American Radical Patriot

Woody Guthrie

American Radical Patriot
  • Release Date: 22 Oct 2013
  • Label: ROUNDER
  • Genre: OTHER
  • CAT # 11661-9138-2

    DISC ONE  
    1. Lost Train 2:19
    2. Growing Up In Oklahoma 5:37
    3. The Railroad Blues 1:06
    4. More Talk Of Growing Up In Okemah 7:34
    5. The Gang Of Kids Woody Hung Around With 7:30
    6. Rye Whiskey
    7. Some Old-time Square Dance Tunes 2:48
    8. Old Joe Clark 1:57
    9. Alan Lomax Asks For A Tune
    10. Beaumont Rag 1:03
    11. Alan Asks For Another One 1:56
    12. Green Valley Waltz 1:00
    13. The Troubles And Tragedies That Fractured Woody's Family In Okemah 10:35
    14. Greenback Dollar 1:43
    15. Lomax Asks About The Boll Weevil
    16. Boll Weevil 1:55
    17. Jailhouse Songs 2:11
    18. The Midnight Special 1:16
    19. When The Great Dust Storm Struck 4:39
    DISC TWO  
    1. The End Of The World 3:37
    2. So Long, It's Been Good To Know Ya 3:44
    3. Dust Storms Devastate The Farmland 6:37
    4. Talking Dust Bowl 2:37
    5. Migrants Arrive In California 3:03
    6. Do Re Mi 3:02
    7. Hard Times 3:06
    8. Songs About Hard Times 2:18
    9. Bring Back To Me My Blue-Eyed Boy 2:27
    10. Songs About Outlaws
    11. Billy The Kid 1:25
    12. Billy The Kid And Pretty Boy Floyd 8:03
    13. Pretty Boy Floyd 4:32
    14. Jesse James 1:51
    15. Jesse James And His Boys 2:49
    16. Takin' It From The Rich And Givin' It To The Poor
    17. Jesus Christ 4:15
    18. Songs About Bankers 1:05
    19. The Jolly Banker 2:49
    20. Another Song About The Depredations Of The Bankers
    21. I Ain't Got No Home 3:54
    22. Hundreds Of Thousands Made Homeless 2:37
    23. Dirty Overhauls 4:28
    24. The Story Of Mary Fagan 3:12
    25. Mary Fagan 2:12
    26. The Origins Of The Song 1:09
    1. The Origins Of The Song - Continued 2:55
    2. Chain Around My Leg 3:02
    3. Let's Sing Some Blues 4:53
    4. Nine Hundred Miles 3:43
    5. Worried Man Blues 3:14
    6. About The Worried Man Blues 1:02
    7. Lonesome Valley 2:29
    8. Railroad Blueses 9:35
    9. Walkin' Down That Railroad Line 4:06
    10. Interlude
    11. Goin' Down The Frisco Line 2:09
    12. Riding The Rails 3:37
    13. Going Down The Road 3:31
    14. Interlude 2
    15. Seven Cent Cotton 1:33
    16. Wish I'd Stayed In The Wagon Yard
    17. Interlude 3
    18. Dust Bowl Refugee 4:26
    19. Contractors Duping The Desperate 8:16
    20. The Dust Storm Of April 14, 1935 1:01
    21. Dust Storm Disaster 6:53
    1. Breathing In Dust 3:29
    2. Dust Pneumonia Blues 7:07
    3. Leaving The Dust Bowl 3:14
    4. California Blues 1:30
    5. Jimmie Rodgers 2:47
    6. Migrants Arriving In California 3:02
    7. Do Re Mi 3:01
    8. Refugees Pouring Into California 3:26
    9. Dust Bowl Refugee 3:26
    10. California As One Of The 48 States 10:10
    11. Will Rogers Highway 2:49
    12. The Flood That Took Over 100 Lives 3:22
    13. Los Angeles New Year's Flood 2:17
    14. A Good Horse 1:33
    15. Stewball 5:01
    16. Interlude 4
    17. Stagger Lee 2:10
    18. Interlude 5 1:05
    19. One Dime Blues 2:54
    20. Interlude 6
    21. Git Along Little Dogies 3:39
    22. Interlude 7
    23. The Trail To Mexico 1:57
    24. Gypsy Davy 2:46
    25. Introducing An Old Song
    26. Hard Ain't It Hard 3:08
    1. Introduction
    2. Pastures Of Plenty 3:30
    3. Oregon Trail 2:43
    4. Roll On Columbia 3:12
    5. New Found Land 2:06
    6. Talking Columbia 3:21
    7. Roll, Columbia, Roll 2:16
    8. Columbia's Waters 4:23
    9. Ramblin' Blues 1:58
    10. It Takes A Married Man To Sing A Worried Song 1:42
    11. Hard Travelin' 2:12
    12. The Biggest Thing That Man Has Ever Done 2:17
    13. Jackhammer Blues 2:20
    14. Song Of The Coulee Dam 5:00
    15. Grand Coulee Dam 2:52
    16. Washington Talkin' Blues 3:12
    17. Ramblin' Round 2:15
    18. Pastures Of Plenty 2:24
    19. End Of My Line 2:52
    20. The Sinking of the Reuben James 2:38
    21. Takin' It Eay 3:20
    22. Reckless Talk 3:20
    DISC SIX  
    1. The Girl In The Red, White, And Blue 14:40
    2. Labor For Victory
    3. Farmer-Labor Train 14:29
    4. Jazz In America #93
    5. Gitta Long, Mr. Hitler 3:03
    6. Jazz In America #116 1:37
    7. Sally, Don't You Grieve 2:01
    8. Narrator
    9. Dig A Hole 2:09
    10. VD Avenue
    11. Intro 1
    12. The Veedee Blues 1:36
    13. Intro 2
    14. Blessed And Curst 1:12
    15. A Case Of VD 1:18
    16. VD Seaman's Letter 4:36
    17. VD City 2:57
    18. VD Day 1:28
    19. A Child Of VD 1:53
    20. V.D. Gunner's Blues 3:37
    21. Brooklyne Towne 2:10
    22. Narrator (The Lonesome Traveler - Radio Drama)
    23. The Biggest Thing That Man Has Ever Done (From The Columbia Program) 1:51
    24. The Old Cracked Looking Glass 3:29
    25. Hard Times In The Durant Jail 3:27
    26. Empty Boxcar, My Home 2:47
    27. The Biggest Thing That Man Has Ever Done (Reprise) 1:28
    1. Roll On Columbia: Woody Guthrie & The Bonneville Power Administration 56:30
    1. VD City 1:47
    2. The Biggest Thing That Man Has Ever Done 3:10

Woody Guthrie may be more popular in the 21st century than he ever was in the 20th. The unexpected success of Mermaid Avenue - the 1998 and 2000 albums of Woody Guthrie lyrics set to music by Billy Bragg, Wilco and others -have sparked a resurgence of interest in Guthrie's own recordings. Several fine anthologies have been released in this new century, but only this year has the ultimate treasure trove of the songwriter's earliest recordings been unlocked and shared with the wider world.

Woody Guthrie: American Radical Patriot, set for release on Rounder Records on October 22, 2013 in time for holiday gift giving, will prove a revelation to even the most devoted Guthrie fan, for it unveils hours of songs, interviews and even radio dramas that the general public has never heard.

In 1940, a 27-year-old Guthrie recorded his music for the first time (other than some radio airchecks) when he visited the U.S. Government's Library of Congress and taped five hours of singing and talking with the legendary folklorist Alan Lomax. Here were many of the classic compositions that Guthrie would soon record for Folkways and RCA Victor: "So Long, It's Been Good To Know Yuh," "Do Re Mi," "Pretty Boy Floyd," "I Ain't Got No Home" and "Hard, Ain't It Hard." But the stories Guthrie told Lomax about his life created a rich context for the songs, and the songs put an emotional charge into the stories.

The three-hour version of those sessions (released as The Library of Congress Recordings by Elektra in 1964 and reissued by Rounder in 1998) was justly hailed by critic Bill Friskics-Warren as "three volumes of conversation, songs and humanity that offer the most complete portrait of America's greatest folksinger." Now it's an even more complete portrait. Here for the first time is the full five-hour session, presented in cleaned-up audio with a word-for-word transcript in the 258-page book (available as a PDF) that anchors this boxed set.

But the Library of Congress sessions take up only four of the six audio CDs in American Radical Patriot - and the box also includes the book, a DVD and a 78-rpm vinyl disc. Much of the material has never been encountered by any but the luckiest researchers, and taken as a complete package, the set broadens and deepens our understanding of the singer-songwriter who so profoundly influenced Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Pete Seeger, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, Richie Havens, Neil Young, Ani DiFranco, Taj Mahal, U2, the Byrds, the Band and many more.

This exclusive set, limited to 5,000 copies, also includes the 17 songs Guthrie composed and recorded while an employee of the Pacific Northwest's Bonneville Power Administration (including a never-before-released version of "Pastures of Plenty"), the five songs he composed and performed with the Almanac Singers to support the anti-fascist effort in World War II, two radio dramas that Guthrie helped write and perform for the U.S. Office of War Information, three songs from broadcasts of Jazz America, 10 songs he composed and performed for the U.S. Public Health Service's anti-venereal disease campaign and a health-themed radio drama that he helped write and perform for Columbia University. The 78 disc contains Bob Dylan's 1961 home recording of Guthrie's "VD City" and Guthrie's 1951 home recording of "The Greatest Thing That Man Has Ever Done."

A connecting thread runs through this material: It's all tied to the American government in some way, either commissioned directly by a federal agency or created to support a national military or health effort. This may surprise people who know of Guthrie as an agitator for unions, the poor and the marginalized and as a columnist for two different newspapers published by the U.S. Communist Party (though he was never a party member).

Yet Guthrie was named after a U.S. president (Woodrow Wilson) and was a consistent supporter of collective action (whether through left-wing organizations or the government's New Deal programs like the dam-building along the Columbia River). He served more than a year in the Merchant Marine and was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army in 1946.

"Was it a paradox that a ‘radical' would record songs for a government he opposed?" asks Bill Nowlin, the co-founder of Rounder Records who wrote the essays and notes that fill up much of this set's book. Nowlin answered his own question by coming up with the package's title: American Radical Patriot. But it's the paradox of that title that Nowlin explores in depth in the full-length book that's as central to this boxed set as the DVD or any of the CDs.

"Woody Guthrie loved his country," asserts Nowlin. "He didn't agree with all of the policies of the government, or the ways in which some people took advantage of

others . . . But he appreciated and understood and embraced the imperfections and he seemed to have a fundamental faith that people would see to it that things got fixed, if only more people realized that there really could be better ways."

The story of how Guthrie was born and raised in the oil-boom town of Okemah, Oklahoma, how he watched his family destroyed by fires, illness and bankruptcy, joined the Dust Bowl migration to California, and began singing for camp dances, union rallies and local radio shows has been told in multiple biographies and films as well as in Guthrie's own three autobiographical books: Bound for Glory, Seeds of Man and House of Earth. But none of them can match the experience of hearing that story told by Guthrie himself and embellished with his own songs.

Perhaps it's ironic that it took an American government agency, the Library of Congress, to document this oral history of a self-described "lonesome traveler." Perhaps it's ironic that it took another, the Bonneville Power Administration, to spur Guthrie to the most productive songwriting month of his career -"probably the best time of his life," according to his son Arlo. Or maybe it's not so ironic, after all. Maybe, as Nowlin suggests in his provocative essay, a democratic government was the only vehicle that could realize Guthrie's vision of the people working together to create "the biggest thing that man has ever done."

Free Woody Guthrie e-book:
The notes in the 60-page booklet are an edited version of the 258-page complete book, which contains a full transcription of all the songs, radio dramas, and Woody's "musical autobiography," as well as essays on the sinking of the USS Reuben James (including a recent interview with the last-known survivor). Also included are unpublished photographs and artwork by Woody Guthrie.

The complete book is available in 3 formats:

1. E-book. The e-book version is free and available in different formats for the various e-book readers on the market at the time of release. Please visit

2. PDF file. The complete book is available as a PDF on Disc 1 of this package and is accessible through your computer.

3. Hard copy. Print-On-Demand is available for a small fee via

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