That's a good question and probably a good thread even if we have run it before. The subject of who stole what and how much has come up in threads where the title doesn't reflect the bulk of the discussion and that's a typical Mudcat "happening." Thread creep is a way of life here.....I mean, look at this thread!!!(:<))
Most people would probably say its Woody and Woody would probably have agreed. Not the exact quote, but Woody said that he stole tunes from everybody and wherever he could! A lot of Dylan's stuff was a little more surrepticious, or at least seems that way to an awful lot of people. We have these discussions as to whether that was Bob's doing or someone else's and that leads to long harangues about copyright law and yada, yada, yada..........I think we had one period where it seemed the subject was coming up on every thread for awhile!!!
Whatever the case, both men were excellent wordsmiths. Guthrie wrote about his times and current events in a manner and style that was straightforward and to the point. Dylan wrote about his times too, but often in symbolic terms which were very popular then. A lot of Bob's later stuff is better to me in that respect, although I don't mind the symbolism either. I guess at times Woody let the symbolism of the event or circumstance speak for itself and told the tale straight out and Bob was more comfortable with the parable relating to some event/circumstance.
Look at this song here...Hard Rain. What you and I think its about may be far different, but its a wonderful piece of writing. On the other hand, we both would know exactly what "1913" or "Plane Wreck at Los Gatos" is about but that doesn't deter them from being powerful songs also.
Start a thread and see what you get on the subject. We've got lots of newer members that I'm sure would like to have a shot at the subject!!!!