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Tune Req: 'Here Comes Woody and Lefty Lou'

30 Aug 11 - 01:59 AM (#3214974)
Subject: Tune Req: 'Here Comes Woody and Lefty Lou'
From: BrooklynJay

I know the lyrics to Woody Guthrie's original radio theme song are available online (though I couldn't find anything on Mudcat), but I haven't been able to find anything about the music. As I recall, a recording was made in the 1930's with Woody and Maxine "Lefty Lou" Crissman and still exists; the lyrics I've seen were transcribed from this.

Does anyone know if the recording was ever released? Can anybody provide any information at all about the music?


13 Jul 16 - 04:50 PM (#3800130)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'Here Comes Woody and Lefty Lou'
From: BrooklynJay


13 Jul 16 - 05:17 PM (#3800135)
Subject: ADD: Here Comes Woody and Lefty Lou (Guthrie)
From: Joe Offer

Well, for the record, I guess we should have the lyrics posted here. I found them at I swear I've heard this theme song, but I can't find it now. I'll keep looking.

Woody's and Lefty Lou's Theme Song
(Words and Music by Woody Guthrie)

Drop whatever you are doing,
Stop your work and worry, too;
Sit right down and take it easy,
Here comes Woody and Lefty Lou.

You just drop a card or letter,
We will sing a song for you,
We're easy goin' country people
Plain ole Woody and Lefty Lou

(That's what we sing when we're cranking up and a-fixin' to come onto the air waves,
then after we have throughly wrecked the studio, here's what we sing):

So long! We'll see you in the morning,
We'll be singing when we do,
If you've got a favorite number,
Write to Woody and Lefty Lou

If you like our kind of singing,
I'm gonna tell you what to do,
Get your pencil and your paper
Write to Woody and Lefty Lou

If you're ever sad and lonely,
Bring your folk and chilluns too,
Hitch your bay mare to your buggy
Come see Woody and Lefty Lou

Don't forget us in the morning,
We won't be forgettin' you,
We ain't never seen a stranger,
Plain ole Woody and Lefty Lou.

This song is available in the "Pastures of Plenty: The Unpublished Writings of Woody Guthrie" edited by Harold Leventhal and Dave Marsh. This book is no longer in print.

© Copyright 2002 by Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc.

13 Jul 16 - 06:23 PM (#3800149)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'Here Comes Woody and Lefty Lou'
From: Joe Offer

The Los Angeles Times has an interesting article about Woody and his time in Los Angeles. Woody arrived in Los Angeles in 1937. Friends got Guthrie his first serious performing job on an L.A. radio station, KFVD. He co-hosted the program with his uncle, Jack Guthrie, who was replaced later by Maxine "Lefty Lou" Crissman.

13 Jul 16 - 07:17 PM (#3800159)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'Here Comes Woody and Lefty Lou'
From: Mark Ross

Joe Offer, Jack was Woody's cousin.
The only thing I know about the tune; Cisco Houston recorded a version that I guess Woody sang on the radio as a solo, after Lefty Lou departed the show, it's called Old Lone Wolf and it's on Vanguard VRS 9089 Cisco Houston Sings the Songs of Woody Guthrie.

Drop whatever you are doing,
The old lone wolf is here to howl for you,
The lonesomer I get,
The lonesomer I yell, OWWWWWWWWWWWWW (wolf howl).

Mark Ross

14 Jul 16 - 05:30 PM (#3800305)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'Here Comes Woody and Lefty Lou'
From: BrooklynJay

Only just found out that Maxine "Lefty Lou" Crissman Dempsey died in April, 2015 at age 99. Don't recall seeing anything about this on Mudcat or the Woody Guthrie website. Saw the news here on Arlo Guthrie's Facebook page.

Now I'm more curious than ever to know if that recording exists.


15 Jul 16 - 06:51 PM (#3800474)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'Here Comes Woody and Lefty Lou'
From: GUEST,guest, Mike S

The female character is renamed "Memphis Sue" in the movie "Bound for Glory," but she and Woody sing a bit of the song during a radio station scene. Whether the tune is authentic or was winged by the actors, I don't know. Although they're different characters, Woody's first wife and Memphis Sue are played by the same actress, Melinda Dillon (Mom, in "A Christmas Story").

23 Jul 16 - 11:34 PM (#3801760)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'Here Comes Woody and Lefty Lou'
From: BrooklynJay

I have a copy of Bound For Glory (the film), and here's what I found:

The first two verses of "Woody & Lefty Lou's Theme Song" are sung word-for-word, except that "Lefty Lou" is changed to "Memphis Sue." In the film's end credits, oddly, credit for the lyrics is given to Robert Getchell (who was also credited with the screenplay) and no mention is made of Woody. In addition, credit for the music went to well-known guitarist Guthrie Thomas, so I would have some doubt that the tune is the actual one from 1937.


Two days ago I purchased the new book 26 Songs in 30 Days – Woody Guthrie's Columbia River Songs by Greg Vandy and Daniel Person and found this in a footnote on page 57:

Guthrie's first-ever recordings, however, were done at the radio station KFVD in Los Angeles in 1937 and 1939. These 78 rpm "air-checks" were recently discovered by Peter LaChapelle and are housed in Southern California's Library of Social Studies and Research.