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Woody Guthrie on film
September 2, 2014 7:10 AM   Subscribe

Here are three short clips of Woody Guthrie singing. There are not many extant:
Woody from 1945, singing Ranger's Command.
Woody, Brownie McGee, & Sonny Terry singing John Henry.
Woody singing Greenback Dollar in a 1947 film from Pete Seeger. (The John Henry clip repeats here.)
Pete Seeger talking about Woody Guthrie.
posted by OmieWise (5 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
I love Ranger's Command, finding it first, as many my age did, through the versions by Joan Baez and Ramblin' Jack Elliott. It has an interesting history. So this is a find.

I have found this the song I sing when walking across University Bridge, being one of those types who sings when walking across bridges.
posted by y2karl at 7:51 AM on September 2


You can either go to the church of your choice
Or you can go to Brooklyn State Hospital
You'll find God in the church of your choice
You'll find Woody Guthrie in Brooklyn State Hospital

posted by bukvich at 8:24 AM on September 2


In OmieWise's last link, Pete Seeger says that after Woody finally got around to recording it in 1944, four years after he wrote it more or less as an antidote to things he didn't like about "God Bless America" and then promptly put it away and forgot about it, This Land is Your Land was never played on the radio or TV, or recorded by anybody famous, but somehow got into the schools and kids all over the country started singing it.
posted by jamjam at 10:47 AM on September 2


They never gave us this verse in my grade school songbook:

One bright sunny morning in the shadow of the steeple
By the Relief Office I saw my people —
As they stood hungry, I stood there wondering if
This land was made for you and me.

posted by bukvich at 11:57 AM on September 2 [1 favorite]


Wow, I am really stunned that there is so little footage of somebody with such an important and iconic legacy (at least in my mind). By the way, if you're a fan of Woody's and haven't read Seeds Of Man, it's really worth checking out, even if only for the description of the soon-to-be-formerly frigid and dangerous winters of Oklahoma and North Texas.

If only Bob Dylan had recorded any footage of all those times he definitely visited Woody in the hospital that really for sure happened, right?
posted by Dokterrock at 12:48 AM on September 3


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