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Eli Smith – Woody Guthrie Centennial

Eli Smith:  Woody Guthrie – 100th Centennial Celebration

Woodrow Wilson Guthrie was born on July 14, 1912, in Okemah, Oklahoma.  Music festivals around the country mark his centennial.  Many know Woody Guthrie by the song, “This Land Is Your Land” but he recorded much more and the bulk of those songs are archived in the Library of Congress. Woody was very productive, he was a writer, a cartoonist, and a biographer.  “Roots of Woody Guthrie: Celebrating Woody at 100? Down Home Radio Show

Eli Smith:

  • He was born on July 14, Bastille Day. He moved to Brooklyn in 1940. He was a radical guy, a socialist. His father was a successful business man in Oklahoma during the boom times.
  • He had grown up in a stable middle class family. His mother suffered from Huntington disease which killed Woody Guthrie in 1967 at the age of 55.
  • Woody Guthrie did travel with migrant workers, of course there were hundreds of thousands of migrants riding the rails.
  • In California, Woody started his career also as a radio personality,  he was already writing and painting, he was a multi-faceted artist.
  • Woody loved Will Rogers, another Oklahoman, he was a Native American and stand up comic.
  • Not only was he (Woody) a writer and performer of songs, he also wrote poetry and prose and newspaper opinion pieces.
  • He was also a talented painter and visual artist.
  • His autobiographical novel, Bound for Glory was published in 1943.
  • Woody Guthrie had 8 children over the course of his life. He did several albums of children’s songs for the Folkways Records.
  • He composed This Land Is Your Land to a response to that song (God Bless America)
  • Since that time its been sanitized because they took out the more communistic verses, it’s kind of a second national anthem.
  • “Roots of Woody Guthrie: Celebrating Woody at 100? Down Home Radio Show

Guest - Eli Smith (host/producer) is a banjo player, writer, researcher and promoter of folk music living in New York City. Eli is a Smithsonian Folkways recording artist.  He two folk festivals annually, the Brooklyn Folk Festival in the Spring and Washington Square Park Folk Festival in the Fall.  He has appeared as a guest on terrestrial radio stations such as WBAI, WNYC, WKCR and WDST in New York and KPFA, KPFK and KUCI in California.

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