Monday, June 9, 2008

I Should Have Mentioned Woody Guthrie As I Paid Tribute to Utah Phillips

I put up the first two videos because they are reportedly the only surviving footage of Woody Guthrie. The last one I included because it's lots of fun -- images of Woody juxtaposed with scenes from New Orleans and some hokey effects. Of course, Woody and Utah were balladeers of freedom, if you will, but I won't tire you with that.
``Ranger's Command:''

This one has Woody singing ``John Henry'' with Sonny Terry (harmonica) and Brownie McGhee (guitar). Sharing anecdotes are Alan Lomax, the great folklorist who discovered Guthrie, Leadbelly and Muddy Waters, and recorded an international compendium of folk music and dance, and Ronnie Gilbert, who was a member of the Weavers with Pete Seeger, Fred Hellerman and Lee Hayes. Guthrie recorded a lot with Leadbelly and with Terry. Before that I had concluded that black and white folk and blues musicians never recorded together. This is apparently a British documentary. Those Americans and their folk culture. Turns out Arthur Stern was in the Almanac Singers.

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