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New Woody Guthrie album

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Chet W. 16 Jul 98 - 06:43 PM
Chet W. 17 Jul 98 - 07:57 PM
Roger Himler 17 Jul 98 - 08:55 PM
Chet W. 18 Jul 98 - 01:06 AM
Rick 14 Aug 98 - 03:14 AM
Bert 14 Aug 98 - 10:37 AM
northfolk 14 Aug 98 - 10:46 AM
Max 14 Aug 98 - 12:38 PM
Chet W. 15 Aug 98 - 10:20 PM
Max 16 Aug 98 - 12:28 AM
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Subject: New Woody Guthrie album
From: Chet W.
Date: 16 Jul 98 - 06:43 PM

Just learned about the new album by Billy Bragg and Wilco in which they wrote music for never-before-seen Woody lyrics provided by Woody's daughter Nora. Bought it, like most of it. Wondered what you guys thought of it. If this is still a new story to you, the name of the album is "Mermaid Avenue", which is the street in Coney Island where Woody spent much of his later life.

Chet W.

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Subject: RE: New Woody Guthrie album
From: Chet W.
Date: 17 Jul 98 - 07:57 PM

Thanks, Chet! I like most of the album too. Some of the more rockin' cuts I think were more inspired by the band's interpretation of well-known Woody disciple B. Dylan, but who knows. Woody was a great artist, author of two of the best and most original novels of the century, in addition to all the music. No telling what new territory he would have ridden into had he not gotten ill. A few years ago I would have thought that the project might have been better taken up by someone else, but there are reportedly hundreds of lyrics left. Maybe somebody else will take a turn. What a wonderful find. Wish they'd publish them. Anyway thanks for bringing it up. Anyone else?

The other Chet W.

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Subject: RE: New Woody Guthrie album
From: Roger Himler
Date: 17 Jul 98 - 08:55 PM

You might not want all of Woody's songs. Legend has it that Woody bought a notebook each year and numbered the pages one through three hundred and sixty five. Then each day he wrote a song. The legend may be wrong, but one way to be prolific as a songwriter is to challenge oneself regularly, if not daily. There will certainly be some chaff, but healthy grain will also likely be there.

Roger in Baltimore

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Subject: RE: New Woody Guthrie album
From: Chet W.
Date: 18 Jul 98 - 01:06 AM

I might not want all of Shakespeare's or Mark Twain's or Duke Ellington's work either, but thank God for what they did leave us, and I'd jump at the chance to look at their discards. I'll take any bet that much of it would be better than 98% of what's popular today. As a songwriter myself I do challenge myself regularly, but my best stuff nearly always comes from unexpected inspriration. And I doubt that much of it could stand next to most of Woody's notebook pages. There are so few really great artists in a given lifetime that they can be a little hard to recognize in the crowd. He was one.

Yet another Chet W.

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Subject: RE: New Woody Guthrie album
From: Rick
Date: 14 Aug 98 - 03:14 AM

I met Nora Guthrie at a folk festival in Germany (see where she gave a lecture on Woody's life and works.

She has found several _thousand_ lyrics and fragments and hopes to be able to do more ventures like the Billy Bragg set.

Amazingly, her "Woody Guthrie Foundation" operates on a shoestring - I guess Woody is still too radical for the US establishment...

If any of you good people in the States can help her (with donations, Web site hosting, etc) please do.



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Subject: RE: New Woody Guthrie album
From: Bert
Date: 14 Aug 98 - 10:37 AM

When I first played the CD I was a bit disappointed, thinking... "That doesn't sound like Woody Guthrie". But, after listening to a few numbers I started liking the new approach.

Also the lyrics are more sophisticated than I expected and didn't sound dated at all. Either they were too much ahead of their time to make it when Woody was alive or his songwriting was maturing.

I think my favorite track is "Way down yonder in the Minor Key".

Altogether a great CD.


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Subject: RE: New Woody Guthrie album
From: northfolk
Date: 14 Aug 98 - 10:46 AM

I also bought and am learning to like this work. After listening to Woody and all of his usual progeny, Billy Bragg was different. But, knowing what I know about Woody and his willingness to involve himself in the struggles of his time, and then seeing Bragg, engage in issues like the Detroit Newspaper Strike/Lockout, when he performs in Michigan, he is the guy who should be doing this music.

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Subject: RE: New Woody Guthrie album
From: Max
Date: 14 Aug 98 - 12:38 PM

Listened to it a few times, loved it, then I lent it to Bert. Haven't seen it since, but that's OK cause I have his Tom Paxton CD.

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Subject: RE: New Woody Guthrie album
From: Chet W.
Date: 15 Aug 98 - 10:20 PM

I also was especially fond of "way over yonder in the minor key". Trying to learn it right now. I hope they'll put out more of this stuff. By the way, if there's anyone who hasn't read "Bound for Glory" and "Seeds of Man", treat yourself to some of the best of 20th century American lit. Woody was a giant.

Chet W.

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Subject: Here's what Bob had to say:
From: Max
Date: 16 Aug 98 - 12:28 AM

Here's what Bob Dylan had to say:

When yer head gets twisted and yer mind grows numb When you think you're too old, too young, too smart or too dumb When yer laggin' behind an' losin' yer pace In a slow-motion crawl of life's busy race No matter what yer doing if you start givin' up If the wine don't come to the top of yer cup If the wind's got you sideways with with one hand holdin' on And the other starts slipping and the feeling is gone And yer train engine fire needs a new spark to catch it And the wood's easy findin' but yer lazy to fetch it And yer sidewalk starts curlin' and the street gets too long And you start walkin' backwards though you know its wrong And lonesome comes up as down goes the day And tomorrow's mornin' seems so far away And you feel the reins from yer pony are slippin' And yer rope is a-slidin' 'cause yer hands are a-drippin' And yer sun-decked desert and evergreen valleys Turn to broken down slums and trash-can alleys And yer sky cries water and yer drain pipe's a-pourin' And the lightnin's a-flashing and the thunder's a-crashin' And the windows are rattlin' and breakin' and the roof tops a-shakin' And yer whole world's a-slammin' and bangin' And yer minutes of sun turn to hours of storm And to yourself you sometimes say "I never knew it was gonna be this way Why didn't they tell me the day I was born" And you start gettin' chills and yer jumping from sweat And you're lookin' for somethin' you ain't quite found yet And yer knee-deep in the dark water with yer hands in the air And the whole world's a-watchin' with a window peek stare And yer good gal leaves and she's long gone a-flying And yer heart feels sick like fish when they're fryin' And yer jackhammer falls from yer hand to yer feet And you need it badly but it lays on the street And yer bell's bangin' loudly but you can't hear its beat And you think yer ears might a been hurt Or yer eyes've turned filthy from the sight-blindin' dirt And you figured you failed in yesterdays rush When you were faked out an' fooled while facing a four flush And all the time you were holdin' three queens And it's makin you mad, it's makin' you mean Like in the middle of Life magazine Bouncin' around a pinball machine And there's something on yer mind you wanna be saying That somebody someplace oughta be hearin' But it's trapped on yer tongue and sealed in yer head And it bothers you badly when your layin' in bed And no matter how you try you just can't say it And yer scared to yer soul you just might forget it And yer eyes get swimmy from the tears in yer head And yer pillows of feathers turn to blankets of lead And the lion's mouth opens and yer staring at his teeth And his jaws start closin with you underneath And yer flat on your belly with yer hands tied behind And you wish you'd never taken that last detour sign And you say to yourself just what am I doin' On this road I'm walkin', on this trail I'm turnin' On this curve I'm hanging On this pathway I'm strolling, in the space I'm talking In this air I'm inhaling Am I mixed up too much, am I mixed up too hard Why am I walking, where am I running What am I saying, what am I knowing On this guitar I'm playing, on this banjo I'm frailin' On this mandolin I'm strummin', in the song I'm singin' In the tune I'm hummin', in the words I'm writin' In the words that I'm thinkin' In this ocean of hours I'm all the time drinkin' Who am I helping, what am I breaking What am I giving, what am I taking But you try with your whole soul best Never to think these thoughts and never to let Them kind of thoughts gain ground Or make yer heart pound But then again you know why they're around Just waiting for a chance to slip and drop down Cause sometimes you hear'em when the night times comes creeping And you fear that they might catch you a-sleeping And you jump from yer bed, from yer last chapter of dreamin' And you can't remember for the best of yer thinking If that was you in the dream that was screaming And you know that it's something special you're needin' And you know that there's no drug that'll do for the healin' And no liquor in the land to stop yer brain from bleeding

And you need something special Yeah, you need something special all right You need a fast flyin' train on a tornado track To shoot you someplace and shoot you back You need a cyclone wind on a stream engine howler That's been banging and booming and blowing forever That knows yer troubles a hundred times over You need a Greyhound bus that don't bar no race That won't laugh at yer looks Your voice or your face And by any number of bets in the book Will be rollin' long after the bubblegum craze You need something to open up a new door To show you something you seen before But overlooked a hundred times or more You need something to open your eyes You need something to make it known That it's you and no one else that owns That spot that yer standing, that space that you're sitting That the world ain't got you beat That it ain't got you licked It can't get you crazy no matter how many Times you might get kicked You need something special all right You need something special to give you hope But hope's just a word That maybe you said or maybe you heard On some windy corner 'round a wide-angled curve

But that's what you need man, and you need it bad And yer trouble is you know it too good Cause you look an' you start getting the chills Cause you can't find it on a dollar bill And it ain't on Macy's window sill And it ain't on no rich kid's road map And it ain't in no fat kid's fraternity house And it ain't made in no Hollywood wheat germ And it ain't on that dimlit stage With that half-wit comedian on it Ranting and raving and taking yer money And you think it's funny No you can't find it in no night club or no yacht club And it ain't in the seats of a supper club And sure as hell you're bound to tell That no matter how hard you rub You just ain't a-gonna find it on yer ticket stub No, and it ain't in the rumors people're tellin' you And it ain't in the pimple-lotion people are sellin' you And it ain't in no cardboard-box house Or down any movie star's blouse And you can't find it on the golf course And Uncle Remus can't tell you and neither can Santa Claus And it ain't in the cream puff hair-do or cotton candy clothes And it ain't in the dime store dummies or bubblegum goons And it ain't in the marshmallow noises of the chocolate cake voices That come knockin' and tappin' in Christmas wrappin' Sayin' ain't I pretty and ain't I cute and look at my skin Look at my skin shine, look at my skin glow Look at my skin laugh, look at my skin cry When you can't even sense if they got any insides These people so pretty in their ribbons and bows No you'll not now or no other day Find it on the doorsteps made out-a paper mache And inside it the people made of molasses That every other day buy a new pair of sunglasses And it ain't in the fifty-star generals and flipped-out phonies Who'd turn yuh in for a tenth of a penny Who breathe and burp and bend and crack And before you can count from one to ten Do it all over again but this time behind yer back my friend The ones that wheel and deal and whirl and twirl And play games with each other in their sand-box world And you can't find it either in the no-talent fools That run around gallant And make all rules for the ones that got talent And it ain't in the ones that ain't got any talent but think they do And think they're foolin' you The ones who jump on the wagon Just for a while 'cause they know it's in style To get their kicks, get out of it quick And make all kinds of rnoney and chicks And you yell to yourself and you throw down yer hat Sayin', "Christ do I gotta be like that Ain't there no one here that knows where I'm at Ain't there no one here that knows how I feel Good God Almighty That stuff ain't real

No but that ain't yer game, it ain't even yer race You can't hear yer name, you can't see yer face You gotta look some other place And where do you look for this hope that yer seekin' Where do you look for this lamp that's a-burnin' Where do you look for this oil well gushin' Where do you look for this candle that's glowin' Where do you look for this hope that you know is there And out there somewhere And your feet can only walk down two kinds of roads Your eyes can only look through two kinds of windows Your nose can only smell two kinds of hallways You can touch and twist And turn two kinds of doorknobs You can go to the church of your choice Or you can go to Brooklyn State Hospital You'll find God in the church of your choice You'll find Woody Guthrie in the Brooklyn State hospital.

And though it's only my opinion I may be right or wrong You'll find them both In the Grand Canyon At sundown

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