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Woody GUTHRIE (1912-1967)
Woody Guthrie ‘Pastures of Plenty’.
Original recordings 1940-1947
NAXOS FOLK LEGENDS 8.120742 [56’36]



Crotchet Budget price

Talking Dust Bowl Blues
Blowin' Down This Road
Do Re Mi
Tom Joad
Dusty Old Dust (So Long It's Been Good To Know Yuh)
Talking Sailor
Grand Coulee Dam
Gypsy Davy
Jesus Christ
New York Town
Who’s Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Feet
Mule Skinner Blues
Biggest Thing Man Has Ever Done
Ludlow Massacre
1913 Massacre
This Land Is Your Land
Pastures Of Plenty
Ramblin' Blues
Talking Columbia Blues
Recorded 1940-47

"It’s a mighty hard road that my poor hands have hoed
My poor feet have traveled a hot dusty road
On the edge of your cities you’ll see me and then
I come with the dust and I’m gone with the wind"
Pastures of Plenty

Hearing this disc took me back to a part of my childhood to the days when I would go round to a friend’s house and listen to records of Pete Seeger, Ewen McColl, Big Bill Broonzy, Leadbelly and other greats of the folk/blues world. And, of course, Woody Guthrie. Unusual fare for today’s fourteen year-olds but it probably was then as well.

At the same time, I was discovering classical music as well as the delights of Radio Caroline and I soon left folk music behind. University visits to folk clubs failed to reawaken my interest and the odd encounter with fake ‘Mummerset’ accents and ‘as I was going to …’ twee lyrics of folkies since has reinforced my dislike of the genre. (However, I could easily be caught out in a vulnerable generalisation as I always enjoyed the sharp words of the late Jake Thackray. There is also my taste for a lot of world music which, after all, is probably someone else’s folk music.)

But, "Good mornin’, captain", the first few bars of Mule Skinner Blues and I was right back there in the bedroom of that semi in Haywards Heath as if I had listened to nothing in the meantime. That honest voice (no assumed twang there) singing those strong, thoughtful, heartfelt words of hardship and joy … no need for musical sophistication, for the complex variation of rhythm, pitch and texture that is my normal preference today. The simple strophic, unvaried sequence of narrative verses is enough. No-one with even only the slightest empathy with down-to-earth stories of suffering and hope could fail to respond.

This CD is a fine compilation of famous and less well known songs in clear transfers at the bargain Naxos price. If, (shamefully) like me, you need reminding about one of the giants of American vernacular music, and the issues that motivated him, you must buy this record.

Roger Blackburn

A fine compilation of famous and less well known songs in clear transfers at bargain Naxos price. One of the giants of American vernacular music ... see Full Review

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