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the great woody guthrie

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Woodrow Wilson "Woody" Guthrie (July 14, 1912 October 3, 1967) was an American singer-songwriter and folk musician, whose musical legacy includes hundreds of political, traditional and children's songs, ballads and improvised works. He frequently performed with the slogan "This Machine Kills Fascists" displayed on his guitar, relating to how the human spirit and music can overcome social and political adversity. His best-known song is "This Land Is Your Land" - a protest to Irving Berlin's patriotic "God Bless America". MGuthrie traveled with migrant workers from Oklahoma to California and learned traditional folk and blues songs. Many of his songs are about his experiences in the Dust Bowl era during the Great Depression, earning him the nickname the "Dust Bowl Troubadour".

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, a new generation of young people were inspired by folk singers including Guthrie. These "folk revivalists" became more politically aware in their music than those of the previous generation. The American Folk Revival was beginning to take place, focused on the issues of the day, such as the civil rights movement and free speech movement. One of Guthrie's visitors at Greystone Park was the 19-year-old Bob Dylan who idolized Guthrie, and imitated his work and persona much throughout his early career.

Guthrie died of complications of Huntington's disease in 1967. By the time of his death, his work had been discovered by a new audience, introduced to them in part through Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, his ex-wife Marjorie and other new members of the folk revival, and his son Arlo.

Read a Wikipedia.org summary of Guthrie »

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