Monday, May 21, 2012

The 27 Greatest Woody Guthrie Songs (One CD)


By Dave Armstrong 

I've been wanting to put this collection together for many years. Anyone who wants to understand American folk music, the dust bowl, the folk revival of the 50s and 60s, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, the 1930s and the Great Depression, the political liberalism and unionism of two or three generations ago, the hobo phenomenon, the "Okie Migrations," and singer-songwriters in general, will need to listen to and appreciate Woody Guthrie (1912-1967).

Here are what I consider his best songs in their superior and best-sounding versions: all available on albums from 1997 or later. The sound on all these particular recordings / remasters, is excellent (especially considering how old the originals are); the only exception being #27, which is a little "scratchy" -- but not all that bad (and who doesn't love the old "crackling vinyl" sound once in a while, for old time's sake?!). They fit on one CD, clocking in at around 78 minutes:

1. So Long, It's Been Good to Know Ya (recorded on 26 April 1940)

2. Do Re Mi (26 April 1940)

3. Blowin' Down the Road (26 April 1940)

4. I Ain't Got No Home (26 April 1940)

5. Dust Storm Disaster (26 April 1940)

6. Pretty Boy Floyd (26 April 1940)

7. Dust Bowl Refugee (26 April 1940)

8. Tom Joad (26 April 1940)

9. Dust Bowl Blues (26 April 1940)

10. Vigilante Man (26 April 1940)

11. Talking Dust Bowl Blues (26 April 1940)

12. Dust Pneumonia Blues (3 May 1940)

13. Hard Ain't it Hard (16 April 1944)

14. Philadelphia Lawyer (19 April 1944)

15. Grand Coulee Dam (19 April 1944)

16. The Great Historical Bum (19 April 1944)

17. Worried Man Blues (19 April 1944)

18. What Are We Waiting On? (19 April 1944)

19. This Land is Your Land (25 April 1944)

20. Hobo's Lullaby (25 April 1944)

21. Jesus Christ (25 April 1944)

22. 1913 Massacre (24 May 1945)

23. Pastures of Plenty (April 1947)

24. Ramblin' Round (April 1947)

25. Hard Travelin' (1947)

26. Oregon Trail (1947)

27. Roll On, Columbia (1947)


Album Information:

1-12 Dust Bowl Ballads (2000)

13-15, 17-19, 21 My Dusty Road (box set: 2009)

16, 20, 23-24 This Land is Your Land: The Asch Recordings, Vol. 1 (1997)

22, 25-26 Hard Travelin': The Asch Recordings, Vol. 3 (1998)

27 Columbia River Collection (download, 2011)


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