JOANNA COLANGELO pays tribute to the folk music legend on his 100th anniversary of birth.
Remembering Woody: The Man and the Myth
The memorialized version of Woody Guthrie is often one of a Dustbowl pioneer – of a political activist, who made his intentions well known with that one blunt statement emblazoned onto his guitar: “This Machine Kills Fascists.” There’s something very attractive about embracing the train hopping Woody Guthrie of the 1930s who seemed to live somewhere between Dorothea Lange photographs and John Steinbeck novels. He was the living and breathing character otherwise captured in still photographs and he put into songs what was written in hundreds of pages of heartbreaking prose. He had a sense of nomadic adventure and attraction to the unknown – and he followed a life on the road, not only for the music, but also for social justice, before that was even a commonplace term.
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Image: Guthrie plays his signature guitar with “This machine kills fascists” scrawled across the front. Pete Seeger accompanies on banjo; music journalist Dan Burley sits at left.
Photo by Leonard Rosenberg, July 1950. (Credit)