Woody Guthrie: American Radical Patriot

Album review
Woody Guthrie: American Radical Patriot

Woody Guthrie

American Radical Patriot

Label: Rounder
Media: CD
Genre: Rock/pop

This lavish seven-disc box set gathers85 songs plus conversations between singer/songwriter Woody Guthrie and historian Alan Lomax (appearing here for the first time in their unedited form). Recorded in 1940 at the Department of the Interior studios, these talks find the then-youthful Guthrie, just 27, chatting about life, music, and politics. Producer Nora Guthrie, Woody’s daughter and the keeper of his legacy, has focused on her father’s relationship with the U.S. government; a companion DVD collects songs written while Woody worked for the Bonneville Power Administration. In addition to many of Guthrie’s bestknown songs are World War II-era radio skits for the Office of War Information and a 78rpm recording of Bob Dylan singing Guthrie’s late 1940s public-health warning “VD City” (backed by Guthrie’s own previously unreleased recording of “The Biggest Thing That Man Has Ever Done,” an ode to working men and women). Bill Nowlin wrote the 60-page booklet (part of a 258-page downloadable PDF), and the set’s hardbound portfolio is packed with previously unpublished photos, many of Guthrie’s own drawings. The result is a complex portrait of a principled folk-music icon who blazed a trail for the folk, roots, and Americana movements.

More Info

  • primary artist, Woody Guthrie

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