Happy new year: wake up and fight

Via Lists of Note, here’s some rulins from Woody Guthrie.

As 1941 drew to a close, the great Woody Guthrie sat and drew up an illustrated list of 33 resolutions for the following year, 1942. The charming result of his efforts, entitled “New Year’s Rulin’s,” can be enjoyed below.

Transcript follows. Image — a larger version of which is here — courtesy ofThe Woody Guthrie Foundation

Image: The Woody Guthrie Foundation; Large version here.

Transcript

NEW YEAR’S RULIN’S

1. WORK MORE AND BETTER
2. WORK BY A SCHEDULE
3. WASH TEETH IF ANY
4. SHAVE
5. TAKE BATH
6. EAT GOOD – FRUIT – VEGETABLES – MILK
7. DRINK VERY SCANT IF ANY
8. WRITE A SONG A DAY
9. WEAR CLEAN CLOTHES – LOOK GOOD
10. SHINE SHOES
11. CHANGE SOCKS
12. CHANGE BED CLOTHES OFTEN
13. READ LOTS GOOD BOOKS
14. LISTEN TO RADIO A LOT
15. LEARN PEOPLE BETTER
16. KEEP RANCHO CLEAN
17. DON’T GET LONESOME
18. STAY GLAD
19. KEEP HOPING MACHINE RUNNING
20. DREAM GOOD
21. BANK ALL EXTRA MONEY
22. SAVE DOUGH
23. HAVE COMPANY BUT DON’T WASTE TIME
24. SEND MARY AND KIDS MONEY
25. PLAY AND SING GOOD
26. DANCE BETTER
27. HELP WIN WAR – BEAT FASCISM
28. LOVE MAMA
29. LOVE PAPA
30. LOVE PETE
31. LOVE EVERYBODY
32. MAKE UP YOUR MIND
33. WAKE UP AND FIGHT

 

Published in: on January 1, 2013 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

No Direction Home

“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 on Woody Guthrie

From Mick Hartley:

A particularly poignant image from Dorothea Lange:

SHORPY_lange8b38486a
[Photo: Shorpy/Dorothea Lange for the Resettlement Administration]

August 1936. “Example of self-resettlement in California. Oklahoma farm family on highway between Blythe and Indio. Forced by the drought of 1936 to abandon their farm, they set out with their children to drive to California. Picking cotton in Arizona for a day or two at a time gave them enough for food and gas to continue. On this day they were within a day’s travel of their destination, Bakersfield. Their car had broken down en route and was abandoned.”

Full size.

As it’s Music Monday, and I haven’t honoured it for a while, here’s some songs. The road in the picture must be Route 466, the road that leaves the iconic Route 66 at Kingman, Arizona, ran through Bakersfield on to the California coast. These were the routes that carried thousands of migrants westward from the ecological and economic disaster of the Dust Bowl: half a million Americans made homeless, 15% of Oklahoma’s population moving to California.

Here’s Woody Guthrie and “Dust Cain’t Kill Me”, from his Dust Bowel Ballads, which Steinbeck was describing in the quote at the start of this post.

And here is Red Kilby doing “Bakersfield Sound”, explaining and celebrating the amazing musical culture created by the dustbowl migrants and their children in the interior of California. That’s the great Ralph Mooney on steel guitar; he passed away last year: incredibly influential in country music, but little known outside it.

Here’s a young ex-con Merle Haggard  singing “I’m A Lonesome Fugitive”  (“Down every road, there’s always one more city/I’m on the run, the highway is my home“) on the Buck Owens Ranch Show. Owens was the king of the Bakersfield sound.

And finally, here’s Merle again, with his Okie anthem, “Okie from Muskogee“, with Willie Nelson, in a lovely self-parodic mode:

Merle HaggardWorking Man’s Blues; Jesus ChristWoody Guthrie at 100Vigilante Man; Hobo’s Lullaby.

Music Mondays: Woody Guthrie at 100

[This post is cross-posted from Bob's Beats]

Saturday would have been Woody Guthrie’s 100th birthday (thanks to Carl for blogging about this already). Woody Guthrie is one of my favourite singers, and surely one of the greatest ever songwriters as well as a great American radical. As a wordsmith, he is up there with Bob Dylan (whose whole oeuvre is un-imaginable without Guthrie’s influence), with John Steinbeck or Kenneth Patchen.

My mother brought me up on Woody, and I believe her parents brought her up on him. I’ve passed him on to my sons, who sing songs like “Pretty Boy Floyd” and the Car Song.

A number of blogs have featured nice tributes to him: my comrade Jim Denham at Shiraz Socialist, Ernie at 27 Leggies, and Boyhowdy at Cover Lay Down. That last one is covers, of which Jeffrey Foucault’s “Philadelphia Lawyer“, John McCutcheon’ “1913 Massacre“, Pierce Pettis’ “Pastures Of Plenty” and Slaid Cleaves‘ “This Morning I Am Born Again” are particularly good. Beck is not up there with them, but is surprisingly good.

I’ve written a fair amount on Woody before, at BobFromBrockley and Poumista. Here’s some links: “Folk music”, folk music, trad jazz, and the trad left; This Land Is Our Land; Good and bad versions of Deportees; Our Humanly Race; Stalinist songs of the Spanish Civil War (scroll down); Jesus Christ; We Shall Be Free; Vigilante Man; Hobo’s Lullaby.

Like Jim, I have reservations about a hagiographic approach to Woody Guthrie, who was at the very least a close fellow traveller of the Communist Party at a time when the Stalinist regime was committing some of the worst crimes of the twentieth century. (Jim recommends Scott Borchert’s very interesting “Woody Guthrie: Redder than Remembered” from Monthly Review.) But that does not diminish him as an artist in my eyes.

I’ve had a hard time choosing which song to accompany with post with, but I think “Jesus Christ”, which Carl’s post featured, is the right one:

Published in: on July 16, 2012 at 4:26 pm  Comments (3)  
Tags:

75 years of the Spanish revolution

 

First, we are at war. And it is a war that will be long. We are poorly organized and our people do not know what war is. – Andre Nin, summer 1936

Phil writes:

On 19th July 1936, the working class of Barcelona and Madrid succeeded in defeating the army and repelling the fascists in their attempt to take over Spain. It marked the beginning of an anarchist revolution, the lessons of which remain relevant 75 years later.
There are numerous accounts and analyses of the revolution’s successes and failures in print and on the internet. This article from Do or die at the 70th anniversary provides a succinct overview, whilst An Anarchist FAQ goes into considerably more depth from a theoretical standpoint. The pamphlet Towards a Fresh Revolution, written by the Friends of Durruti in 1938, offers a radical position from in the midsts of the war as it raged on.
However, to mark the anniversary, I would like to draw people’s attention to the documentary Living Utopia: The Anarchists and the Spanish Revolution. Featuring personal testimonies from numerous anarcho-syndicalist militants who took part, it is in my view a fitting way to mark this anniversary of a significant milestone in revolutionary class struggle.

Robert writes:

July 19, 2011 marks the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, and the remarkable social revolution which followed. Gaston Leval (1895-1978) was the great chronicler of the positive accomplishments of the Spanish anarchists and people during the Spanish Revolution and Civil War. In the following short piece, published in Resistance Volume XII, No. 1, April 1954, Leval describes the process of collectivization which spread through various areas of Spain, often spontaneously, and the obstacles ranged against the collectives. Leval deals with the collectives in much greater detail in his book, Collectives in the Spanish Revolution (London: Freedom Press, 1975). I included excerpts from that book in Chapter 23 of Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas, Volume One: From Anarchy to Anarchism (300CE-1939), Selection 126, “Libertarian Democracy.” [READ THE REST]

The poster above, via La Bataille socialiste, is for an exhibition in Barcelona, that Sarah went to see. Sarah reports that the exhibition had English language editions of the POUM’s Spanish Revolution newsletter from 1937. Anyone has images of these or pdfs or text or anything, please let me and Sarah know.

 

More from Trebian, Andrew Blackman, Chris Hall, Stuart Christie.

Feast your eyes on images from Getty and at MSNBC’s photo blog.

Watch: Land and Freedom. Londoners note:

Haringey Independent Cinema are showing Ken Loach’s film land and Freedom on Thursday 21st July at 7.15pm, West Green learning Centre, West Green Road, London N15. More information from RAHN.

Listen: Stalinist songs of the Spanish “civil war” volume 1 (Pete Seeger, Ernst Busch) and 2 (Woody Guthrie).

Music Monday 2: Jesus Christ

Happy Easter!

Merle Haggard: Jesus Christ

Here’s the original by Woody Guthrie. I hesitate to add this, because I hate Bono so much, but here’s Bono talking about the song.

Hat tip Emma.

Published in: on April 25, 2011 at 4:17 pm  Comments (4)  
Tags: , , , ,

Music Mondays: You shall be free, We shall be free, I shall be free

From a truly wonderful blog, The Old Weird America:

The 17th of October 1928, in Johnston City, Tennessee, Mr and Mrs Reed recorded one session for Columbia. They were probably coming from the nearby regions of Virginia or Kentucky along with other people coming to record this day. Like many before and after them, they would go back to their regulary life, after having fixed their home-made folk music on disc for posterity…

bigleadbelly-Apart from their version of “The old lady and the devil” that was included on the Anthology, i know of only one other side from them. It’s called “You shall be free” , which will become “We shall be free” interpreted by Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly and “I shall be free” with Bob Dylan’s version…

So, here they are:

1.You Shall be free by Bill & Belle Reed MP3

2.We shall be free by Woody Guthrie & Leadbelly (from  ”The Original Vision” on Folkways) MP3

3.I shall be free by Bob Dylan  (from “The Freewheelin’ Bob DylanMP3

Listening to this three tracks side by side , it revealed before me the great picture of american folk music on record, the three generations that shaped its tradition. First, you have the “real folks”, people that were recorded in the twenties and thirties, but carried with them a long oral tradition that predates the recording industry. Then came Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly, the two greatest figures of the folk movement of the forties, that was more involved with social issues and politics, already on the marge of the recording industry and “popular music”. And finally, you have Bob Dylan and the “folk revival” of the fifties and sixties, that reflects the heritage of what came before him and represented the new conscience of young people in America and all over the world in search of an alternative  to the mass-entertainement culture and an authentic tradition to hang on to.

Hoping that one day, You, We, I shall be free…

Here’s Woody and Leadbelly. This was one of the songs I was brought up on:

Published in: on February 28, 2011 at 11:05 am  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , , ,

Music Mondays: Vigilante Man

Ry Cooder

Nazareth:

Original: Woody Guthrie

[From the 1975 documentary: "Brother Can You Spare a Dime." Footage from Bonus Riots of 1932, San Francisko General Strike 1934, Republic Steel Strike 1937, General Motors Labor Strike 1937, etc.]

About the song: Will Kaufman

Previously: Ry Cooder: Christmas in Southgate; Woody: Hobo’s Lullaby; Woody: All the right enemies; Woody: Alll you fascists.

Published in: on January 24, 2011 at 10:56 pm  Comments (4)  
Tags: , ,

Music Mondays: Hobo’s lullaby

For Nathan and Seth, and for my mother and late grandparents…

I always thought this song was by Woody Guthrie, but it turns it out it is by Goebel Reeves. Here’s Woody’s version:

Here’s a snippet from a Woody Guthrie documentary (not sure which one), with the beautiful Emmylou Harris singing, taken from the brilliant Folkways A Vision Shared tribute to Woody and Leadbelly:

Here’s a nice version by Woody’s son Arlo Guthrie:

This is the version I was brought up with, by the old Stalinist Pete Seeger, and it’s this version that I sing to my kids at bedtime:

Finally, a more recent version by Bruce Springsteen:

Lyrics and variations here.

Previously: Arlo; Woody.

A month of music Mondays: Arlo Guthrie

Arlo Guthrie: Deportees

Music elsewhere: check out Sin Dios at Entdinhlichung, Spanish anti-fascist punk.

Published in: on August 23, 2010 at 12:17 pm  Comments (4)  
Tags: ,

A month of music Mondays: Woody Guthrie

Woody Guthrie: All You Fascists Bound To Lose

Published in: on August 16, 2010 at 12:16 pm  Comments (5)  
Tags:

All The Right Enemies

From Slack Bastard:

The death of Grods has brought new life to the blogosphere, and A Fresh Start in August. I’d tell Bron to cheer up but the definition of a pessimist is someone who hasn’t yet heard the bad news. Instead, I’ll simply refer to the title of Dorothy Gallagher’s biography of Carlo Tresca: All the Right Enemies.

Often described as a “freelance revolutionary,” Carlo Tresca (1879-1943) was one of the most compelling and colorful figures of the American left prior to World War II. A newspaper editor, labor organizer, civil libertarian, anarchist, anti-Fascist and anti-Stalinist, Tresca had absorbed his fiery socialist principles and had been active as a trade-unionist and editor in his native Abruzzi before immigrating to the United States in 1904.

After joining the International Workers of the World (IWW) in 1912, Tresca was involved in a number of strikes, including the Lawrence, Massachusetts textile strike (1912), the New York City hotel workers’ strike (1913), the Paterson silk strike (1913), and the Mesabi Range, Minnesota, miners’ strike (1916). He edited a newspaper called L’Avvenire (The Future), first in Pennsylvania and, from 1913, in New York City. Its successor, from 1917, was Il Martello (The Hammer). Tresca’s uncompromising anarcho-syndicalist views resulted in frequent clashes with local and federal authorities, and repeated confiscation of his publications.

He devoted considerable energy to campaigning on behalf of Sacco and Vanzetti in the 1920s and also became preoccupied with the struggle against fascism. Pursued by the U. S. government at the behest of the Mussolini regime, he survived several assassination attempts by fascist supporters. The Spanish Civil War intensified his anti-Communist activity and propaganda, earning him more enemies on the American left.

On the evening of January 11, 1943, Tresca was shot to death on the sidewalk in front of his office at Fifth Avenue and 15th Street. Over the years there has been a lively debate about which of Tresca’s many enemies might have been behind the murder. His murder was never prosecuted.

In the same post, Slack Bastard notes:

Poumista, as ever, offers a truly superb neat-o experience dining on radical history… although Poumista’s blogroll suffers from one, rather obvious, lapse.

I’ll correct that ommission when I finish this post.

Also in the same post, this link:

ZAPAGRINGO is a blog by RJ Maccani, who sounds like a righteous d00d. His (?) blog documents the continuing relevance and global effects of the Zapatista uprising of 1994, a revolt by some of the poorest, most oppressed sectors of Mexican society, whose struggles continue and whose determination continues to inspire creative resistance everywhere.

Finally, a great Billy Bragg and Wilco YouTube: Woody Guthrie’s ‘Aginst Th’ Law’ from Mermaid Avenue Volume II.

Talking of Woody, here’s a snippet from a communist blog:

I am a communist. According to a number of talking heads and a handful of vocal rightist mobs, I should be ecstatic. After all, they say a bona fide socialist is sitting in the White House at this very moment! But skewed politics and fear mongering aside, the reality is that Obama is as far from socialism as I am from George Bush.

Socialism is born out of proletarian revolution, in which the working masses rise up and take control of the tools and technology they use for making and distributing the things people want and need. In the process of democratizing production and reorganizing it to meet human need, the working class does away with the very basis for the existence of classes. This opens the door to the establishment of communism, a worldwide, classless society in which all affairs are administered in common. This is what was advocated as historic necessity by people like Albert Einstein, Woody Guthrie, Jack London, Harry Belafonte, Stephen Jay Gould and Karl Marx.

Read the rest. It’s relevant to this.

Sorry, I said finally, but this Slackster post on ex-Sojourner Truth Organization cadre Leonard Zeskin is kind of relevant to our topic.

Seven songs for Spring

I’ve been quite a reticent blogger until recently, but seem to have got it more or less worked out now, although I’m not as sociable as a good blogger should be. Nonetheless, I seem to have arrived in the ‘sphere, by being tagged for a meme by someone I consider a fairly big league blogger, Roland of But I Am A Liberal. The instructions are this:

“List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your spring. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they’re listening to.”

Well, here we go. Not very spring-like, I know.

1. Leonard Cohen “The Partisan”
Here’s two versions from YouTube – poor quality live, with Spanish subtitles, or good quality from the record, with cool slide show. Here’s the story of the song, originally “La complainte du partisan”, written in London during 1943, by Emmanuel D’Astier de la Vigerie (called “Bernard” in the French Resistance, a Stalinist til 1956, then an anti-Stalinist) and Anna Marly. (Here‘s Marly’s version.)

2. The Pogues “Lorca’s Novena”

YouTube here, last.fm here, homepage here.

Ignacio lay dying in the sand
A single red rose clutched in a dying hand
The women wept to see their hero die
And the big black birds gathered in the sky

Mother of all our joys, mother of all our sorrows
Intercede with him tonight
For all of our tomorrows

The years went by and then the killers came
And took the men and marched them up the hill of pain
And Lorca the faggot poet they left till last
Blew his brains out with a pistol up his arse

Mother of all our joys….

The killers came to mutilate the dead
But ran away in terror to search the town instead
But Lorca’s corpse, as he had prophesied, just walked away
And the only sound was the women in the chapel praying

Mother of all our joys….

I was tempted to pick “The Sick Bed of Cuchulainn”,  some of the backstory here.

3. Victor Jara “Luchin”

See also two other songs I love: Arlo Guthrie’s “Victor Jara” (words by the late Adrian Mitchell), and Calexico’s “Victor Jara’s Hands”. [Download mps of last from HaHa Music, Captains Dead, Tonegents.]

4. Manu Chao “Desaparecido”

Last.fm/YouTube; homepage.

I carry on me a pain and sorrow,
that doesn’t let me breathe,
I carry on me a final sentence,
That’s always pushing me along

They call me the disappearer
when they come I’ve already gone,
Flying I come, flying I go
Quickly, quickly on a lost course.

5. Gotan Project “Santa Maria (Del Buen Ayre)”

YouTube/Last.fm; MySpace. Everyone knows this I guess. It’s a bit too ubiquitous, on loads of TV ads, but it’s still great.

6. Woody Guthrie “Hard Travellin'”

I wanted to pick something by Woody, as I’ve been listening to him a lot recently. Browsing through YouTube, I found a slightly lame Klezmatics version of “Mermaid Avenue”, some live footage of “Ranger’s Command” from 1945, and “All You Fascist’s Are Bound To Lose” with Sonny Terry from a (WWII-era?) radio show. However, “Hard Travellin'” is the Woody song I first fell in love with, many years ago.

7. The Durutti Column “Homage To Catalonea

Lovely summery Spanish guitar from my favourite post-punk proto-glitch outfit. On album Vini Reilly. Included in a great playlist here.

I’m tagging: Renegade Eye, Fat Man on a Keyboard, Terry Glavin, Francis Sedgemore, Hak Mao, History is Made at Night and (why not?) Nick Cohen.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 209 other followers