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Larry Long

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Contemporary singer and songwriter Larry Long had a mission: to take Woody Guthrie's music back to the Dust Bowl balladeer's hometown. Okemah, Oklahoma had spent about 40 years with its jaw set against its most famous native son. Decent folk there called him a Communist and said a determined "NO" when the Guthrie family proposed a kind of museum at the decaying hometown back in the '70s. "It would just attract hippies," said the decent folk who knew this Woody was just trouble. Long's gentle subversion was to teach Guthrie's songs to the kids of Okemah and encourage them to make up their own songs in Guthrie's kid-friendly idiom. The results were recorded at a local theater by the Flying Fish label, and henceforth Okemah's water tower proudly proclaimed the town as "Home of Woody Guthrie." Long's releases have included 1988's It Takes a Lot of People..., 1992's Troubadour, 1996's Here I Stand, and 2000's Well May the World Go. In 2006 Long produced the singalong CD I Will Be Your Friend: Songs and Activities for Young Peacemakers, distributed free of charge to schools and other organizations through the Teaching Tolerance project of the Southern Poverty Law Center. He returned with his album Don't Stand Still on the Cereus Records label in 2011. ~ Mark A. Humphrey

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Years Active:

'80s, '90s, '00s, '10s