Woody Guthrie defined an era and culture in transition in his Dust Bowl ballads, his outlaw tales, his work and labor songs, antiwar songs, children's songs, political songs, and a host of love songs and songs that touched on philosophy, geography, and the hard work of living day to day in an emerging industrial world. He was kind of a maverick troubadour beat journalist, writing and drawing constantly, and new poems, writings, drawings, and even previously unknown songs and recordings have kept turning up even a decade into the 21st century. Smithsonian Folkways, to honor the centennial year of Guthrie's birth in 2012, has issued this three-disc set of Guthrie's songs housed in a beautiful 150-page hard-cover coffee-table book full of essays, letters, text, photos, drawings, and other Guthrie ephemera, including rare, previously unreleased recordings of Guthrie's earliest material, made in 1937 when he was working for a radio station in Los Angeles. Guthrie was not a simple man, and he was driven by energies and demons that often even he didn't understand, but he persisted, pushing himself across every possible creative medium of the times, and his life's work, which begins with his songs (but covers so much more, including an iconic autobiography that was later turned into a movie), made him into one of the most important and vital American artists of the 20th century. That story is presented here in this wonderful set.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2
feat: Cisco Houston
Track Listing - Disc 3
Radio Program: The Ballad Gazette with Woody Guthrie (This Land Is Your Land/What Did The Deep Sea Say?/Blow Ye Winds/Trouble on the Waters/Blow the Man Down/Normandy Was Her Name/The Sinking of the Reuben James