Thursday, July 13, 2006

woodyWhy is the past so romanticized? There is no shortage of mossbacks lamenting our current condition and championing the rose-colored thought of yesteryear. Phrases like "they dont make 'em like they used to" or "remember the good old days?" or even "their early stuff was better" lead us to believe we once sat perched at the right hand of Zeus himself and that the first step on the staircase descending Mount Olympus was a doozy. But such nostalgia is unhealthy if taken to heart. Guthrie played a critical role in demystifying the first four decades of the twentieth century. To know his lyrics is to understand America at a glance. Through an acoustic guitar and a nasal delivery we enter an anxious world overflowing with grit and grumble. A world where dust-choked farmers sift baron fields of earth. A world where corporate yes-men burn entire families alive on Christmas Day. A world where genuine heroes become outlaws and genuine outlaws become baby-kissing policy-makers. Guthrie's music is part biography, part poetry and part American history. So, before breaking the spine of your textbook take a listen. No where else is the gory truth so conspicuous, so matter-of-fact or so hummable.

Do Re Mi

Dust Pneumonia Blues

Happy Birthday, Woody.

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