June 6, 2013 § 1 Comment
On Bruce Springsteen’s “Live 1975-1985” album ( a fantastic album by the way) he mentions a book by “Joe Klein” about Woody Guthrie and that “This land Is Your Land” was written “as an angry song as an answer to Irving Berlin who had just written God Bless America”. Now this didn’t make any sense to me at the time as I didn’t recall anyone else stating this before neither in school or since I had graduated. I chalked it up to just being an opinion that Klein and Springsteen shared and only thought about it whenever I was listening to the album, as this was a frequent occurrence though I eventually did a little internet search but never found anything that really substantiated this claim and regretfully I never got around to checking out the book in question either.
Fast Forward a decade or so and I am at work and I ask the girl I am working with what she is listening to which turned out to be “The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band” another band I am very fond of so I downloaded one of their Greatest Hits albums to my phone on break and was listening to it when it played “Working Man- Nowhere to Go”. A song about a farmer who looses his farm and in general about many working people who lost their jobs and how it affected them. Toward the end of the song the farmer says these lines”Singing a song by Woody Guthrie This land is your land; it ain’t my land I’m a workin’ man, with nowhere to go”. This reminded me of the Springsteen quote and seemed more inline with the idea that Springsteen had mentioned. So I did a search on the quote from “Workin Man…” and ran across this article from the last inauguration ceremony on the “Truthout.org website. http://archive.truthout.org/011909R So it turns out that like many things over the course of history “This land is your land” was edited to make it more friendly to the masses and less of a critique of the problems in our country. Gives the song a whole new feel and flavor. So my quest for the truth about this song started with a taping of one Springsteen concert and ended with the taping of another Springsteen concert just a a few:) years later. History through music. What a concept, But Hey Bruce, you know all of this would have been a heck of a lot easier if you had simply played the full song all those years ago:)
Today’s Trivia Question.
What was Woody Guthrie s nickname?
Peace out everyone.