Thursday, July 14, 2011

This Machine Kills Fascists

Woody Guthrie would have been 99 today. Undoubtedly an American legend. My first experience with Woody's legacy was the same as most American elementary school kids with the song This Land is Your Land. But, the version most of us sang when we were little is edited to leave out references to the "dust clouds rollin" and the sign that says "private property". The version we sing in school is a happy song celebrating our country and encouraging us to share our land. And while there's no doubt Woody loved the country he was singing about, his music questioned the intentions and the actions of the people running it. He led an amazing and sometimes tragic life and left a huge imprint on American music.

PS: I couldn't find the track of This Land is your Land that has the verse about the sign that says private property, but here are the lyrics:

There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me;
Sign was painted, it said private property;
But on the back side it didn't say nothin
This land was made for you and me.

It's track 14 on the The Asch Recordings Volume 1, if you're really interested in looking it up.

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