Personnel: Woody Guthrie (vocals, guitar, harmonica); Woody Guthrie; Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee (harmonica); Cisco Houston (vocals, guitar); Sonny Terry (harmonica).
Liner Note Authors: Moses Asch; Anthony Seeger.
Recording information: 1940S.
Editor: Anthony Seeger.
A thematic compilation, STRUGGLE collects the best of Woody Guthrie's many social-activist songs. Like many folk singers of his generation, Guthrie was a fierce loyalist to leftist causes, including the fight against union busting, the Sacco and Vanzetti case, and socialist politics.
The 12 tracks on STRUGGLE are propaganda in the purest sense, illustrating strongly-held political views in musical terms. However, the strength of Woody Guthrie as a performer and songwriter is that the listener doesn't have to share Guthrie's political opinions in order to appreciate the songs. The power of "Buffalo Skinners" and "The Dying Miner" is in their imagery and musical strength. Decades later, the stories told in ballads like "The Ludlow Massacre" and "Pretty Boy Floyd" have much less specific resonance to listeners, but they remain impressive nonetheless. STRUGGLE is an often-fascinating collection, both musically and historically.