Bill Moyers, A Lost America and Woody Guthrie

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Dust Bowl

It started with philosophers dating back to Cicero and Socrates.

During the Renaissance the word gave way to the roaming troubadour, who traveled the land and shared stories and news, reflecting on events and the times.

And finally there were the folk singers. The tellers of our struggles, our victories, our champions and our human condition.

Woodie Guthrie

Woody Guthrie was one such folk singer. He was before my time as was his son, Arlo. But Woody had left behind a body of work that was recently discovered, having been stored away since it's popularity, somewhere in the '30s and early '40s. His land was America. His region, the dust bowl. He saw it flourish, perish and along with it, so many dreams and lives. He cataloged our depressed country's struggles with his songs and guitar melodies. His voice was that of "Everyman." His spirit though, was hopeful. He rooted us on.

Funny about a lost archive of work. Not only does it shed light on an era forgotten to the ages, but causes you to compare it and reflect upon it in the light of your own time of discovery. Woody G wrote as a harbinger of things to come -- but not without witnessing first, the rape and pillage by the rich, the shrinking of the middle class, the swelling of the poor/homeless and the destruction of the  land that was not only made for you and me, but by you and me.

Bill Moyers has a short video on the late and perhaps forgotten author of This Land is Your Land. I suggest it's a wonderful revisit to a time we survived, yet echoes so well the times we're facing now. Got a few minutes to discover a lost treasure? If so, here's the place to do it.

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  • BlueRootsRadio

    Some messages are timeless. Woody wrote those kinds of songs. I take exception to the notion Woody Guthrie is "rediscovered". He can only be discovered because he was never forgotten. Ochs and Dylan owe everything to Woody.

  • mitchellfreedman

    The guy who is really forgotten except for a chosen few is Phil Ochs.

  • David G

    He was quite the lyricist, capturing the feeling and flavor of his tragic times.

  • mellowjohn

    "As I went walking I saw a sign there

    And on the sign it said "No Trespassing."

    But on the other side it didn't say nothing,

    That side was made for you and me."

    my favorite stanza.