We've updated our Terms of Use. You can review the changes here.

Back Where We Came From

by Purple Gums

  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    Purchasable with gift card

      $10 USD  or more


Red states, Blue states, Brown noses, Green thumbs, Sam I am, Black asses, Red necks, Yellow bellies. Welcome. Welcome. I would like to give you the official welcome, to the Why Don't You Go Back Where You Came From convention. Isn't that somethin'? Why don't you go back where you came from? Half the people I know, don't know where they came from. And half of those people don't know who they father is. And some of them don't know who they mother is. So where are they gonna go? And why should they have to go, Back where they came from? Unless, of course, they're orange. And if they're orange, I'd like to know where they came from. Yeah, America, America, God shed his grace on thee. Go back where you came from. And half the people that are saying that, they're into that, uh, what is it? Uh, that sect. That sect, where their leader, He really don't know where he came from. I mean, there's a story, but when you look at it, Can you imagine that? Can you… Think of that. Think of that. Go back where you came from. Well gee, Mother Mary of God, Who is papa? Who's papa? Where did I come from? Can you imagine that? Think about it. Joseph said, "What! What! God did it? God did it? I don't know what to think about it… I know I didn't do it. Mary, I know I didn't do it And there are things I can accept, but you're telling me that God did it? And what am I supposed to tell my little boy here? How am I supposed to feel when he looks up and he says, Papa. Papa. Papa. You know Pops, you don't treat me like you treat the other kids. Even Johnny down the street, You treat him better than me, Papa! But, you supposed to be my Papa. What is that all about? And Papa just looks at me. And he says, Well, Jesu, here's the truth of the matter, God did it." So why don't you go back where you came from. Go on back, where you came from.
I hear the bell. I hear that bell a chimin', I hear that bell a ringin' It's calling me to come over to the line. Get on the line, That Rock Island Line. Get aboard that train little boy. Get aboard that train and get the hell outta here. Leave this place, This place of people who don't recognize other people. Leave this place. I hear that bell in the distance And I hear the whistle, The whistle to the gate North. Out, out, outta this place. I been here too long. I'm just a boy, I'm just a child, But my father was here, My mother was here, My grandfather, my great grandfather, And before that, I don't know. I don't know, but that's long enough. That's enough people. I hear the bell, Its callin' me to go, Get on the rails. Get on the back of the train, Get on the front, get in the middle, Just get on. Go! Go! North! North, brother! Go! Luck up! Maybe things won't be better there. Maybe I'll hear the angels sing. It's a little early for angels, But maybe it's better there than here. Even if all I'm surrounded by is angels and their wings. Will I get wings? Will I ever get any wings? What have I done to deserve wings? Why do I have to earn 'em? It seems to me I should start with wings And then I have to lose 'em. That's how it seems to me. I hear that bell. I hear the train a commin' Commin' 'round the bend. Get on that train little boy. Get on that train.
The orange guy. Yeah, he became President.
Come on, Teddy, We going to do some rough ridin' tonight. Get the guns, Jack. We're gonna ride. Get us some elephants, Some lions, and tigers, and mama snakes. I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe. Assume the position. Assume the position! Spread 'em! I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't Breathe. He was runnin'. He was runnin' from me. He was runnin' from me. His back was to me, but I felt threatened. I felt threatened. There was nothing I could do. I had to take him out. He was runnin' from me, Yes, his back was to me, But I felt threatened, I had to take him out. I had to take him out. But I can't breathe. I had to take him out. I can't breathe. Let me say it again, I can't breathe. This land is your land, This land is my land, From California, to the redwood forest, From the Smokey Mountains, To wherever else there is, This land was made for you and me. After we got here, 'Cause we all got here some kind of way. We just do our best to forget about the folks Who was here when we got here. 'Cause there was people when we got here. But this land, I just want you to know, This land is my land. This land is my land. This land was made For me and me, And you can just damn well Go back to where you came from. America. America. Don't you ever wonder where that cat eats? Oh, I guess we know.
I looked over Jordan and what did I see? I saw a band of angels comin' after me. To take me home. And I said, no. I ain't ready to go no place. No place at all. So, I turned tail and I ran, And I ran, and I ran, and I ran, 'til I ran into a tree. And I fell down. And I turned around. I jumped. Turned around, And looked back where I came from. And what did I see? That same band of angels comin' after me. I said, no. I'm not ready. I don't want to go. It's not my time. And they just looked at me, And they sang a tune. They sang, It ain't about you, It ain't your choice, It ain't got nuthin' to do with you. Come on. Come on across this river. They've had enough of you. They've had enough of you. No more. No more. Let them go. Let them be free. You need to come back home. You need to come over here, Where you came from. Come on over here. Come on over here. Those heel spurs, They been messin' with you for a long, long time. Give them a rest. Come here. Come here. Stop the treatments. You're too, too, too, too… Orange! You too orange! Ain't nothin' natural about that. There ain't nothin' natural about you. Come back over here, Where you came from. They've had enough of you. Do it yourself. Don't let them do it. Do it yourself. Be a man. Be a man. Stand up. Stand up. Come on. Little Trumpy. Little Trumpy-pooh. Little Trumpy-pooh. Come on over here. We want you. We want you. You so great. You're the best. The best-est. You're so orange. Come on over here across the Jordan. Across the Jordan River. The river waits for you. Good night, sweet prince, And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest. Hey, lookie here man. Lookie here man. Don't you know, Your neck won't hold it And your back won't go. Hey, lookie here man. Lookie here man. Don't you know, Your neck won't hold it And your back won't go.
Pharaoh 09:28
When Moses was in Egypt's land. Back where you came from. Let my people go. Back up. Back up the fallopian trail. Oppressed so hard… You gonna miss me when I'm gone. They could not stand. You gonna miss me when I'm gone. Let my people go. I'm gonna take all my stuff with me. I'm gonna take my song, I'm gonna take my dance, I'm gonna take my god. I'm gonna take my place, In the universe. I'm gonna look out at the midnight sky, Copernicus at my side. I'm gonna look left And I'm gonna look right. You gonna miss me when I'm gone. I'm gonna take my stuff And go back where I came from. Gone. I am gone now. Tell ole Pharaoh, Let my people go.
Cobra 05:48


"Back Where We Came From", is a live recording of a performance on the Just Jazz series, produced by LeRoy Downs - the JazzCat, at the Mr. Musichead Gallery, in Hollywood, CA. The concert was held on July 17, 2019 and was a celebration of Bobby Bradford's 85th birthday.

Purple Gums' performances are all freely improvised. No rehearsals, no discussions beforehand, no recriminations afterwards. Purple Gums embraces the spoken word, so there is seldom any doubt where our thoughts lie during a given performance. And yes, the words are improvised. The group locates itself in the tradition of African American music as a medium of social consciousness and protest. Our performances are about something - they are maneuvers toward awareness, polemics against the standing order. Purple Gums is a brass band in the NOLA tradition. We play for death, we play for life, for joy, for inspiration. We've even been known to stand and march.

It is important for us to be aware of where we came from and pass a little of that knowledge on to our audience. Almost everyone in this country came from someplace else. Very few of those who were originally here survived. Yes, this is true. This music was created a year ago. Listening to it, you might think it was performed last night. We can only hope that perception won't be true when you listen to it several years from now.


released July 17, 2020

Bobby Bradford - cornet, bells, spoken word, vocals
Francis Wong - tenor sax, vocals
William Roper - tuba, gemsbok clarinet, bovine femur trumpet, water buffalo horn, khaen, pungi, lip-reed, spoken word, vocals
Location recording - Ryan Miller
Editing & Mastering - Wayne Peet, New Zone Studio


all rights reserved



William Roper Los Angeles, California

William Roper is a multi-disciplinary artist residing in Los Angeles. His primary foci are music composition, music performance and improvisation, and the visual arts. He has toured Japan, Europe, and the two Americas, as soloist and ensemble musician. He is represented on 60+ recordings, twelve as leader. ... more

contact / help

Contact William Roper

Streaming and
Download help

Redeem code

Report this album or account

If you like Back Where We Came From, you may also like: