Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan

Two of our country’s great poets

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In today’s excerpt – in the wake of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, folk singer Woody Guthrie wrote the song “This Land is Your Land,” a satire and protest against what he saw as the unrealistic vision of Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America.”
“Folk music’s hero was, of course, Woody Guthrie. Guthrie led by example, not by precepts, although his charisma and songwriting skills gave him a certain messianic quality. … Musicians simply followed Guthrie. He was a journeyman,
traveling across the United States to learn traditional folk and blues songs, trailing migrant workers from Oklahoma to California. Guthrie’s observations of the economic and environmental hardships of the Dust Bowl era inspired him to write his own lyrics about working people, which he set to traditional
folk music.
“In the late 1950s, growing pools of folksingers in Cambridge and Greenwich Village took Guthrie’s lead and focused on the issues of the day, especially civil rights. Though all these musicians knew and admired Guthrie, the one to seek him out in his declining years at the Greystone Hospital in Morristown, New Jersey, was Bob Dylan. Dylan idolized Guthrie, calling him ‘the true voice of the American Spirit’
Author: Michelle Mercer
Title: Will You Take Me As I Am
Publisher: Free Press
Date: Copyright 2009 by Michelle Mercer
Pages: 34-35

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Published in: on January 5, 2011 at 3:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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