Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Woody at 100: The Woody Guthrie Centennial Collection

"The Smithsonian Institution's 'Woody at 100,' a three-CD boxed set commemorating the centennial of Woody Guthrie’s birth, begins, as it must, with 'This Land Is Your Land,' his most famous song. But instead of the standard, sanitized lyrics taught to schoolchildren as a kind of patriotic bromide, it offers an alternate version with an extra verse that is a biting, defiant and subversive jab at what today would be called the 1 percent. 'Woody at 100' proves to be full of unexpected moments like that, seemingly designed to compel listeners to reassess their image of America’s best-known folk singer. Guthrie’s political side is certainly on display, with his left-wing sentiments in even sharper relief. But what also emerges is the notion of an artist rooted in country music and the blues, capable of writing in any style, from earnest Appalachian ballad to topical broadside, from hillbilly lament to whimsical children’s song. 'I wanted a slightly different take from the way Woody Guthrie is normally painted, as the hobo or urban folk singer,' said Jeff Place, chief archivist at the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and co-producer of the new collection" (Larry Rohter, "'Your Land,' and Guthrie's, Preserved," New York Times, 7/11/12).

View catalog record here!


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