Down Beat - 9/97, p.535 stars (out of 5)
- "Guthrie...[is] one of the major figures in the story of American music....he had his finger on the pulse of working-class life....excellent sound reproduction."
Village Voice (4/15/97, p.62) - "The godfather as protean wordslinger on a digitally-remastered-from-original-acetates recanonization, 27 tracks...that honor his verbal genius....an introduction perfect enough to accommodate obscurities and surprises..." - Rating: A
Also available as part of a box set on Folkways (40112).
Personnel: Woody Guthrie (vocals, guitar, mandolin, harmonica); Cisco Houston (guitar, background vocals); Sonny Terry (harmonica).
Compilation producers: Guy Logsdon, Jeff Place.
Recorded in New York, New York between 1944 and 1947. Includes liner notes by Guy Logsdon and Jeff Place.
Between 1940 and 1952, folk legend Woody Guthrie recorded over 300 songs for the equally legendary folk producer Moses Asch. In 1997, Smithsonian Folkways released the first of four CDs chronicling the musical partnership between these two men, initiating in the process the definitive collection of Guthrie compositions and recordings. THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND is the first and most accessible of the volumes, including many of Guthrie's most popular songs.
Among the titles found on THIS LAND are the title track, "Philadelphia Lawyer," (later a hit for Rose Maddox), "Hobo's Lullaby," "Jesus Christ," "Do Re Mi," "Grand Coulee Dam," and "Pastures of Plenty." Some of the lesser-known tracks are primarily of historical interest (such as a song tearing into Charles Lindbergh's opposition to U.S. entry into World War II), while others stand the test of time remarkably well. Three versions of the title song appear, among them a take (long presumed to be lost) including the famous "anti-private property" verse. Guthrie infuses his songs with ample servings of wit, which helps the politics go down smooth and easy.