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Woody Guthrie quote?

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JedMarum 25 Aug 99 - 02:16 PM
Rick Fielding 25 Aug 99 - 03:47 PM
Jack (Who is called Jack) 25 Aug 99 - 04:59 PM
Frank Hamilton 26 Aug 99 - 11:50 AM
MK 26 Aug 99 - 12:02 PM
Rick Fielding 26 Aug 99 - 12:19 PM
Doctor John 26 Aug 99 - 01:11 PM
Frank of Toledo 26 Aug 99 - 01:12 PM
JedMarum 26 Aug 99 - 02:29 PM
Peter T. 26 Aug 99 - 03:53 PM
Chet W. 26 Aug 99 - 04:42 PM
Frank Hamilton 26 Aug 99 - 05:02 PM
Mudjack 27 Aug 99 - 12:26 PM
SandyBob 27 Aug 99 - 01:02 PM
Frank Hamilton 27 Aug 99 - 05:52 PM
Doctor John 28 Aug 99 - 02:00 AM
Mudjack 28 Aug 99 - 02:45 PM
Frank Hamilton 28 Aug 99 - 03:35 PM
Johnhenry'shammer 04 Dec 06 - 10:19 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 04 Dec 06 - 11:16 PM
GUEST 02 Sep 10 - 03:50 PM
Art Thieme 02 Sep 10 - 06:54 PM
GUEST,Mike Yates 03 Sep 10 - 08:49 AM
GUEST,Big Mick 03 Sep 10 - 09:55 AM
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Subject: Woody Guthrie quote?
From: JedMarum
Date: 25 Aug 99 - 02:16 PM

I am told that Woody Guthrie said, when asked to comment on young Bob Dylan's talent, "He'll never make it as a songwriter, but the kid's got a great voice!"

Fact or legend? Anyone know?


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Subject: RE: Woody Guthrie quote?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 25 Aug 99 - 03:47 PM

It's in Joe Klein's wonderful book "Woody Guthrie" a Life. And even though I've taken flack for it for years, when I heard Dylan's 1st album, I felt he had an amazing voice. After that? Too many different styles, but that 1st album still stands up as a masterpeice to me.

Rick(running for cover)


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Subject: RE: Woody Guthrie quote?
From: Jack (Who is called Jack)
Date: 25 Aug 99 - 04:59 PM

Rick, I never attack anyone for not liking the same things as I do, or liking things I don't. Never had the WOW experience about Dylan that others describe though. Love some of his songs and lyrics, even when sung by him. Never understood the near-worship though, and never felt he was that important to 'Folk'. OH GOD I INADVERTANTLY OPENED UP THE ISSUE OF WHAT IS FOLK AGAIN DIDN'T I? SORRY! SORRY! SORRY! I TAKE IT BACK! I TAKE IT BACK! :-)


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Subject: RE: Woody Guthrie quote?
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 26 Aug 99 - 11:50 AM

An important quote in my view from Woody is this:

"I hate a song that makes a man feel small."

Frank


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Subject: RE: Woody Guthrie quote?
From: MK
Date: 26 Aug 99 - 12:02 PM

Dylan? An amazing voice?

Define ''amazing''.

I'll have whatever drugs Mr. Guthrie was taking at the time he made that comment.


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Subject: RE: Woody Guthrie quote?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 26 Aug 99 - 12:19 PM

Hard to define of course, because this is soooo subjective. However for me personally (and remember I'm ONLY referring to Bobby Z's first album) Dylan's uncontrolled extroverted singing and technically excellent playing had a great affect on me. Funny thing though, whenever I've talked to people who didn't share my take on that album, they inevitably argue their points with examples from much "later Dylan".

Rick


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Subject: RE: Woody Guthrie quote?
From: Doctor John
Date: 26 Aug 99 - 01:11 PM

Jack (who is called Jack) - I agree. Doesn't it depend which way round you heard them? If you heard Woody first (as I did ,being old) then Dylan sounds really phoney, designed and packaged like every other pop performer. His material sounds derived - bits of WG phrases cobbled together. But if you heard them the other way round ...? Dr John


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Subject: RE: Woody Guthrie quote?
From: Frank of Toledo
Date: 26 Aug 99 - 01:12 PM

I had a younger friend(younger than me which makes him middle-aged), and we were listening to Rambling Jack Elliot, and the first thing my friend said: "He sure sounds just like Bob Dylan...Oh me ..Oh my which came first the egg of the chicken or the egg and so on.


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Subject: RE: Woody Guthrie quote?
From: JedMarum
Date: 26 Aug 99 - 02:29 PM

I always assumed Woody's comments were meant in jest. I like Dylan's (or should I say voices), but I don't think there are many who would say he has a great voice. It is, however, one that most of us have very much enjoyed listening to, over the years.


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Subject: RE: Woody Guthrie quote?
From: Peter T.
Date: 26 Aug 99 - 03:53 PM

I think Dylan had a great "sprechstimme" voice as they say in Germany -- the Lotte Lenya/Brecht voice -- but, as Rick says people do, I think it was at its best in the slightly later albums -- "Ballad of a Thin Man" era, and all of "Blonde on Blonde" -- the pre-accident voice. Has anyone ever sung/coughed "cough" better than he does on "Visions of Johanna"? Those albums are full of little vocal details like that -- I can't comment on his guitar playing.
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Woody Guthrie quote?
From: Chet W.
Date: 26 Aug 99 - 04:42 PM

I've had this discussion before. You won't find many more devoted Bob fans than myself, but I do realize that a lot of his material was indeed derivative. For his first few albums he was like a Woody G. grad student, trying to please. Then he went through his French poet period, doing often inscrutable takes on Baudelaire and Rimbaud. Then when he started writing truly his own songs, a lot of them were terrible (check "if dogs run free" on Planet Waves). BUT overall and through all, he has been the creative foundation of whatever musical category he happened to be in. His voice, ever changing, was always an instrument played by a master, whether you happened to care for it or not. His guitar playing wonderful and creative and subtle. And if there is one magical thing I can lay my hand on, have you ever noticed that even when his rendition of some of his own songs seemed to have no discernable melody, when it was over you knew exactly what the melody was? I can't figure out how he does that, but it's true (compare Bob's and the Byrds' takes on the same songs). I last saw him sometime a year or a year and a half ago, and even nearing 60 he played some of the best and most energetic music I've ever heard. So, that's my take on it. You can pick out a dud song if you want, but there's a lot of wonderful stuff in there too.

Chet


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Subject: RE: Woody Guthrie quote?
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 26 Aug 99 - 05:02 PM

Ramblin Jack came first. No question about it. Jack had recorded before Bob D made his first record....("Talking Subway Blues"...something like that.) Met Dylan in 55 or 56 when he was just getting started. We had a talk in Washington Square Park.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Woody Guthrie quote?
From: Mudjack
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 12:26 PM

My favorite Woody quote is, "I think I'll put these words to "Irene" again,for the umpteenth time."
NOT TRUE......only my idea of what he might have thought while doing his BPA song marathon.
You know, all those songs that Uncle Sam contracted Woody to write and some how got away from being public domain.
Mudjack


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Subject: RE: Woody Guthrie quote?
From: SandyBob
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 01:02 PM

I remember walking around the corner of the arena building at the Seattle Folklife festival one year and seeing Rambling Jack Elliott backed up against a concrete pillar, set back on his heels, singing his heart out. I knew who he was and the first thing that came into my head was "so that is where Bob Dylan got his style."

Sandy Bob


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Subject: RE: Woody Guthrie quote?
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 05:52 PM

Mudjack,

I think it was Alan Lomax when he was at the Library of Congress Folkarts Division that got government money for Woody to write the songs for the Grand Coulee Dam Administration. I think it might have been associated with the earlier TVA program but I'm not sure. "Roll on Columbia" was one of these tunes based on "Irene". Woody of course knew Leadbelly. I, for one, am glad that Woody was able to make some money on these tunes instead of having them go into public domain.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Woody Guthrie quote?
From: Doctor John
Date: 28 Aug 99 - 02:00 AM

I met Jack Elliot when he came to UK which must have been the late 50's: he seemed to be acting out the roll of an urban cowboy all right. Good though. I first heard Woody later when Melodisc released the Stinson LP's; although Woody is supposed to have said about Jack "he sounds more like me than I do", I don't think there's a great deal of similarity. Rather like saying Woody sounds like the Carter family! I heard Dylan later; I suppose I'd grown up a bit then and I couldn't be bothered with all the silly hype and adulation. I think he had a series of idols, the first being Elvis: perhaps it would have been better had he stayed there. Yes Dylan certainly sounds very much like Jack Elliot to me. Perhaps it's the same middle class urban background. Dr John


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Subject: RE: Woody Guthrie quote?
From: Mudjack
Date: 28 Aug 99 - 02:45 PM

Thanks Frank,
I guess I never thought about Woody ever needing money to ramble his way around the country and spreading the word for social equality and worker's "unite". I had always put him above all that, but truth is as much as I hate the capitalistic system, I use it and like eating as well as the next person.
Mudjack


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Subject: RE: Woody Guthrie quote?
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 28 Aug 99 - 03:35 PM

I admire Ramblin' Jack a great deal! Of all of the folk revivalists, Alan Lomax liked him the best, so he said in print, one time. Bob Dylan's early photos showed him in a merchant marine cap and a harmonica rack around his neck. This is how Woody used to dress. (Bob also used to wear top hats, London style to parties for a joke). The harmonica rack is definitely vintage Woody who played it rather well. Jack rarely if at all did this. I know Woody played harmonica well because he taught me to play cross-harp style. Jack is a extremely talented natural actor-performer with a gift for mimicry. He can make you believe that Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger are talking together in the next room if you close your eyes. I think that Bob Dylan had known Jack and may have copped a few licks like we all do but I think also that Bob's original inspiration was Woody. Jack didn't write songs. Talking Subway Blues is in the talking blues form that Woody used for years and I think Woody popularized that at least in the folkie community. Woody used to do one of the first ones, "If you want to get to Heaven, I'll tell you how to do it, Just grease your feet in a little mutton suet"..... I think that Bob left his association with folk music some time ago in exploring his original voice which is wonderful.....but not folk. Some day, maybe a Dylan song will go through the changes and become a part of the American folk fabric but at present, his early style is a stylistic performance patterned after folk music and later more toward rock and roll. But in MHO he has not written folk music yet. Woody stuck with the folk idiom and was a lot closer to the tradition of it than Dylan because of his association with rural country music from Okemah Oklahoma where he grew up. It came down to him in his family and environment whereas Dylan would be like most of us interpreters, came to it second hand. This is no way intended to diminish Dylan's prodigious talent but to bring into focus the difference between traditional folk music and what Dylan does.

I'm one of those guys who will ocntinue to bring up the "what is folk" debate because I believe that not enough is known about traditional American folk music and more is known about American popular music of the late fifties through the seventies.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Woody Guthrie quote?
From: Johnhenry'shammer
Date: 04 Dec 06 - 10:19 PM

I don't think Woody would've been of sound enough mind to make a comment like that by the time Dylan started visiting him.


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Subject: RE: Woody Guthrie quote?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 04 Dec 06 - 11:16 PM

My favorite line from Woody was actually a punchline, "Let's just stay here 'til we outnumber 'em!" ;-)

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Woody Guthrie quote?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Sep 10 - 03:50 PM

Woody's most famous quote has to be, "take it easy, but take it." Seems to me this is one Dylan took very seriously.

Yeah, he took words and melodies, but nothing on any of those early records resembles anything else I've heard. I've tried the same thing and I can assure you, it don't sound anything like those records. The songs are, in the end, as presented, are utterly unique.

The Voice is the one "true" thing in his music. Maybe the melodies come from over here, the words from over there, but the Voice is the thing to appreciate. Understanding the rest is what follows. If you don't understand the beauty of Dylan's voice, the quality, the Americana of it, the artistry involved, I don't think you can fully grasp the imact Dylan has had and may still one day. The Voice stands as a gate, you either accept it, or you have to go back to more mainstreams sounds. Maybe back to the gates of American Idol.

Bob Dylan is underappreciated many times, I believe, because most folks have no idea what they are hearing. The harmonica is over the top with its emotion. The guitar is only subtley easy. Yeah, basic chords but he has many little tricks up his sleeves to ensure the sound of originality. But if you know how most play guitar, or go listen to amatures at a coffehouse, not many are as complicated as Dylan's "simple" guitar playing. Or, the best example, go listen to pickers doing covers of Dylan's songs on YouTube. Now, those people sound like how Dylan has been described over the years. There is a big difference between them and Dylan. Mainly, it must be said, it's The Voice.


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Subject: RE: Woody Guthrie quote?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 02 Sep 10 - 06:54 PM

I might as well tell the beginning of the story, seeing as how I already posted the punch line, I remember it this way.

During a strike, the strikers were surrounded by cops and thugs. Some of the strikers began to panic: "What are we gonna do? We'll never get out of this. They're gonna kill us all!!"

Woody's reply was, "Folks, just calm down. The answer is obvious to me--- Let's just stay right here 'til we outnumber 'em!"

I'm certain that is just a very rough paraphrase---but the truth of it is there I think.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Woody Guthrie quote?
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 03 Sep 10 - 08:49 AM

My favourite Woody Guthrie quote is one that he made when asked if he would sing, without a fee, "for a good cause". "Lady," he replied, "I don't sing for bad causes."


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Subject: RE: Woody Guthrie quote?
From: GUEST,Big Mick
Date: 03 Sep 10 - 09:55 AM

Two of my favorite "catters" are in this thread and make it special, that being Frank Hamilton and Art Thieme. Where else do you get such amazing insights from folks that were there and a very big part of it all.

I always enjoyed that quote that Art gave, but the one Frank gave is one that I took to heart early on in my singing. Music should never make a person feel small.

All the best,

Mick


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