From sweet and smooth classics, to new names, to old names with new music...the focus here, is to shine a little light on some damn fine music.

I'll find it. You can listen, review, or tell me I wouldn't know good music if it kicked me in the ass. I personally don't give a shit.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Celebrating 100 Years: Woody Guthrie

Ten days ago, this country celebrated her independence. One hundred years ago today, one of America's finest songwriters was born. The connection between the two is unbreakable.

Woody Guthrie was born on July 14, 1912 and died October 3, 1967. His life was remarkable, controversial and worthwhile.

"This land is your land, this land is my land
From California, to the New York Island
From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me"

From the time of his early life on the road traveling with migrant workers, Guthrie looked at the inequality between classes and spoke out against it. Nowhere is that more evident than in "This Land Is Your Land."

"As I was walking a ribbon of highway
I saw above me an endless skyway
I saw below me a golden valley
This land was made for you and me"

His politic views on communism, at times made him unemployable, though his fierce devotion to his country was never in question. His life was marred by family tragedies, a wandering lifestyle and the acknowledgement of being one of the greatest writers to chronicle the saga of the common man.

"I've roamed and rambled and I've followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
And all around me a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me"

His most recognizable song, the quintessential Americana anthem, This Land Is Your Land," was written in direct response to "God Bless America" which he detested.

"The sun comes shining as I was strolling
The wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
The fog was lifting a voice come chanting
This land was made for you and me"

Throughout the years, verses of the song have been included or omitted. Words have been changed, as well as the order of the verses. Whatever version of the song you hear, the message remains the same.

"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!"

Over the years, this song has been recorded and sung live by more musicians than you can count. On the 4th of July, this blog included a link to a Springsteen version recorded as the finale to SXSW 2012. To me, it is one of the most inspiration versions out there.

"In the squares of the city - In the shadow of the steeple
Near the relief office - I see my people
And some are grumblin' and some are wonderin'
If this land's still made for you and me."

100 Years after his birth, Woody Guthrie is still relevant, admired, and on this day...remembered.

"This Land Is Your Land"   by Woody Guthrie

Happy Birthday Woody.


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