HAPPY 100th BIRTHDAY WOODY!

Woody Guthrie was born on July 14th, 1912 in Okemah, Oklahoma. So we can celebrate his 100th birthday next saturday. And we will post some of his wonderful songs during this week.

Woody Guthrie was the most important American folk music artist of the first half of the 20th century, in part because he turned out to be such a major influence on the popular music of the second half of the 20th century, a period when he himself was largely inactive. His greatest significance lies in his songwriting, beginning with the standard “This Land Is Your Land” and including such much-covered works as “Deportee,” “Do Re Mi,” “Grand Coulee Dam,” “Hard, Ain’t It Hard,” “Hard Travelin’,” “I Ain’t Got No Home,” “1913 Massacre,” “Oklahoma Hills,” “Pastures of Plenty,” “Philadelphia Lawyer,” “Pretty Boy Floyd,” “Ramblin’ Round,” “So Long It’s Been Good to Know Yuh,” “Talking Dust Bowl,” and “Vigilante Man.” These and other songs have been performed and recorded by a wide range of artists, including a who’s who of folksingers.

 
Most of those performances and recordings came after Guthrie’s enforced retirement due to illness in the early ’50s. During his heyday, in the 1940s, he was a major-label recording artist, a published author, and a nationally broadcast radio personality. But the impression this creates, that he was a multi-media star, is belied by his personality and his politics. Restlessly creative and prolific, he wrote, drew, sang, and played constantly, but his restlessness also expressed itself in a disinclination to stick consistently to any one endeavor, particularly if it involved a conventional, cooperative approach. Nor did he care to stay in any one place for long. This idiosyncratic individualism was complemented by his rigorously left-wing political views. During his life, much attention was given in the U.S. to whether people of a liberal bent were or had ever been members of the Communist party. No reliable evidence has emerged that Guthrie was, but there is little doubt where his sympathies lay; for many years, he wrote a column published in Communist newspapers.

Ironically, as Guthrie’s health declined to the point of permanent hospitalization in the ’50s, his career took off through his songs and his example, which served as inspiration for the folk revival in general and, in the early ’60s, Bob Dylan in particular. By the mid-’60s, Guthrie’s songs were appearing on dozens of records, his own recordings were being reissued and, in some cases, released for the first time, and his prolific writings were being edited into books. This career resurgence was in no way slowed by his death in 1967; on the contrary, it continued for decades afterward, as new books were published and the Guthrie estate invited such artists as Billy Bragg and Wilco in to write music for Guthrie’s large collection of unpublished lyrics, creating new songs to record.
Tracks:

1. What Did The Deep Sea Say – Guthrie, Woody & Cisco Houston
2. Oregon Trial
3. Car Song
4. We Shall Be Free – Guthrie, Woody & Leadbelly/Sonny Terry/Cisco Houston
5. Danville Girl
6. Struggle Blues
7. John Henry – Guthrie, Woody & Cisco Houston
8. Chisholm Trail – Guthrie, Woody & Cisco Houston
9. Ludlowe Massacre
10.: Nine Hundred Miles
11. Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor
12. Buffalo Skinner’s
13. Ramblin’ Round
14. Rising Sun Blues (house of the rising sun)
15. Lindbergh
16. Vigilante Man
17. Two Good Men
18. Red River Valley – Guthrie, Woody & Cisco Houston
19. Ranger’s Command
20. Farmer Labour Train
21. Sinking Of The Rueben James
22. Hard Ain’t It Hard
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