The Woody Guthrie Centennial Celebration - This Land is Your Land

The movie version of 'Bound for Glory' was on TCM recently as a follow up to 'The Grapes of Wrath'. Watched them both back to back that night and was left with a feeling of awe and a greater understanding of how, as the saying goes, 'those who fail to learn the lessons of history are bound to repeat them'. The uplifting part being that perhaps we all are, as Woody Guthrie was, bound for the glory of what can be if/when we do finally learn those lessons.

Woody Guthrie was born on July 14th 1912. This coming July would have been his 100th birthday. A centennial celebration of Woody's life and music, headlined by Arlo-his son, and many others will seek to convey some of the emotion that Woody's artistry added to the hopes of so many depression era folks and have continued to inspire us, his fellow travelers, since.

Personally, i met Arlo a few times many years ago [the early 60's] in Stockbridge Mass. where the few young aspiring hippies of Birkshire County traveled in order to feel and touch the movement that was then just begining to change the world. Arlo was part of that early movement and his song/alblum/movie 'Alice's Restaurant' was an early anthem for many of us. Later we all learned that Woody had been a mentor to Bob Dylan and Ramblin Jack Elliot two of the great troubadors of my generation. We all owe Woody Guthrie a great debt for his contribution to the ever evolving Revolution. Thanks Woody!

Woody wrote many excellant verses that will always underlie the spirit of The Mud Report. Below are a couple great ones.

Yes, as through this world I've wandered,
I've seen lots of funny men.
Some will rob you with a six-gun,
And some with a fountain pen.

And as through your life your travel,
Yes, as through your life your roam,
You won't never see an outlaw
Drive a family from their home.

Guthrie traveled with migrant workers from Oklahoma to California and learned traditional folk and blues songs. Many of his songs are about his experiences in the Dust Bowl era during the Great Depression, earning him the nickname the 'Dust Bowl Troubadour' His most famous song was titled 'This Land Is Your Land'. The two verses below from the original song were often omitted in subsequent recordings by some singers.

As I went walking, I saw a sign there,
And on the sign there, It said "no trespassing."
But on the other side, it didn't say nothing!
That side was made for you and me.

In the squares of the city, In the shadow of a steeple;
By the relief office, I'd seen my people.
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking,
Is this land made for you and me?