Woody Guthrie

Bonneville Dam and Other Columbia River Songs

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With Woody Guthrie's growing popularity during the folk boom in the 1960s, Verve Records, a subsidiary of the mini major MGM Records, entered into a manufacturing and distribution deal with the tiny independent Folkways Records, the repository of the bulk of Guthrie's recordings, briefly creating Verve/Folkways Records, for which Folkways owner Moses Asch assembled several albums by Guthrie and others. One of the Guthrie titles, released in 1965, was Bonneville Dam and Other Columbia River Songs. In 1941, Guthrie had famously written a series of songs promoting the Bonneville Power Administration and its harnessing of the Columbia River along the border of Oregon and Washington State to provide electricity for the region, songs like "The Grand Coulee Dam." Asch combined some of his recordings of these songs with other Guthrie titles, notably his best-known song, "This Land Is Your Land." The result was a nine-song collection running only 21-and-a-half minutes, not a complete representation of the Columbia River material or a thorough best-of. When the Verve deal ran out, Asch reissued the album on Folkways in 1967, just after Guthrie's death, under the title This Land Is Your Land.

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