Woody Guthrie was born 91 years ago today, July 14, 1912.
Besides just generally being a legendary personnae, he wrote surely the greatest commie patriotic anthem ever, “This Land Is Your Land.”
I’ve always been a little skeptical of the guy, actually. Call it right wing extremism (which it may be), but I’ve tended to think of Woody as politically motivated more by resentment against the wealthy and powerful than by any overwhelming sympathy for the poor and downtrodden. The song “Jolly Banker” jumped out at me in this regard. It’s a jaunty little Clementine-ish ditty about a banker savoring the chance to make poor people suffer. Nothing to do with empathy for the poor, everything to do with spite for the evil banker.
Commie bastard though he may have been, he was one songwriting SOB, and a brilliant self-mythologizer. That aspect alone has been of great importance to the rock generations following.
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