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Recordings of Tom Joad?

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TOM JOAD


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Lyr/Chords Req: Tom Joad (21)


lamarca 29 Nov 99 - 12:02 PM
Rick Fielding 29 Nov 99 - 12:10 PM
Doctor John 29 Nov 99 - 01:23 PM
Frank of Toledo 29 Nov 99 - 04:07 PM
M 29 Nov 99 - 04:18 PM
lamarca 29 Nov 99 - 05:35 PM
John Hindsill 29 Nov 99 - 08:43 PM
Art Thieme 30 Nov 99 - 11:34 PM
Reiver 2 01 Dec 99 - 01:12 AM
Joe Offer 01 Dec 99 - 01:33 AM
Sandy Paton 01 Dec 99 - 01:42 AM
Reiver 2 01 Dec 99 - 01:50 AM
bseed(charleskratz) 01 Dec 99 - 02:12 AM
Doctor John 01 Dec 99 - 01:14 PM
Lyle 01 Dec 99 - 10:13 PM
Art Thieme 01 Dec 99 - 10:26 PM
catspaw49 01 Dec 99 - 10:46 PM
Art Thieme 02 Dec 99 - 08:17 PM
Art Thieme 02 Dec 99 - 08:22 PM
catspaw49 03 Dec 99 - 07:10 AM
The Old Mole 03 Dec 99 - 10:11 AM
Art Thieme 03 Dec 99 - 11:08 AM
catspaw49 03 Dec 99 - 11:36 AM
Art Thieme 04 Dec 99 - 02:34 PM
Liam's Brother 04 Dec 99 - 05:00 PM
Stewie 04 Dec 99 - 05:45 PM
Art Thieme 05 Dec 99 - 10:59 AM
Doctor John 05 Dec 99 - 04:06 PM
Mark Clark 30 Nov 01 - 01:00 AM
GUEST 30 Nov 01 - 01:13 AM
GUEST,Philippa 26 May 02 - 08:11 PM
catspaw49 26 May 02 - 08:32 PM
Mark Ross 27 May 02 - 12:25 AM
Francy 27 May 02 - 04:50 AM
GUEST,Philippa 27 May 02 - 02:57 PM
lamarca 28 May 02 - 06:48 PM
McGrath of Harlow 28 May 02 - 07:02 PM
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Subject: Recordings of Tom Joad
From: lamarca
Date: 29 Nov 99 - 12:02 PM

Art Thieme, in his wonderful list of "Songs that make him drop everything", mentioned that Andy Irvine and Patrick Street's rendition of Woodie Guthrie's "Ballad of Tom Joad" was to a new tune. I've always loved the way Patrick Street does the song, weaving in the melody for "John Hardy" in the instrumental breaks.

I've never heard Woodie's own version of this song. Can anyone point me to a recording of Woodie singing it himself, or a good American group doing the song?


Click for lyrics in the Digital Tradition


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Subject: RE: Recordings of Tom Joad?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 29 Nov 99 - 12:10 PM

Hi.Smithsonian Folkways has got a slew of Guthrie recordings, including his wonderful rendition. However, I always loved Jack Elliot's. My album is on Prestige Folklore. It's called simply "Jack Elliot Sings Woody Guthrie".I'll do some checking, but I'm not sure if it's available today.
Rick


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Subject: RE: Recordings of Tom Joad?
From: Doctor John
Date: 29 Nov 99 - 01:23 PM

Woody recorded "Tom Joad" (2 parts) for RCA Victor in 1940. You can find the ballad on Rounder CD "Dust Bowl Ballads" ( CD1040)which includes all the 14 he recorded in 1940, although only 12 were released (in 2 78rpm albums) at the time. It has appeared on 10" and 12" Folkways LP's in the past (presumably still available by special order from SF as tape or CD) but this is the same as the Victor recording. I understand shortly after the initial release of the original records, Victor, learning of Woody's left wing activities ,withdrew the albums from sale. Moses Asch, with Woody's encouragement but without Victor's permission ,took copies and released them himself (quite rightly too in my view). I don't think he made another recording of it. There's a version by Cisco Houston on a Vanguard LP (I Ain't Got No Home) but I think it's no longer available. Dr John


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Subject: RE: Recordings of Tom Joad?
From: Frank of Toledo
Date: 29 Nov 99 - 04:07 PM

Ramblin' Jack's version is on "Hard Travelin", Fantasy FCD 24720-2. It is 77 min. long with 25 tracks, half of them Woody"s songs and some great folk classics. All the selections were recorded in 1960 and 1961..........


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Subject: RE: Recordings of Tom Joad?
From: M
Date: 29 Nov 99 - 04:18 PM

And on a similar note, Rick, Rage Against The Machine recorded an awesome version of Bruce Springsteen's "Ghost of Tom Joad" last year. Check it out, if you can. It's only been played on the radio and (ugh) MTv, but it is great! I don't know of the Woody Guthrie version--RATM's may be the same or a take-off of it.


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Subject: RE: Recordings of Tom Joad?
From: lamarca
Date: 29 Nov 99 - 05:35 PM

Thanks to all - will look for "Dust Bowl Ballads" and/or Ramblin Jack after Christmas (maybe I'll let Santa know I'm looking for them...)


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Subject: RE: Recordings of Tom Joad?
From: John Hindsill
Date: 29 Nov 99 - 08:43 PM

I don't believe Tom Joad made any recordings.


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Subject: RE: Recordings of Tom Joad?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 30 Nov 99 - 11:34 PM

I always thought it was quite nice that Andy Irvine & Patrick Street inserted the "John Hardy" tune in the middle of their nice new version of "Tom Joad". I still always sang "T. J." with the "J.Hardy" tune that Woody Guthrie borrowed. But it's a long song and after 40 years the new tune was refreshing to my old ears. Irvine & Street are fine musicians & singers---although, strangely, it's the only song of theirs I've ever heard. I taped it off of Thistle And Shamrock a while back.

That's how I "field collect" now!!

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Recordings of Tom Joad?
From: Reiver 2
Date: 01 Dec 99 - 01:12 AM

I have three recordings of "Tom Joad". One is from the 1940 recording that Woody did with Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress. Another is on a two record set called "The Greatest Songs of Woody Guthrie" with a variety of singers doing the songs -- "Tom Joad" is done by Country Joe McDonald. The other recording I have is a taped copy of Cisco Houston doing Woody Guthrie songs.


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Subject: RE: Recordings of Tom Joad?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Dec 99 - 01:33 AM

I'm a little vague here - did Woody write "Tom Joad" for the movie "Grapes of Wrath"? If so, who sang it in the movie? I know the song was used on a recent television version of "Grapes of Wrath," but don't know about the original. Movie buffs, please clue me in.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Recordings of Tom Joad?
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 01 Dec 99 - 01:42 AM

Joe: As I heard the story, Woody wrote the song after seeing the movie. He had not read the book. Hence, the song is not in the film, but retells the story of the film in Woody's words. And darned well, too. ("Preacher Casey dropped him in his tracks!")

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Recordings of Tom Joad?
From: Reiver 2
Date: 01 Dec 99 - 01:50 AM

Sandy, that's my understanding, too. Woody wrote the song after seeing the movie. The song is very true to the film.


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Subject: RE: Recordings of Tom Joad?
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 01 Dec 99 - 02:12 AM

Woody supposedly said that he wrote the song so that people who couldn't afford to go to the movie would hear the story. I used to have both "Cisco Houston Sings Woodie Guthrie" and Joe MacDonald's "Thinking of Woodie Guthrie"--I think I still have a tape of "The Greatest Songs of Woodie Guthrie," sung by a variety of people--with Country Joe's Tom Joad on it.

--seed


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Subject: RE: Recordings of Tom Joad?
From: Doctor John
Date: 01 Dec 99 - 01:14 PM

The song in "The Grapes of Wrath" is "Going Down This Road Feeling Bad" sung by one of the "Joads " and well too. The background music is "Red River Valley". I'm sure Woody didn't record "Tom Joad" for the L of C but later for RCA Victor, although these sessions were arranged by Alan Lomax after those for the L of C. The Cisco Houston version doesn't appear on "Songs of WG" (available on CD) but on "I Ain't Got No Home" (which isn't). Interestingly Phil Ochs recorded "Joe Hill" to the tune of "Tome Joad" - with Jack Elliot I think. Dr John


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Subject: RE: Recordings of Tom Joad?
From: Lyle
Date: 01 Dec 99 - 10:13 PM

If you go here,

http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/48/chris_erswell.html

you can download recordings by Tom Joad

Lyle


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Subject: RE: Recordings of Tom Joad?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 01 Dec 99 - 10:26 PM

Aye, Jack Elliott always used to say, "Woody wrote that after seeing the movie. He never read the book. Didn't have to. He'd lived that life!"

PLEASE take note of the genius of taking care of the ENTIRE TRIP TO CALIFORNIA in one little couplet-----

They buried grandpa Joad by the side of the road,
Buried grandma on the California side...

It allowed him to keep the song a bit shorter---25 verses.

I've been told that John Steinbeck actually said once that Woody told the story better in his song than he had in the entire novel. I doubt the truth of that, but it could be...

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Recordings of Tom Joad?
From: catspaw49
Date: 01 Dec 99 - 10:46 PM

I always liked Jack Elliott doing any of Woody's....probably the closest to the real thing that you can get. But more than that, he's just real damn enjoyable listening! Not much glitz, just Ramblin' Jack.

But...re: song/movie/novel---Well at least Woody did a better job translating the movie than the movie did translating the book. I mean its a GREAT movie and probably as much as could be done, but that book was simply Steinbeck at his best and truly has some of his best writing in it. The alternating chapters of history and historical novel gave it a certain "something" and a few of those chapters should be taught in every writing class. Just unbelievable.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Recordings of Tom Joad?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 02 Dec 99 - 08:17 PM

The chapter with the land turtle trying to cross the road being hit, intentionally, by a truck. It's flipped violently onto it's back by the glancing blow from the tire as the truck speeds onward. The turtle lays there in the blistering heat of the dustbowl Oklahoma sun as inside the shell as it could get. After a very long while it, once again, emerges. Somehow, it manages with a tremendous effort, to gain a hold on something and is able get turned right-side-up. It s-l-o-w-l-y makes it's way across the highway with a living seed caught between one leg and it's shell. It moves off the highway and into the dust where the seed dislodges and falls into the furrow made by the animals body. The terrapin's tail spreads dust/soil over the seed as the turtle moves on...
(That's how I remember it.)

What fine writing in that chapter----and in the entire book. Makes me want to go back a read it again. But he movie sure wimped out on the book's ending!!!

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Recordings of Tom Joad?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 02 Dec 99 - 08:22 PM

And the above was such a great analogy to the plight of the Joads and all the other dust bowl refugees. Hardship and survival in a harsh and outageous world and, in the process, still managing to plant seeds that'll bloom when the rains finally come.

Art


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Subject: RE: Recordings of Tom Joad?
From: catspaw49
Date: 03 Dec 99 - 07:10 AM

Another of my favorite chapters was the used car dealer and his excitement and greed in making a killing from someone else's plight. I think the word I'm after is "dynamic" maybe....Steinbeck really creates a mood there that draws the reader into the excitement, as it were.

And I do agree about the ending Art. I always thought the Hollywood folks felt the need to end things with a bit of hope and the book didn't give much....or, at least it was more "circle of life" kind of thing and the "hope" was too obscure for a movie.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Recordings of Tom Joad?
From: The Old Mole
Date: 03 Dec 99 - 10:11 AM

Steinbeck loved "The Ballad of Tom Joad."


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Subject: RE: Recordings of Tom Joad?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 03 Dec 99 - 11:08 AM

Pat,

I don't agree. For me, the end of the book was extremely hopeful.

Why? Well, they were doing anything to survive and the hope was in that simple fact. If you recall, they had found an old migrant man, a stranger, starving and close to death. Rose Of Sharon had just lost her baby. Her husband had left her and the family. Tom was a fugitive and had needed to leave---for himself and for the safety of all. The family was disrupted and changing.
Yes, life for them had changed to the extent that it had become more like family life today than the life the family, had been used to in the past on the farm. The change was traumatic of course. The old ones died out for the most part. The rest went onward. To further the survival of the larger family, the community, Rose Of Sharon did an almost incomprehensible thing----she gave her life-sustaining milk---her dead baby's natural sustenance---her nourishing breast---to the old and feeble migrant man !

When given lemons, the Joads made lemonade! It's a great and vibrant, impactful and memorably shocking final scene. Much better than Ma Joad just announcing, "We'll suvive 'cause we're the people." (That was the film's ending to the swelling tones of "Red River Valley" as the Joads went West into the sunset. Often it takes an extraordinary gesture to get folks in the mindset to persevere---something like giving to a total stranger in the community.

It DOES take a village.

That is why instigating THE NEW DEAL, like Franklin Roosevelt and far-seeing others did, was the only way to go then. It was necessary at the time---and it was accomplished.

Is our prosperity now due to those measures taken during hard times---in spite of the wealthy status quo advocates protests about the decline of family values and the onset of the welfare state? Very probably from my point of view, just as the eradication the the negative aspects of the welfare state mentality is necessary for the betterment of the many.

I suspect I'm digressing or fanticyzing a lot when I see these outcomes as being possibly caused by the simple events at the end of The Grapes Of Wrath. But I still must say to those who decry the changes in families and in our "American system" that, if they can restrain themselves from acts like Ted Kazinsky's and the Oklahoma City bombings, the world will retain it's wondrousness and potentials in spite of their abhorance of change in itself. Again, as Franklin D. said, "There's nothing to fear but fear itself!" And fear of the good aspects of socialism and the Soviet experiment creeping into our society is mere fear itself rearing it's sad and ugly head. On the same note, the Russian fear of the good aspects of capitalism, aspects that do really exist in spite of totalitarian communist hardliners protests, is nothing more than a longing for the old days and another manifestation of the fear of fear itself.

Yep, I've digressed (and sorry for my terrible spelling). But it was fun to mentally project and extend these possible causialities.

And don't forget that Preacher Jim Casey's initials are J.C.---the same as Jesus Christ. And he was killed by the the police force of the powers-that-be after telling the police, "Look guys, you don't know what you're doing!" He spent most of the book wandering in the wilderness and searching for the truth of it--and trying to get his faith back.

What an amazing book!!!!!!

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Recordings of Tom Joad?
From: catspaw49
Date: 03 Dec 99 - 11:36 AM

Art my friend, that is one of your very best posts! Simply tremendous. And I couldn't agree more. When I said the book ending was too subtle for Hollywood, that is EXACTLY what I meant. Your mind and your beliefs see the beauty of Steinbeck's words and the life circle which I alluded to, but I think the powers that be at the studio (or maybe just the producer or director) felt that it was not as hopeful, or too hard for some to see, as Ma's simple synopsis like "cause we're the people." Its many times been the movie business dictum to target the lowest common denominator, but probably more now than then back then. On the other hand, some recent movies have been very accurate and I think the version of Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" done by Gary Sinise and John Malkovich is superb!

BTW, showing once again that I am often the lowest common denominator, I completely missed the Preacher Casey "JC" thing. As I read your post, I was sitting here thinking, "Well damn, am I that stupid?" I am of course, but its always painful to be reminded!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Recordings of Tom Joad?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 04 Dec 99 - 02:34 PM

S'paw, Thanks ! It took me a bunch of years of singing that song to come to those feelings about it and the book. They are still evolving. I'd bet that the producer thought that a woman giving her breast to a man near death would be too much for the audience of the era to grab onto---or to grasp the meaning of and the reasons for such a shocking scene that would've been before it's time---something worthy of Fellini or Bergman or Bennigni in these latter days.

Just how I see it.

Art


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Subject: RE: Recordings of Tom Joad?
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 04 Dec 99 - 05:00 PM

I should just mention that the RCA Victor recordings were reissued as an LP by RCA Victor in the late '60s. I have the recording - though not here. There was a companion Leadbelly LP and another of Old Time string bands... perhaps more. They were all on the RCA Vintage (as I recall) label. Everything considered, the sound quality was excellent.

All the best,
Dan


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Subject: RE: Recordings of Tom Joad?
From: Stewie
Date: 04 Dec 99 - 05:45 PM

Dan, there were quite a number of LPs in that RCA Vintage Series - all collector's items now. They ranged from the Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly ones you mentioned through to 'Bluebird Blues', 'Native American Ballads', 'Jugs, Washboards and Kazoos', 'Early Blue Grass (sic)', 'Early Rural String Bands', 'The Railroad in Folksong', 'Authentic Cowboys and Their Western Songs', 'Smoky Mountain Ballads' and, for heaven's sake, 'John Jacob Niles, Folk Balladeer'. Given that RCA has already deleted its 3 excellent oldtimey Bluebird CDs and appears to have abandoned its Bluebird blues reissue program, it is unlikely that these classics will be reissued on CD - and that's a great pity. Quite a number of the tracks are appearing on Yazoo, County, Rounder etc compilations, but they were nice collections in themselves.

Cheers, Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Recordings of Tom Joad?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 05 Dec 99 - 10:59 AM

I've still got the Woody Guthrie TEN INCH LP ALBUM (33 1/3) on Folkways (FA 2011) called TALKIN' DUST BOWL.

"Tom Joad" is in two parts---because 78rpm records generally had to be no longer than 3 minutes per side---and, as I said, this was a long song. No "Tam Lynn", but long nonetheless.

Art


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Subject: RE: Recordings of Tom Joad?
From: Doctor John
Date: 05 Dec 99 - 04:06 PM

Well, as I mentioned above, that's a pirated record ,Art. However, I thoroughly agree with Moe Asch's action here. If the holder won't release them let someone else do it. (Any mint Nic Jones LP's around?!)Similarly Document (Austria)recently released the whole (nearly) Library of Congress Lead Belly recordings and the L of C are very put out about it even though they would not release them themselves. You can't buy them in the USA - they'll put the dealer on the chain gang or something - but we can buy them here in the UK. Wonderful stuff it is too! I think Alan Lomax arranged the RCA Victor recordings for Lead Belly and Woody Guthrie in 1940 because the L of C would not release them at that time. The Rounder Lead Belly and the earlier Elektra LP's are legit. No one has ever bothered to release them in the order they were recorded which is a great pity (eapecially with the later Alan Lomax session)Dr John.


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Subject: RE: Fresh
From: Mark Clark
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 01:00 AM


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Subject: RE: Recordings of Tom Joad?
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 01:13 AM

"Thinking Of Woody Guthrie" by Country Joe McDonald is available on CD (first came out around 1971). Country Joe does ten Woody songs and does them well. "Tom Joad" is one of these.


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Subject: Tom Joad -vocabulary query
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 26 May 02 - 08:11 PM

Muley said "they'd been tractored out by the cats." Who or what were the Cats? Caterpillar brand tractors? Fat Cat bankers? or ...?

I sang this song at the Foyle Folk Club, Verbal Arts Centre, Derry, Ireland this weekend. John Steinbeck's son Thom will be speaking at the Verbal Arts Centre on Wed, 29 May. I understand John Steinbeck's mother came from County Derry. The song sort of backfired; a few people talked to me about it during the interval but mostly to complement me on my memory of all the verses!

regarding the title of this thread, recordings I'm aware of are Woody Guthrie, Cisco Huston (if my memory is correct) and Andy Irvine. Andy put a different tune to it, but I sing the original version.


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Subject: RE: Recordings of Tom Joad?
From: catspaw49
Date: 26 May 02 - 08:32 PM

You had it the first time Philippa.......Cats was short for Caterpillar Tractors. Caterpillar has made diesel engines and heavy equipment for years. The bulldozers were used to clear the land of houses and barns to make for easier and an increased amount of tillable acreage.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Recordings of Tom Joad?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 27 May 02 - 12:25 AM

Woody wrote TOM JOAD at the request of RCA, which was willing to record Woody singing about the Dust Bowl only if he agreed to have a song based on the GRAPES OF WRATH on the album. According to Pete Seeger, he ran into Woody on the streets of Manhattan one night. Woody explained this whole situation and asked if Pete knew anyone with a typewriter who'd be willing to let Woody use it. Pete allowed that the fellow he was staying with had such a machine and that Woody could probably use it. On the way over to the apartment Woody picked up a jug of wine to help fuel the process. At the apartment, Woody sitting down at the typewriter, would type a verse and then stand up and try it out on the guitar. Pete watched and listened for quite a while and then went to sleep. When he woke up the next morning he found the finished song in the typewriter, an empty jug of wine, and Woody asleep on the floor. Woody said he wrote the song for those folks who didn't have two bucks to buy the book or even thirty five cents to see the movie.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Recordings of Tom Joad?
From: Francy
Date: 27 May 02 - 04:50 AM

Nancy and I are working hard on a production for the Toledo Folk Music Club for Friday, June 14th. It will be a local presentation called Celebration of Woody Guthrie in story and song......We are using local musicians and poets to tell the story of Woody's lifein words and music....A narrator will present his biography....a local poet will recite some of Woody's quotes on the songs he wrote, and we have ten singers and pickers who will sing 22 of his songs throughout the show.......I have worked hard to try and balance it out in some sort of order....I'm very excited about it and am trying to set up a video taping of the show which will last about 2 and 1/2 hours......I'm going to do Tom Joad....I''ve been wanting to do this for years......Frank of Toledo.....


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Subject: RE: Recordings of Tom Joad?
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 27 May 02 - 02:57 PM

Thanks for the responses

"Woody is just Woody. Thousands of people do not know he has any other name. He is just a voice and a guitar. He sings the songs of a people and I suspect that he is, in a way, that people. Harsh voiced and nasal, his guitar hanging like a tire iron on a rusty rim, there is nothing sweet about Woody, and there is nothing sweet about the songs he sings. But there is something more important for those who will listen. There is the will of the people to endure and fight against oppression. I think we call this the American spirit."
John Steinbeck; quoted in Joe Klein, Woody Guthrie: A Life, London, 1981, p. 160.
and at http://www. geocities.com/Nashville/3448/guthrie.html
or alternatively http://www.fortunecity.com/tinpan/parton/2/guthrie.html

Guthrie had a similar regard for Steinbeck (or at least for the film based on a Steinbeck film). The fact that Guthrie was commissioned to write a song about the Grapes of Wrath should not make us think that Guthrie did not already hold the film in esteem. The Tom Joad page of the afore-mentioned Guthrie website* gives the story of the song's composition in both Guthrie's and Pete Seeger's words, but it also quotes a Guthrie People's World column circa 1940 which praises the film most highly. (*scroll down the page and click on Tom Joad)


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Subject: RE: Recordings of Tom Joad?
From: lamarca
Date: 28 May 02 - 06:48 PM

I originally started this thread because I knew and loved Andy Irvine's version of this song, but vaguely knew it wasn't the original tune. None of our few Woody Guthrie albums included his original version, and I was trying to find a recording of the song as Woody had set it - which is evidently to the tune of John Hardy, which Patrick Street used as the instrumental break in Irvine's version. Great song!


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Subject: RE: Recordings of Tom Joad?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 May 02 - 07:02 PM

This site's got Woody's review ofvthe film, as well as the text of the song and other stuff.

Seen the pitcher last night, Grapes of Wrath, best cussed pitcher I ever seen. The Grapes of Wrath, you know is about us pullin' out of Oklahoma and Arkansas, and down south, and a driftin' around over state of California, busted, disgusted, down and out, and a lookin' for work.

Shows you how come us to be that a way. Shows the dam bankers men that broke us and the dust that choked us, and comes right out in plain old English and says what to do about it.

It says you got to get together and have some meetins, and stick together, and raise old billy hell till you get youre job, and get your farm back, and your house and your chickens and your groceries and your clothes, and your money back.

Go to see Grapes of Wrath, pardner, go to see it and don't miss.

You was the star in that picture. Go and see your own self and hear your own words and your own song.

Woody Guthrie, in one of his People's World columns (1939-'40), reprinted in Woody Sez, New York, NY, 1975, p. 133.


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