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'Woody Guthrie, American Radical'

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GUEST,Will Kaufman 12 Jun 11 - 08:31 AM
GeoffLawes 12 Jun 11 - 10:08 AM
Janet Stevenson (troll alert contact max) 12 Jun 11 - 10:11 AM
Fred McCormick 12 Jun 11 - 11:48 AM
Stringsinger 12 Jun 11 - 02:05 PM
GUEST,Will Kaufman 12 Jun 11 - 03:43 PM
Dorothy Parshall 12 Jun 11 - 09:57 PM
Dorothy Parshall 12 Jun 11 - 09:57 PM
catspaw49 12 Jun 11 - 10:45 PM
dick greenhaus 13 Jun 11 - 09:12 PM
Neil D 13 Jun 11 - 09:49 PM
GUEST,Doug Saum 14 Jun 11 - 01:24 PM
Mark Ross 14 Jun 11 - 02:29 PM
Mark Clark 14 Jun 11 - 03:28 PM
Mark Clark 14 Jun 11 - 10:31 PM
BrooklynJay 17 Jun 11 - 08:04 AM
BrooklynJay 19 Jul 11 - 11:17 AM
GUEST,Alvin Toffler 19 Jul 11 - 11:34 AM
BrooklynJay 19 Jul 11 - 03:36 PM
Newport Boy 23 Aug 11 - 04:13 PM
BrooklynJay 23 Aug 11 - 04:25 PM
Stringsinger 23 Aug 11 - 04:25 PM
Paul G. 23 Aug 11 - 04:58 PM
Mark Ross 23 Aug 11 - 07:20 PM
Paul G. 23 Aug 11 - 07:55 PM
Desert Dancer 24 Aug 11 - 12:03 PM
GUEST,Doc John 24 Aug 11 - 04:49 PM
Stringsinger 24 Aug 11 - 05:52 PM
BrooklynJay 24 Aug 11 - 08:20 PM
Stringsinger 25 Aug 11 - 10:14 AM
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Subject: 'Woody Guthrie, American Radical'
From: GUEST,Will Kaufman
Date: 12 Jun 11 - 08:31 AM

My book, "Woody Guthrie, American Radical" (University of Illinois Press) is now available in the UK. There will be a London book launch at the Green Note in Camden on Thursday, June 16, at 9 pm - with a performance of my live show, "Woody Guthrie: Hard Times and Hard Travellin'" followed by a book signing. Details are available from the Green Note's website: http://www.greennote.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1225&Itemid=6


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Subject: RE: 'Woody Guthrie, American Radical'
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 12 Jun 11 - 10:08 AM

Congratulations on the book Will. I have turned your link into a blue clicky here http://www.greennote.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1225&Itemid=6

For those of you down in that London who have not yet seen Will's show then I would recommend it, highly - I have seen it twice and it is excellent. Will talks well and also performs the Guthrie songs very well, with guitar, banjo and fiddle.


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Subject: RE: 'Woody Guthrie, American Radical'
From: Janet Stevenson (troll alert contact max)
Date: 12 Jun 11 - 10:11 AM

Congratulations Will, I look forward to it.

Hope you are keeping well.

Janet


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Subject: RE: 'Woody Guthrie, American Radical'
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 12 Jun 11 - 11:48 AM

According to Amazon, the book is due to be published on 25th June. I've been lucky enough to lay my hands on an advance copy, and can tell you it is a very fine book indeed.

Y'all be waitin' outside yer bookshops on the 25th now, ya hear? Shore help the store manager if yuh have the right money ready.


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Subject: RE: 'Woody Guthrie, American Radical'
From: Stringsinger
Date: 12 Jun 11 - 02:05 PM

Since I knew Woody, I'll have to read it.

A lot of Woody imitators don't realize that Woody was a socialist, a human rights champion, an enemy of the big business dictators we see today and his song "Ludlow Massacre" spawned a career for Howard Zinn.

Woody saw fascism in the US before many did and one thing, he may have been the first "environmental" songwriter.

Woody sang like a bard, flat-toned speaking voice, great diction unlike some of his imitators today, unsentimental, optimistic and feisty, songs of simple directness, unassuming, anti-show biz, deeply in thought and a great lover of all kinds of music unless they made songs that "made a man feel bad, no good......"

He cut to the chase in his songwriting. No B.S.


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Subject: RE: 'Woody Guthrie, American Radical'
From: GUEST,Will Kaufman
Date: 12 Jun 11 - 03:43 PM

The University of Illinois Press has also set up a coast-to-coast US book-signing and performance tour for me, from mid-July to the end of August:

July 20: Los Angeles - LaborFest benefit
July 21: Los Angeles (E. Hollywood) - Book Soup
July 24: San Francisco - Labor Fest and Book Fair (2 performances)
July 28: Salt Lake City - Public Library
August 1: Denver - Tattered Cover Bookstore (E. Colfax Ave)
August 5: Valparaiso, Indiana - The Front Porch
August 6: Chicago - Heartland Cafe
August 10: Nashville - Public Library (Church St.)
August 16: Charlottesville, VA - New Dominion Bookshop
August 17: Washington, DC - Smithsonian Institution (National Portrait Gallery Bookshop)
August 21: Philadelphia - Barnes and Noble (Walnut St.)
August 23: New York City - Barnes and Noble (Broadway and 82nd St.)

Details on www.myspace.com/willkaufman and http://www.press.uillinois.edu/books/guthrie_events.html


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Subject: RE: 'Woody Guthrie, American Radical'
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 12 Jun 11 - 09:57 PM

So, when are you going to be in Montreal?


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Subject: RE: 'Woody Guthrie, American Radical'
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 12 Jun 11 - 09:57 PM

So, when are you going to be in Montreal?


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Subject: RE: 'Woody Guthrie, American Radical'
From: catspaw49
Date: 12 Jun 11 - 10:45 PM

Ya' know.........That line, "made a man feel bad, no good......" ......I always just assumed he meant no good and/or worthless as opposed to "bad." Feeling bad depends on how you define it.   If you mean sad and/or depressed, that often is a by-product of many songs including a number of Woody's. For instance, Pastures of Plenty has a good message but frankly is a bit depressing as well.


Spaw


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Subject: RE: 'Woody Guthrie, American Radical'
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 13 Jun 11 - 09:12 PM

If I can find a half-dozen or more who want to buy a copy, CAMSCO can order as lot at discount price and split the savings with you. E-mail me at dick@camscomusic.com


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Subject: RE: 'Woody Guthrie, American Radical'
From: Neil D
Date: 13 Jun 11 - 09:49 PM

Congratulations. Any endeavor to keep Woody's memory and legacy alive in the 21st century is most welcome. I'll pick one up as soon as I rustle up the do re mi.


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Subject: RE: 'Woody Guthrie, American Radical'
From: GUEST,Doug Saum
Date: 14 Jun 11 - 01:24 PM

Best of luck with this, Will. When the quality of a personal life degrades sufficiently, one looks for answers outside of the old frames of reference. It is to WGutrie's everlasting credit that he looked not to myth (like Steinbeck's Jehovites in The Grapes of Wrath), but practically to his fellow man, woman, President, or anyone else who wants to help organize against ravenous Mammon. This dynamic and Woody's example are becomming more relevant with each passing day. DS


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Subject: RE: 'Woody Guthrie, American Radical'
From: Mark Ross
Date: 14 Jun 11 - 02:29 PM

Just asked the public library to order it.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: 'Woody Guthrie, American Radical'
From: Mark Clark
Date: 14 Jun 11 - 03:28 PM

Great to see this. I've just arranged to pick up my hard bound copy at a nearby B&N. Can't wait to dig in.

I never met Woody but I did get to meet Marjorie in Chicago years ago. I was introduced to folk songs by a man, Dwight Saunders, who knew both Woody and Hudie and used to learn and share songs with them both in NYC. I think it was before Woody had been diagnosed with Huntington's Chorea. He described Woody's behavior sometimes as intoxicated but realized later it was probably the disease.

My whole outlook (musically and beyond) was shaped by Woody through Dwight. I read everything about Woody I can get my hands on.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: 'Woody Guthrie, American Radical'
From: Mark Clark
Date: 14 Jun 11 - 10:31 PM

Now back from picking up my copy. Can't wait to dig in.

Thank you, Will Kaufman.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: 'Woody Guthrie, American Radical'
From: BrooklynJay
Date: 17 Jun 11 - 08:04 AM

Reserved it through my local library and it should be ready to pick up tomorrow. Can't wait. I should be able to get my own copy by the time Will's book signing tour swings through New York City in late August.

Jay


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Subject: RE: 'Woody Guthrie, American Radical'
From: BrooklynJay
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 11:17 AM

I see nobody has posted to this thread in a month.

Does anybody have any opinions about the book?

Jay


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Subject: RE: 'Woody Guthrie, American Radical'
From: GUEST,Alvin Toffler
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 11:34 AM

It's a very fine piece of work, absolutely essential for woodynuts like me. The downside for newbies is that it concentrates almost exclusively on Woody's politics and political development. To get the best out of it, you would need to read a comprehensive biography of Woody first. I'd particulary recommend Ed Cray's Rambling Man plus, if it's still available Joe Klein's Woody Guthrie, a Life.


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Subject: RE: 'Woody Guthrie, American Radical'
From: BrooklynJay
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 03:36 PM

GUEST, Alvin Toffler (the Alvin Toffler?), you've pretty much hit the nail on the head, as I see it.

I finished the book a couple of weeks ago, and now I've begun my second read-through. (I'm quirky that way.)

I would say that both books (Cray and Klein) should be mandatory reading before one gets to Kaufman. Together, the two biographies interlock (though there is some contradictory material) and present a good picture of Guthrie - a picture that is severely limited by the specialized scope of Will Kaufman's book. IMO, Guthrie's personal life is skirted over too much. Now, granted, Kaufman is not setting out to write another Guthrie biography, but it's almost like he assumes you've already read Klein and Cray and know all the "backstory."

As an aside, I also think that the book of Woody's writings, "Pastures of Plenty," would merit inclusion on the "must read" list, though you might have to look to the Internet for a copy. (I found a very inexpense one, recently, on eBay.)

Off the top of my head, I have a few other minor quibbles:

It seems to me pretty conclusive, especially after reading Cray, that the death of Woody's older sister Clara was an act of self-immolation. Yet Kaufman refers to Clara as having died in a "house fire."

Kaufman can't seem to decide whether to refer to Alan Lomax's sister as Bess Lomax or Bess Hawes. No big deal, but unless you already know the cast of characters, it mught be a little confusing.

In the Notes, Kaufman claims Country Joe McDonald was the first one to put a melody (in 1975) to Woody's "Woman At Home." However, the lyrics (a much longer, rambling version) and a melody were published in 1963 in the book "Woody Guthrie Folk Songs." (I'm assuming we're talking about the same song; correct me if I'm mistaken.)

Again, the book glosses over too much of Woody's personal life.

Where the book truly excels is in giving us the previously unpublished writings. We really feel like we're hearing the man himself. The unpublished lyrics, and alternate versions of well-known Guthrie songs are fascinating. My one complaint: I wish that the lyrics could have been the full versions of what he wrote, not just excerpts. The snippets leave us wanting more, much more.

With it all, I'm still looking forward to my second reading of this book.

Jay


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Subject: RE: 'Woody Guthrie, American Radical'
From: Newport Boy
Date: 23 Aug 11 - 04:13 PM

A good review of Will's performance and the book by Zoe Corbyn in today's Guardian Education

Phil


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Subject: RE: 'Woody Guthrie, American Radical'
From: BrooklynJay
Date: 23 Aug 11 - 04:25 PM

Really an "overview" rather than a review, I would say. But still worth reading the article.

Jay


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Subject: RE: 'Woody Guthrie, American Radical'
From: Stringsinger
Date: 23 Aug 11 - 04:25 PM

Any biography is bound to overlook some personal aspect of the subject's life.
Joe Klein has the stats. Ed Cray had a more intimate look since he knew Woody.
The best book I've read so far, since he also knew Woody, is "Cisco, Woody and Me" by Joe Longhi, a merchant marine friend who describes for me in detail the Woody and Cisco I encountered. I am happy to see more books about Woody because he defines an important role as the folk singers/songwriter, spawning much of what passes for singer/songwriter today, a political and protest writing that was recognized and fostered by Pete Seeger, Alan Lomax and Bess Hawes. Out of Woody's contribution came the Almanac Singers, Peoples Songs and a revival of the Left orientation toward folk music.

Looking forwar to reading Will's book.


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Subject: RE: 'Woody Guthrie, American Radical'
From: Paul G.
Date: 23 Aug 11 - 04:58 PM

Will -- I just picked up this thread and am delighted to find it and your book, which I shall have ASAP. I spent a day a couple of years ago with Stetson Kennedy at his home, and Arlo upon his first visit to Beluthahatchee. One of the best days of my life in a very private and intimate bit of communion. This (about 10 miles from our home) is where Woody and Stetson armed themselves against the Klan. Stetson produced a cardboard box full of correspondence from Woody, put it in Arlo's lap and said "Here's Woody in a box"... personal letters, lyric ideas. We were all moved to tears... Looking forward to the read!


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Subject: RE: 'Woody Guthrie, American Radical'
From: Mark Ross
Date: 23 Aug 11 - 07:20 PM

Seconding what Strinsinger said, WOODY, CISCO & ME is the best book about Guthrie that I have ever read. But Will Kaufman's new tome is an important piece of work and highly recommended.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: 'Woody Guthrie, American Radical'
From: Paul G.
Date: 23 Aug 11 - 07:55 PM

Coincidentally just now learned that Stetson Kennedy, Woody's long time pal, supporter, and confidant, is in a local hospital taking the last ride down life's long road. He is 94 years old, and another American treasure -- one who I am proud to have called friend these last 10 years...clicky


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Subject: RE: 'Woody Guthrie, American Radical'
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 24 Aug 11 - 12:03 PM

Wow, thanks for pointing us toward the info on Stetson Kennedy, Paul. What an amazing person.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: 'Woody Guthrie, American Radical'
From: GUEST,Doc John
Date: 24 Aug 11 - 04:49 PM

I would agree 'Woody, Cisco & Me' is the best book so far but I look forward to reading Will Kaufman's book. Jimmie Longhi also brings Cisco Houston to life although he still remains a somewhat shadowy figure.


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Subject: RE: 'Woody Guthrie, American Radical'
From: Stringsinger
Date: 24 Aug 11 - 05:52 PM

Cisco was the nicest man. He wanted to be an actor so he went to California to study at the Pasadena Playhouse. I think he wanted to give Clark Gable a run for his money, which I think he could have but he had one notable problem, for which I empathize, he had bad eyesight which means he constantly blinked when he talked to you. He never wore glasses. If he had lived, he could have had eye surgery and got bionic lenses.

Cisco studied voice out there in Lost Angeles, (one of the worst places to live in the US as far as I'm concerned, money grubbing jerks in the music biz, drugs piled high, the L.A.P.D.,
as mean as they get).

He had a tumor in his stomach and his friend Lee Hays always coaxed him to go to the doctor but he let it go. He went back to Eagle Rock, outside of L.A. where he was born to die.

He and Woody were an odd couple, Woody dressed like he usually did and Cisco in a blue serge suit with tie playing his dark mohoghany Martin.


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Subject: RE: 'Woody Guthrie, American Radical'
From: BrooklynJay
Date: 24 Aug 11 - 08:20 PM

Cisco Houston was, to put it simply, a very talented man whose work should be better-known. Jim Longhi's excellent book should be required reading.

Unfortunately, there really doesn't seem to be an awful lot about Cisco Houston available on the 'Net. There are some recordings posted on YouTube (a good place to start), and a nice tribute website:

Cisco Houston

And personal recollections (like Stringsinger's, above) are especially appreciated as far as filling in some of the blanks. And hopefully, one day, the interview tapes Lee Hays recorded with Cisco shortly before his death will be transcribed and published.

Jay


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Subject: RE: 'Woody Guthrie, American Radical'
From: Stringsinger
Date: 25 Aug 11 - 10:14 AM

Lee's interviews would really be valuable, not only about Cisco but Woody and Pete Seeger as well. That said, having known Lee, there is a personality quirk that he had which means some of the things he had to say would require the proverbial grain of salt.

More salient material would be informative on Lee, himself. Lee, an extraordinary and talented man needs a definitive detailed biography of his life.


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