Woody Guthrie’s Centennary- July 14 2012


Woody NYC  circa 1940-

Woody NYC circa 1940-


Jul 14 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Woody Guthrie. He only was alive for 55 of those 100 years and he was Hospital Bound for the last 15 years of his Life. He lived more in those 40 years than any 1000 people. The hundreds or thousands of songs that he wrote are with us forever. Not in any sense of hagiography but in the sense that Woody was a human being with strengths frailties faults and such. Poetically, he’s up there with Shakespeare. Listen To The Grand Coulee Dam

In the misty crystal glitter of that wild and wind ward spray,
Men have fought the pounding waters and met a watery grave,
Well, she tore their boats to splinters but she gave men dreams to dream
Of the day the Coulee Dam would cross that wild and wasted stream.

Maybe the day of the topical song or chronicle is over, I don’t know.We sure could use them now more than ever. I do know that Woody chronicled what he saw good bad funny and sad.
He was for the underdog. Never a popular position.
As He wrote-

I hate a song that makes you think that you are just born to lose. Bound to lose. No good to nobody. No good for nothing. Because you are too old or too young or too fat or too slim too ugly or too this or too that. Songs that run you down or poke fun at you on account of your bad luck or hard traveling.

I am out to fight those songs to my very last breath of air and my last drop of blood. I am out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world and that if it has hit you pretty hard and knocked you for a dozen loops, no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built, I am out to sing the songs that make you take pride in yourself and in your work.

And the songs that I sing are made up for the most part by all sorts of folks just about like you.”

We got a lot from Woody but most of all it was a moral imperative, seemingly lost in these days of globalisation facebook and no more community round the corner. Stand up to a bully, talk to someone lonesome and share share share. That’s what I get from Mr Guthrie. If we all do a little bit more than our fair share we all come out winners
It ain’t something that pays off,it’ll often hit you back and knock you eight ways to Sunday. But it’s the right thing to do.
Roll Sweetly though Eternity Woody Guthrie. You made a difference and I wrote a very poor hommage but times is hard here Woody.
Say Hi to Cisco Houston
yr pal campbell
bouncing through this lopsided world like a well intentioned hard luck pinball
Hey Wait !f you want to read a great book (a spiffing good ripping tale in UK) read Jim Lohngi’s book about Woody Cisco Houston and Him In the Merchant Marine
Under rubric of full disclosure I never really ‘got’ Woody till one weekend in 1970 when i was stuck in the country with nothing but an empty hash pipe a copy of Naked Came the Stranger and A record by Woody singing about the Columbia river.It didn’t change the course of my life, I was already headed that way but it sure made me feel I wasn’t alone. Anyone or anything that makes you feel you aren’t alone in this that or whatever you feel alone is good. Trust Me on This-

Books to Read- Jim Longhi Woody Cisco and Me
Records-Smithsonian Folkways-Dive in Here

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5 Comments on “Woody Guthrie’s Centennary- July 14 2012”

  1. campbie Says:

    Hey Campbell- not yr 6best bit of writing but I guess it’s sincere and that may or may not count in etertnity

  2. ruth Says:

    Well written and interesting.

  3. Sybilla Says:

    I concur, very well written and mighty interesting. Soothing too. We’re all alone together.

    Will check out that book right before I’ve finished the pile next to me! Four weeks of holidays ahead so plenty of time 🙂


  4. […] Woody Guthrie’s Centennary- July 14 2012 (campbellpost.wordpress.com) Share this:EmailFacebookPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. By Martin • Posted in Uncategorized 0 […]


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