Happy 100th Birthday, Woody Guthrie.

Via Lindsey Block
on Jul 14, 2012
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16 Woody Guthrie Quotes & Videos to inspire:

Woody’s prolific repertoire includes over 3,000 songs such as “This Land Is Your Land,” “Red Wine,” “Jesus Christ,” “Pastures of Plenty,” and “Do-Re-Me.” In Guthrie’s autobiography, Bound For Glory, Pete Seeger said, “His songs are deceptively simple. Only after they have become part of your life do you realize how great they are. Any damn fool can get complicated. It takes genius to attain simplicity.” Guthrie wrote and performed a wide variety of songs: cowboy serenades, mountain ballads, religious music, hymns, blues, traditional songs, work chants, and songs of protest. He sang about love and war, natural disasters, fascism, and injustice. He even made songs for children. Woody played guitar, harmonica, and fiddle, recorded hundreds of songs, and appeared on stage and radio. His work influenced a generation of artists like Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Jack Kerouac, Phil Ochs, Arlo Guthrie, Tom Paxton, The Kingston Trio, Peter Paul and Mary, and many others.

An artist who wore many hats, Guthrie was a journalist, activist, entertainer, poet, painter, bohemian, political subversive, and American hero. He studied science, economics, politics, and religion; wrote four novels and a column for the Communist Daily Worker; and played at political rallies and workers’ strikes. Guthrie sang about the struggles of the nation’s displaced, disenfranchised, overworked, and underpaid people. A traveling hobo who drifted across the country, Guthrie acquired down-to-earth wisdom from his experiences, which he used to help shape the social consciousness of American culture… Via TheMomi.org

“I am out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world and that if it has hit you pretty hard and knocked you for a dozen loops, no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built, I am out to sing the songs that make you take pride in yourself and in your work. And the songs that I sing are made up for the most part by all sorts of folks just about like you.”

“Life has got a habit of not standing hitched. You got to ride it like you find it. You got to change with it. If a day goes by that don’t change some of your old notions for new ones, that is just about like trying to milk a dead cow.”

“My eyes has been my camera taking pictures of the world and my songs has been my messages that I tried to scatter across the back sides and along the steps of the fire escapes and on the window sills and through the dark halls…”

“This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright #154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ours, cause we don’t give a darn. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that’s all we wanted to do.”

“The note of hope is the only note that can help us or save us from falling to the bottom of the heap of evolution, because, largely, about all a human being is, anyway, is just a hoping machine, a working machine, and any song that says, the pleasures I have seen in all of my trouble, are the things I never can get—don’t worry—the human race will sing this way as long as there is a human to race.”

“I hate a song that makes you think that you are not any good. I hate a song that makes you think that you are just born to lose. Bound to lose. No good to nobody. No good for nothing. Because you are too old or too young or too fat or too slim or too ugly or too this or too that.”

“I have hoped as many hopes and dreamed so many dreams, seen them swept aside by weather, and blown away by men, washed away in my own mistakes, that—I use to wonder if it wouldn’t be better just to haul off and quit hoping. Just protect my own inner brain, my own mind and heart, by drawing it up into a hard knot, and not having any more hopes or dreams at all. Pull in my feelings, and call back all of my sentiments—and not let any earthly event move me in either direction, either cause me to hate, to fear, to love, to care, to take sides, to argue the matter at all—and, yet…there are certain good times, and pleasures that I never can forget, no matter how much I want to, because the pleasures, and the displeasures, the good times and the bad, are really all there is to me.

And these pleasures that you cannot ever forget are the yeast that always starts working in your mind again, and it gets in your thoughts again, and in your eyes again, and then, all at once, no matter what has happened to you, you are building a brand new world again, based and built on the mistakes, the wreck, the hard luck and trouble of the old one.”

“Let me be known as just the man that told you something you already knew.”

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About Lindsey Block

Lindsey Block spends her weekdays as part of the Elephant Journal crew and her weekends hiking or picnicking at the park with a book. She’s been a vegetarian for most of her adult life and delights in cooking up a new recipe (even though she really just wants to make tacos). She currently lives in Southern California.


One Response to “Happy 100th Birthday, Woody Guthrie.”

  1. Well done, Lindsey.

    I sang Woodie Guthrie's songs as a high school folk-singer in the mid-sixties, before I got into flamenco.

    Bob W. Associate Publisher
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