York]. Like most small farmers, he was getting intolerably squeezed by the big companies which sold him all his fertilizer, insecticide and equipment, and the big companies that dictated to him the prices he would get for his produce. Out of that squeeze came this song.’

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