Woody Guthrie

This Land Is Your Land: An All American Children's Folk Classic

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In the early '90s, the remaining Guthrie children and producer Frank Fuchs were lamenting the fact that there were generations of kids growing up without the benefit of Woody Guthrie's goofy wordplay and sly education so perfectly combined in his more playful songs. Inspired, they decided to re-record or add to existing recordings of Woody's music and set this new collaboration to animation for This Land Is Your Land: The Animated Kids' Songs of Woody Guthrie. The result is a mixed bag of musical ideas -- since the production team augmented recordings from the '40s and '50s with super-clean acoustic guitar and accordion/flute/saxophone and even Native American percussion, it is clearly evident where the archival recordings end and the new ones begin. This juxtaposition probably won't make a lick of difference to the kids who the recording is intended for, but any folk purists out there will certainly cringe at the syrupy-sweet production layered atop these beautifully gritty old recordings. While there is nothing really wrong with the record, listeners who want to expose their children to the wonder of either performer's music might be better off with Woody's Nursery Days on Smithsonian/Folkways Records, or Arlo's Precious Friend collaborations with Pete Seeger.

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