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Woody At 100: The Woody Guthrie Centennial Collection

Woody Guthrie

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Album Review

Woody Guthrie defined an era and culture in transition in his Dust Bowl ballads, his outlaw tales, his work and labor songs, antiwar songs, children's songs, political songs, and a host of love songs and songs that touched on philosophy, geography, and the hard work of living day to day in an emerging industrial world. He was kind of a maverick troubadour beat journalist, writing and drawing constantly, and new poems, writings, drawings, and even previously unknown songs and recordings have kept turning up even a decade into the 21st century. Smithsonian Folkways, to honor the centennial year of Guthrie's birth in 2012, has issued this three-disc set of Guthrie's songs housed in a beautiful 150-page hard-cover coffee-table book full of essays, letters, text, photos, drawings, and other Guthrie ephemera, including rare, previously unreleased recordings of Guthrie's earliest material, made in 1937 when he was working for a radio station in Los Angeles. Guthrie was not a simple man, and he was driven by energies and demons that often even he didn't understand, but he persisted, pushing himself across every possible creative medium of the times, and his life's work, which begins with his songs (but covers so much more, including an iconic autobiography that was later turned into a movie), made him into one of the most important and vital American artists of the 20th century. That story is presented here in this wonderful set.

Biography

Born: 14 July 1912 in Okemah, OK

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s

Woody Guthrie was the most important American folk music artist of the first half of the 20th century, in part because he turned out to be such a major influence on the popular music of the second half of the 20th century, a period when he himself was largely inactive. His greatest significance lies in his songwriting, beginning with the standard "This Land Is Your Land" and including such much-covered works as "Deportee," "Do Re Mi," "Grand Coulee Dam," "Hard, Ain't It Hard," "Hard Travelin'," "I...
Full bio