Skip to comments.The summer of Woody Guthrie
Posted on 07/14/2012 7:09:13 AM PDT by ProtectOurFreedom
Woody Guthrie will always be remembered as the guy who wrote "This Land is Your Land."
But he was so much more. If you're not sure why his 100th birthday, which would have been Saturday, is being celebrated far and wide this summer, here's a clue from Country Joe McDonald, the famed Woodstock festival veteran who knows a thing or two about penning catchy protest songs.
"I think he's become the embodiment of the American dream," says the Berkeley musician, "at a time when the American dream is kind of dying." To be sure, those familiar with Guthrie's work know that the protest songs he wrote decades ago about workers' rights, immigrants, income disparity and the environment seem more relevant than ever.
"Woody was writing about the '1 percent' long before it had a name," says UC Berkeley professor Peter Glazer, who has written a stage musical about Guthrie.
Guthrie, who died at age 55 of Huntington's disease in 1967, captured an era in American history like no other songwriter. His humbly poetic lyrics, which portrayed the Everyman perspective of the Dust Bowl and Great Depression, profoundly influenced generations of protest songwriters, from Bob Dylan to Bruce Springsteen to the Bay Area's own Joan Baez and Michael Franti.
That influence extends beyond American shores, McDonald points out: "People all over the world love Woody Guthrie."
(Excerpt) Read more at mercurynews.com ...
Even Wikipedia doesn't hide it...
[In the 1930s,] while appearing on the commercial radio station KFVD, owned by a populist-minded New Deal Democrat Frank W. Burke, Guthrie began to write and perform some of the protest songs that would eventually appear on Dust Bowl Ballads.
It was at KFVD that Guthrie met newscaster Ed Robbin. Robbin was impressed with a song Guthrie wrote about Thomas Mooney, believed by many to be a wrongly convicted man who was, at the time, a leftist cause célèbre. Robbin, who became Guthrie's political mentor, introduced Guthrie to socialists and communists in Southern California, including Will Geer. He remained Guthrie's lifelong friend, and helped Guthrie book benefit performances in the communist circles in Southern California. Notwithstanding Guthrie's later claim that "the best thing that I did in 1936 was to sign up with the Communist Party,"he was never a member of the Party. He was noted as a fellow traveleran outsider who agreed with the platform of the party while not subject to party discipline. Guthrie requested to write a column for the Communist newspaper, The Daily Worker. The column, titled "Woody Sez," appeared a total of 174 times from May 1939 to January 1940. "Woody Sez" was not explicitly political, but was about current events as observed by Guthrie. He wrote the columns in an exaggerated hillbilly dialect and usually included a small comic; they were published as a collection after Guthrie's death. Steve Earle said of Guthrie, "I don't think of Woody Guthrie as a political writer. He was a writer who lived in very political times."
With the outbreak of World War II and the nonaggression pact the Soviet Union had signed with Germany in 1939, the owners of KFVD radio did not want its staff "spinning apologia" for the Soviet Union. Both Robbin and Guthrie left the station.
“This land is your land
This land is my land
Looks like somebody
Forged the deed to this land”
- Dave Barry
No, Woody, this land is NOT your land. Because you’re not content to let it be MY land as well. You and your thieving communist ilk steal what I own and hand it over to others in the name of “equality” and “compassion.”
Woody was a good-ole-communist boy whose gift to us is still kicking.
My late wife’s Great Uncle grew up with Guthrie. They were from the same town and I assume, went to the same high school. They were also the same age.
One day at a family get-together, one guy was asking him about Woody. I happened to hear when he asked what kind of guy he was.
Well the Uncle paused and thought for just a minute and said: “I guess the best way to describe him, is he was just plain sorry”.
His politics were despicable, but his influence on music was undeniable. His children’s music (”Let’s go riding in the car”) holds up pretty well. “Roll on Columbia” is a nice celebration of progress, although he just wrote the words there and not the tune.
Virtually every warbler in those days who called him or herself a folksinger was most likely a commie. Naturally, that fact was covered up by their fellow travelers in the media. That covering also applied to helping commie writers and “news” people. I remember Dick Cavett interviewing I.F. Stone in the sixties on Cavett’s show. At no time did Cavett mention Stone’s communist affiliation. All old commie writers and folksingers were described as having a “progressive” stand or being fighters for truth and justice. I did read one time Pete Seeger said Guthrie officially refused to join or was denied membership in the Party because he refused to deny the existence of God. At any rate, official commie member or not, Guthrie was far left in his political beliefs.
He wrote “This Land is Your Land” because he hated “God Bless America”.
As I was walkin' - I saw a sign there
And that sign said - no tress passin'
But on the other side .... it didn't say nothin!
Now that side was made for you and me!
Google's home page for the 4th of July consisted of "Google" in red/blue created by the words "This land is made for you and me" and a cartoon guitar.
That's right. No patriotism; just a communist song by an American communist.
The only people who used the word “fascist” were commies. It was their default word for anyone who wasn’t them.
Well,however misguided Guthrie might have been in general you must,at least,give him credit for that.
Wikipedia citation above says something similar:
“Notwithstanding Guthrie’s later claim that “the best thing that I did in 1936 was to sign up with the Communist Party,” he was never a member of the Party. He was noted as a fellow traveleran outsider who agreed with the platform of the party while not subject to party discipline.”
...but note that Guthrie’s later claim that he WAS a member. Who ya gonna believe? The man himself? Or a biographer? Maybe he was like Obama, just polishing up his street cred?
Many of the commies refused to join the Party because the Party was under the control of the USSR. When WW2 started, Germany and the Soviets were allies and the Party was anti-war, which appealed to the little c communists. When Germany invaded the USSR, the Party flipped and demanded the US get into the war. The little c communists walked out on them.
The Party was rife with the perennially unemployed and red diaper trust fund kids. In short, people who lived a life devoted to doing nothing but drawing attention to themselves and playing the victim. That’s why the Party faltered.
The thing that bugs me most about these ‘sons of the working class’ is that they’re not working class. Sure, they like to wear jeans and talk folksy, but their ideals and bank accounts speak otherwise. There is nothing a leftist likes to do more than wrap themselves in the sweat staing clothes of the working class. Well, that is when they’re not wearing the flag or talking like black folks.
Guthrie was a communist and I toss Springsteen into a nearby pot because he is no Patriot who respects the US values that have made him a multi-millionaire. Bruce S. is a POS!
“He had a guitar that had the words this machine kills fascists on it.OK,fair enough. But there was plenty of room to add and Communists. For some reason he failed to include *those* words.”
Guthrie was an out-and-out communist, that’s why.
Probably moreso than his contemporary, Pete Seeger, who himself garnered a lot of attention over his life for being one.
Pete once made a remark that Guthrie might have attained national stardom, but the fact that Woody was a communist precluded that from happening.
Regardless of their political beliefs, I still enjoy listening to both of them, so long as they don’t “lay it on too thick”...
That outfit was the typical garb of a merchant seaman during WWII. Well, maybe a black watch cap instead of the one he was wearing.