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Posts Tagged ‘1944’

At number 28 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest songwriters is Woody Guthrie. I wonder how many of you reading this, particularly non-Americans, have heard of Woody Guthrie? I first heard of him when I became interested in Bob Dylan; he was a hero of the young Dylan and, in fact, Dylan wrote a song of tribute to him on his first album, “Song for Woody”.

Guthrie was born in Oklahoma in 1912, and so lived through the depression of the 1930s in a state which was particularly blighted by the depression and the ‘dust-bowl’. This led to thousands of farmers and their families from Oklahoma leaving for California (this story is the basis of John Steinbeck’s wonderful novel The Grapes of Wrath). Living through these dismal years had a long-lasting effect on Guthrie, and he spent a career as a folk-singer and activist championing the rights of downtrodden people.



At number 28 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 100 greatest songwriters of all time is Woody Guthrie.

At number 28 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest songwriters of all time is Woody Guthrie.



Probably Guthrie’s best known song is “This Land is Our Land”, a song which has been translated into many languages, including into Welsh. Guthrie wrote this song in 1940, basing the lyrics to fit with an existing melody. He then altered the lyrics in 1944, which is when he first recorded it, and it was released in 1945. You can read more about the two different versions of the song here on its Wikipedia page.


This land is your land This land is my land
From California to the New York island;
From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and Me.

As I was walking that ribbon of highway,
I saw above me that endless skyway:
I saw below me that golden valley:
This land was made for you and me.

I’ve roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts;
And all around me a voice was sounding:
This land was made for you and me.

When the sun came shining, and I was strolling,
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling,
As the fog was lifting a voice was chanting:
This land was made for you and me.

As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.




Here is a video of Guthrie performing this song. Enjoy!




Which is your favourite Woody Guthrie song?

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