Sunday, October 3, 2010

Oct. 3: Folk legend Woody Guthrie died on this date in 1967.

He died from  complications from Huntington’s disease at the age of 55.

Woodrow Wilson "Woody" Guthrie's was born in Okemah, a small town in Okfuskee County, Oklahoma. He is best known as an American singer-songwriter and folk musician, whose musical legacy includes hundreds of political, traditional and children's songs, ballads and improvised works.

Woody often wrote about the plight of the migrant worker which he learned about first-hand as he traveled among them throughout the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression. 

Many of his recorded songs are archived in the Library of Congress. His best-known song is "This Land Is Your Land," which is regularly sung in American schools. Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs and Tom Paxton have said Woody was a major influence on their careers.

(Follow links below to view You Tube Videos:)

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the American Folk Revival was beginning to take place, focused on the issues of the day, such as the civil rights movement and free speech movement. Pockets of folk singers were forming around the country in places such as Cambridge, Massachusetts and the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City.

My Dusty RoadWoody Guthrie: A LifeThe Asch Recordings, Vol. 1-4

One of Guthrie's visitors at Greystone Park was 19-year-old Bob Dylan. Dylan wrote of Guthrie's repertoire: "The songs themselves were really beyond category. They had the infinite sweep of humanity in them."

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