Saturday, July 14, 2012

This land was made for you and me!

Today is a noteworthy anniversary. (M told me if I used a word like noteworthy in this post, I should also say pun intended, so consider it said.)

A hundred years ago today, Woodrow Wilson Guthrie, AKA Woody Guthrie, was born in Okemah, Oklahoma. Before M clued me in, I wouldn't have known Woody Guthrie from Woody Woodpecker. But after I heard a verse or two of "This Land is Your Land," I realized that Mr. Guthrie was one of the greatest folksong writers ever to wander down a dusty highway. As a former hobo, I could really relate to the sentiments of that song (though he wrote many others) and found myself listening to it all morning.

Mr. Woodpecker, on the other hand, is a cartoon bird--but a talented entertainer in his own right.

Let's recap what we know so far. Here's Woody the writer of fine folksongs:

And Woody the cartoon bird:

Another interesting thing I've learned about Woody Guthrie is that he didn't just write and sing great songs. He also had a son, Arlo, who became famous by following in his father's footsteps. M says that in his opinion Woody was the more prolific songwriter, while Arlo is more skilled as a singer and musician. M also points out that our crazy and sometimes malicious tuxedo cat was named for Arlo Guthrie.

Again, to review--Arlo the folksinger/songwriter:

Arlo the psychotic cat:

Woody Guthrie died a long time ago. But we want to wish him a happy hundredth birthday wherever he is. M says he's probably riding that Great Boxcar in the Sky, though I'd think that with all of his success he'd have traded up by now.

Here's a YouTube video of Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land" as sung in concert by his son Arlo. There are many renditions of the song online. But I like this one for several reasons. For one thing, the guitars sound nice and bright. For another, during the song some of Arlo's grandkids jump up on the stage and don't even get yelled at. And last but not least, when they do, it prompts Arlo to stop and tell a story about dogs chasing rabbits. What fun!

(As always, if you prefer the full-size clip at YouTube, click here. And when you have time, be sure to explore the official Woody and Arlo Guthrie websites at the links provided above.)


Anonymous said...

Interesting and entertaining post “noting” the great WG’s 100th. Buddy! Enjoyed the clip of his most famous song.

Thanks also for the links: Love what Woody said re the copyright: “This song is Copyrighted in U.S. ... for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin’ it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ourn, cause we don’t give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that’s all we wanted to do.”

Did a double-take at son AG’s photo! M’s resemblance is startling – could be a cousin or singin’- guitar pickin’ clone!

Batocchio said...

That's a good rendition by Arlo and Co. He's told some different stories with this song in concert, but that one's pretty funny.