Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Guthrie Project

I absolutely love Folk Music! Dissatisfied with the status quo, both Woody and Walt decided to utilize the pen to vent their frustrations: Walt with his Leaves of Grass and Woody with what I would describe as his remix of Star Spangled Banner--This Land Is Your Land. I stumbled across this image of Woody that I felt captured the essence of what he is about, in my opinion:

In taking a stand against facists, I believe that Woody separated himself from our beloved Walt. I believe Walt was ambiguous and never really took a solid stand on anything except loafing. I have my issues with Woody also. While performing research for an Africana class, I stumbled across the story of Huddie William Ledbetter aka Lead Belly.  I couldn't help but the notice the discrepancies between his account of the relationship that was shared between these two musicians. Woody claims to have befriended Lead Belly and Lead Belly claims the same. Musically, in my opinion, Lead Belly was far more talented and this leads me to believe that maybe Woody stole some of Lead Belly's swagger.  This wouldn't be the first case of one musician stealing the style of another. In fact, I believe culture stealing defines America. Take Elvis the "king" for example. It's no secret that he stole his entire style from the African American tradition and rebranded it as Rock and Roll. Still I digress. As my one of mentors is quick to remind me, giving Rosa Parks credit for kindling the flame that led to the Civil Rights Movement would be an injustice to African Americans such as Mary Ellen Pleasant who had successfully sued OmniBus Corporation in California nearly 100 years before. What does it all mean? For me, the land that Guthrie proclaims "was made for you and me," really wasn't made for him and the amenities that he had access to were not created by him.   

1 comment:

  1. Great photo! Guthrie does seem to be far more direct in his approach than Whitman, and that's an interesting point about his relationship with Lead Belly. I haven't read enough about them to address that one way or the other, but you've convinced me to look into it. As far as culture stealing, well, guilty as charged. It's pretty American, for better and worse, yikes.