A trove of newly discovered recordings brings new focus to the iconic troubadour’s legacy – MSN
The newly released box set of lost Woody Guthrie recordings My Dusty Road is a seminal event in American music.
Update – My Dusty Road is a great CD collection. The book alone is worth having for the material and presentation. The box is sitting on the shelf next to this desk and hasn’t left since I got it. If I get time, I’ll do a longer article.
Woody Guthrie was arguably the most important folk and protest songwriter of the last century. He wrote songs we all sing like “This Land is Your Land” and thousands of other songs. He was the father of singer Arlo Guthrie who is famous for the song and movie Alice’s Restaurant.
The 4 CD set was lovingly restored from metal masters by Rounder Records under the supervision of The Woody Guthrie Foundation and Archives
The original metal masters were found in a storage locker in Brooklyn belonging to Lucia Sutera.
Locked in the basement storage of her Brooklyn apartment building, she claimed, were hidden Woody Guthrie masters that had languished there for a half-century. The death of a longtime friend left Sutera with the raw metal master discs, used to press fragile acetates back in the ’40s, with previously unheard Guthrie originals among the songs recorded. MSN Music News
I have not seen any new Guthrie material since the 1960′s reissues on Vintage by RCA Vintage.
He was the model for Bob Dylan and every folk and protest singer since the 1940′s. In 1963 Dylan made a pilgrimage to New York to find the ailing Guthrie who was slowly dying of Huntington’s disease.
Guthrie wrote protest songs and songs that promoted the Grand Coolie Dam project. He worked as a radio announcer and farm hand. The was the itinerant balladeer that Bob Dylan struck as his original performance image.
Guthrie was a socialist and probably a Communist although he never joined or belonged to anything other than his guitar, family, friends and the road.
One of the only two video clips of Guthrie from 1945
Woody’s guitar prominently sported the sign “This machine kills Fascists” and that was his motto. He was for the little man and against the big machine of big government and big business.
Even This Land is Your Land was originally a protest song. The versus most people don’t remember are -
As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.
In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?
Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.
Copyright 2000-2009, The Woody Guthrie Foundation
The collection is widely hailed as a “must own” for serious folk music fans. The restoration is pristine and surpasses what we already have. There are new songs we have never heard before. It seems a good time to renew our love and respect for this great singer songwriter.
Note: if you are purchasing the set, Amazon.ca is not stocking it as of October. Amazon.com is the quickest source.