Ithaca Blog

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Woody Guthrie, 100 Years

This Saturday, 14 July, is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Woody Guthrie, the great American musician, songwriter, and political activist.

It's an apt time to be thinking about Woody. He wrote songs like "This Land Is Your Land", "Deportee (Plane Wreck At Los Gatos)", and hundreds of others about economic and social injustice in America.

He would have plenty to write about today.

The mortgage crisis? The Wall Street collapse? Woody wrote these lines in his song, "Pretty Boy Floyd":

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

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

Bob Dylan wanted to be Woody Guthrie, or be as great as him, which was not possible, for Bob Dylan nor for anyone. But everyone can learn from Woody Guthrie.

There is a fine website about Woody, It starts with these words of Woody's:

A folk song is what's wrong and how to fix it or what could be
who's hungry and where their mouth is or
who's out of work and where the job is or
who's broke and where the money is or
who's carrying a gun and where the peace is. 

Woody Guthrie, born 14 July 1912, Okemah, Oklahoma, died 3 October 1967, New York City, New York.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

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