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Woody Guthrie’s "This Land is Your Land"

Folk legend Woody Guthrie at 100 and his timeless song, “This Land is Your Land.”

This undated file photo shows folk singer Woody Guthrie playing his guitar and singing.  (AP)

This undated file photo shows folk singer Woody Guthrie playing his guitar and singing. (AP)

Woody Guthrie wrote “This Land is Your Land” in a nothing-special hotel in New York, in the middle of writing a bunch of other songs. Wrote it longhand in a child’s school composition notebook. It sat in that notebook for years. It’s not clear he thought much of it.

But it got out, into school songbooks around the country. And took off, like a second national anthem. This land is your land, this land is my land, from California, to the New York island.

This hour, On Point: in the centennial year of Guthrie’s birth, the deep story behind the song.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guest

Robert Santelli, co-director of the Woody Guthrie Centennial Celebration and executive director of the Grammy Museum. He’s the author of This Land is Your Land: Woody Guthrie and the Journey of an American Folksong.

John McCutcheon, a folk musician, he released an album of all-Woody Guthrie music, This Land: Woody Guthrie’s America.

Tom Morello, Grammy-award winning guitarist and songwriter who has palyed “This Land Is Your Land” at Occupy movements around the country. Best-known for his work with Rage Against The Machine, he has also played with Audioslave, Street Sweeper Social Club, and the acoustic solo act Nightwatchman.

From Tom’s Reading List

Tulsa World “It’s simple enough that children can sing it – Guthrie’s daughter Nora first learned the song when it was used at her Brooklyn elementary school in lieu of the more musically challenging “The Star-Spangled Banner” at assemblies.”

L.A. Times “As much as anything he tried to do with his music and in his life, Woody Guthrie consistently stressed the “unity” in “community,” an attitude that was fully embraced by some three dozen participants in Saturday’s kickoff event in a yearlong national and international salute to the legacy of America’s greatest folk troubadour, who would have turned 100 on July 14.”

MTV “Woody Guthrie was the most important American folk music artist of the first half of the 20th century, in part because he turned out to be such a major influence on the popular music of the second half of the 20th century, a period when he himself was largely inactive.”

Video: This Land Is Your Land

Hear Woody Guthrie sing his iconic song in this video.

Video: Tom Morello Plays ‘This Land’

Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello plays Woody’s song in this video.

Lyrics: This Land Is Your Land Original 1944 Lyrics

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.

As I went walking that ribbon of highway
I saw above me that endless skyway
I saw below me that golden valley
This land was made for you and me.

I roamed and I rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
While all around me a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me.

When the sun came shining, and I was strolling
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
A voice was chanting, As the fog was lifting,
This land was made for you and me.

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.

As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.

In the squares of the city, In the shadow of a steeple;
By the relief office, I’d seen my people.
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking,
Is this land made for you and me?

Playlist

“This Land Is Your Land” (short version) Moses Asch Recordings
“This Land is Your Land” by (This Land is Your Land Karaoke)
“Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad” by Alan Lomax Recordings
“Vigilante Man” by Alan Lomax Recordings
Pretty Boy Floyd” by Alan Lomax Recordings
“When the World’s On Fire” by The Carter Family
“God Bless America” by (CBS’s “The Kate Smith Hour”, 1938)
“Jesus Christ” Moses Asch Recordings
“This Land is Your Land” (LIVE) by Tom Morello
“The Ghost of Tom Joad” by Bruce Springsteen, Tom Morello
“Song to Woody” by Bob Dylan
“1913 Massacre” by John McCutcheon
“This Land Is You Land” 2008 Inauguration by Bruce Springsteen, Pete Seeger
“This Land is Your Land” (LIVE) by Children’s Concert, Pete Seeger 1962

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  • Drew You Too

    Great man, great song. It makes me sad though that the only line from the song most of us adhere to these days is “This Land is MY Land”. I’m more of the “This Land was made for You and Me” mindset. Looking forward to the show.

  • http://twitter.com/TweeterSmart b smart

    lets make it the new national anthem!  :)

  • Anonymous

    Nobody channels Woody like Springsteen.  His cover of “This Land is Your Land” is among the best.

  • http://twitter.com/TweeterSmart b smart

    i can’t think about this song without also thinking about Home on the Range. i don’t tend to be overly nationalistic but hearing these songs makes me literally yearn for my homeland (i don’t currently live in the us). they also to me seems to have a native environmentalism to me and make me want to save THIS 
    LAND for the coming generations!

    (go UK! sorry i had to)

  • U.S. Vet.

    In 2012, “This land” (America) belongs to Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and the other big Wall Street banks who have ruined this country financially with their advocacy for the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act which paved the way for credit default swaps and derivatives.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      You right about that and there are more anomalies in the financial world that we don’t know about.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    To choose between Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan neither. I prefer the king of grunge Neil Young.

  • Brett

    Guthrie also wrote, “Do-Re-Mi,” as in “if you ain’t got the…” 

  • Nick D

     I hope Springsteen gets a mention on today’s show. Much of his material is in a very similar vein to this song in particular. Misunderstood critiques of American society…”Born in the USA?” anyone?

  • Brett

    Without Guthrie there probably wouldn’t have been a Bob Dylan. At the very least there would have been a very different sounding Dylan, for sure. 

  • Brett

    I remember loving singing the song as a kid…although, I found the song, “Erie Canal,”  to be more haunting (most likely because it is in a minor key). 

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    We were taught this song in elementary school–without the second half, alas.  How often is that the case?

  • Marc

    I’m concerned, so far, that you’re reducing Woody to “This Land is Your Land.”  Bostonians would appreciate that he wrote the words to the Fenway Park anthem “Shipping Up to Boston” that was featured in the movie The Departed (recorded by The Dropkick Murphys).

  • Lee

    In 2012 we should be singing, this land is their land and they want you have mowed and manicured for minimum wage with no benefits.

  • Liz

    We sang an alternate version as kids. Does anyone remember this version or know where it originated? I have no memory of where we learned it or why.

    This land is my land, this land ain’t your land.
    I got a shotgun, and you ain’t got one.
    I’ll blast your head off, if you don’t get off.
    This land is private property.
     

    • Joe in JP

      i think that was richard nixon’s version.

      • TomK in Boston

        No, nixon is a rad liberal by contemporary standards. That’s Ryan/Romney version.

        • Modavations

          Let me get this straight.Romney gets elected in Ma.and is radical.The Dem.Party of Ma.makes the Kremlin blush

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       We had something like that too.  Isn’t it what children do to songs all the time, like the alternate versions of the Battle Hymn of the Republic–Glory, glory hallelujah, teacher hit me with a ruler. . .

  • Joe in JP

    we learned it as:
     
    this land is my landit isn’t your landi’ve got a shot gunand you ain’t got oneyou’d better get offor i’ll blow your head offthis land was made for only me.
    When I heard the real version, I was incredibly angry.  Then again, I went to elementary school in Tea Party Heartland.

  • Davidjweinstein1

    Where’s Arlo?

    • Anonymous

      Western Massachusetts

    • Modavations

      Methadone Clinic

  • Gerald MacDonald

    We sing the same song in Canada. 

    This land is your land
    This land is my land
    From Bonavista
    To Vancouver Island,
    From the Arctic Circle
    Tto the Great Lakes waters,
    This land was made for you and me.

    It’s a universal song.  When watching what’s taking place in your country and my country Canada, I wonder what is going on.  Does the land belong to the rich only?

    Great show as always.

  • Mmasse

    As we remember Woody Guthrie, it is a good time to note the battle against Huntington’s Disease is still on-going. Visit http://www.hdsa.org/mach/index.html to see what is hapenning locally.

  • Heather

    My second-grade daughter just performed this song — solo & a cappella, despite her natural shyness — at her elementary school’s talent show last week.  The song is continuing to move and to motivate today.

  • Anonymous

    Michael Jonathon in Lexington, KY is working on a piece known as Woody Guthrie, the Opera.  Also at a Girl Scout camp in the 70′s I learned a harmony to go with the chorus.  It went this land is your land, this land is mine. From Maine to Montana, desert to the Shore. I singing this land is your land this land is mine. This land was made for you and me.

  • Anonymous

    How ironic to have this show on Woody Guthrie after the one about micro labor.

  • Ljlv

    We sing This Land is Your Land each year in my third grade classroom. My students love it, and we’ve created hand movements to accompany the singing. There’s a beautiful book of the song that I hold up and turn pages as we sing. The kids love to scour the pages to connect the words with the wonderful drawings of our country. Yes, this song is alive and well in the American classroom!
    Lynn

  • Lee

    I was thinking that the the May1st general strike called by Occupy was not realistic but after listening to these OnPoint programs today I am reconsidering… that and Paul Ryan’s budget.

  • John in Vermont

    I find it funny that this and other Woody songs along with Leadbelly and the Weavers (aka Paul Campbell) were in school song books as they were being investigated by the House Un-American Activities Committee.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Sometimes it seems to me that an entertainer’s life story is mainly about wrangling with the need for publicity/fame and the problems fame brings with it, dislocations from much of what “regular life” is composed of.  
        I have wondered why I hear so little about Woodie Guthrie, and from reading Wikipedia, it seems part of my insulation was his communist leanings, and the McCarthy era and Cold War putting a hex on such people, and secondly, there would be insulation if someone had a neurological disorder, “mental illness,” and Huntington’s disease is certainly one of those, and it seems that afflicted him for a couple of decades till his death in 1967.  
        But then if you read his life, he had eight children, and there is more drama:  “None of Guthrie’s three remaining children with Marjorie has developed symptoms of Huntington’s. Two of Mary Guthrie’s children (Gwendolyn and Sue) suffered from the disease. (Her son Bill died in an auto-train accident in Pomona, California, at age 23.)[63] Both died at 41 years of age.”  
        This man had an ongoing well of difficult experience to draw from, so it is no wonder — he didn’t have to borrow “issues.”  They were always all around him.  Success could not capture him the way it captures other celebrities.   If success flirted with him, he shrugged it off; he had “commitments” — to The People.   Interesting to read about his stint with the Merchant Marine during World War II, dishwashing and so on.

  • John in Vermont

    We all know of the Library of Congress and Folkways recordings and their legacy but Woody was literally the last of the troubadors.  His big impact was traveling between the Okie camps and the labor gatherings singing and teaching them the songs of their experience.

  • Kate Wolff

    I always found this song disturbing. I couldn’t help but compare it to our immigrant history and the fact that this land is “our” land because “we” massacred the people here before us, the indiginous peoples living here for thousands of years before “us.” I imagine Woody didn’t intend it to be that way, but I found it ominous that the fact that the beauty of this nation was built on theft, killing, and disregard for the original peoples. Do we deserve this land?

    • Ellen Dibble

      It seems to me the indigenous people were good custodians of this continent for thousands of years, and those values are badly needed, and we know it.  And amazingly, there are Native Americans who are still here, and eager to participate, and make their values part of our reality once again.  
          Arguably, we have brought unforeseeable benefits to this continent and all its people; and plenty of Americans, at least where I live, are part Native American.  So this land is theirs as well as ours.   I’m hoping one will run for president someday.

    • Modavations

      There are no indigenous peoples.The so called indigenous came from Mongolia 19,000 years ago

    • Commenting

      You want a (somewhat) mind blowing perspective shift about indigenous people? Read this. 
      http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2011/05/11/jp-morgan-hunt-afghan-gold/

  • Garry

    Check out Tom Russell’s tribute song to Woody Guthrie, “Woodrow” on his recording “Hotwalker”

  • Josh McDonald

    Thank you, too, for including a clip of Woody’s song “Jesus Christ” — a perfect anthem to lead us into Easter weekend!

  • Modavations

    Woody,woody,woody…..Named for the President who reintstituted govt.racism.

         Bob Dylan was far cooler then Woody.Woody was a hard core Communist(atheist),while Bob Dylan was just high.

    • Anonymous

      The king of mendacity is back.

      • Modavations

        Your comments on Woodrow Wilsons Racism is what?

        • Anonymous

          That you are a silly old man who thinks he’s being provocative and is really just boring as hell.  What is wrong with you?

          • Modavations

            Remember our discussion about Moth’s seeking lt bulbs?

  • TomK in Boston

    Woody was a product of the first Great Depression, caused by the bursting of the bubble caused by deregulated corporations and oligarchs running amok. Even though FDR was doing the right things, change takes time, and Woody was all about fighting corporate power and the Ryan/Romney types. So it’s very topical to have a show about him, but it’s too bad the focus is not on the GoP time machine bringing us back to the bad old days. We need another Woody right now! Springsteen has done a little, but no prominent performer is as overtly political as Woody. 

    • Modavations

      Why was FDR against Public Unions and what would Woody have sung

    • Anonymous

      Billy Bragg is. Joe Strummer was.
      Neil Young. Joan Baez.

      • Modavations

        Strummer gave up the Commie crap the same time I did, about 1985.Billy Bragg has a fan club of 7 people,none are under 60

        • Anonymous

          Oui Vay.

          • Modavations

            What is this a rabid translation of oy vey?

          • Anonymous

            It’s called a typo. Given the huge volume of mistakes you make with punctuation and spelling, I should think you might want to be more vigilant on your own posts and not others.

  • T. Bear 98109

    I truly appreciate this show and agree with almost all aspects of it, however the connection of Bruce Springstein to true labor hero’s like Wood Guthrie, Pete Seager, Bob Dillan and others like them is unfounded.  I was the leader of a small theatrical union in Seattle when Bruce Sprinstein came into town.  We and the Teamsters had a picket line up because the employers of both our workers locked us out.  Bruce went through both of our pickets croched down in his limo and later told the crowd that the labor problem had nothing to do with him.  I seriously doubt that Pete Seager or any other true labor trubadours would cross a picket line and throw it off as nothing to do with him.  Bruce Spingstein may be a great singer, but he is nothing less than a hypocrit when it comes to being a singer of the working man and woman.  

    • TomK in Boston

      Sorry to hear that. 

      We could really use Woody or Seager singing about the Ryan budget, foreclosures, student loan debt, the Bay Bridge being rehabbed with steel from china, etc.

      Remote Area Medical, which brings health care to the 3′rd world, is now operating in the USA. Here are instructions for Americans who want to visit their clinics:

      Be sure to arrive early. The clinic opens at 6:00 a.m., and patients are seen on a first-come, first-served basis. Lines can be long and start early in the morning. Numbers will be given out around 3:30 a.m. each day prior to the clinic opening. For the best chance of being seen, plan to arrive by 3:30 a.m. on the day you wish to receive treatment. Be prepared for cool weather and bring snacks. Once registered, be prepared for long waits before being seen by a doctor.

      I bet Woody could make a song out of that!

      • Modavations

        Takes a year for an MRI in London

        • TomK in Boston

          Don’t forget to say “death panels”, and that medicare will bankrupt the USA unless we “save it for the kids” by eliminating it for them.

          • Modavations

            Here’s what Woody would have sung.Eliminate kids,or privatize insurance,like the’re doing in England.

          • TomK in Boston

            That’s terrible, all the time an MRI takes in London. The Brits must be dropping like flies. I’m glad we live so much longer than the foreign socialists in the USA.

          • Modavations

            Check their teeth.

        • Anonymous

          Which is significantly shorter than the waiting time for you to contribute a truthful comment.

          • Modavations

            Two months just to have the MRI diagnosed

      • Modavations

        Good luck.The Welfare crowd doesn’t rise till the crack of noon

        • Anonymous

          You are a sorry excuse for a human being.

  • Max in Vermont

    Happy Birthday Woody Guthrie! And thanks Tom for doing the show. Woody wrote a whole bunch of family songs under the album titles: “Songs to Grow on for Mother and Child” and “Nursery Days” with songs like: “Wake up; Clean-o; Dance Around; Riding in my Car (Car song); Don’t you Push me Down; My Dolly; Put Your Finger in the Air; Come See; Race you Down the Mountain; Howdido; Merry-go-round; Sleep eye; and My Yellow Crayon.” Folkways Records and Alan Lomax put them on vinyl in the 40′s & 50′s (you can get them on cd’s now). Woody introduced the songs in a most friendly and inviting way in a little lyrics booklet inside the record jackets. He wrote: 
    “…As for me, my own self, I don’t want to see you use my songs to divide nor split your school nor your family all apart. I mean, don’t just buy this record and take it home so your kids can listen to it while you go off and do something else… I want to see you join right in… Let your kids teach you how to play and how to act these songs out (These and a thousand other songs.)… Get your whole fam damly into the fun. Get poppa. Get momma. Get brother. Get sister. Get aunty. Get uncle. Get Grandma. Grandpa. The friends. The neighbors. Everybody.” [contagious inclusion!] “…Please, please, please don’t read nor sing my songs like no lesson book, like no text for today. But let them be a little key to sort of unlock and let down all of your old bars… The kids have taught me all I know or ever hope to know…”     Well, I grew up with those songs in the 50′s and 60′s and taught  myself how to play guitar with Woody’s easy-to-play tunes. And I kept playing and singing them for all the kids and families I had the fortune to know and care for in the work I’ve done all my growing-up life. He sings about Everyday-Everything with a kid’s point of view, with a full respect for kids’ experience. “Nursery Days” and “Songs to Grow on for Mother and Child” are fun and a little mischievous, silly and serious; they make you want to make up your own songs and share ‘em all around – and all you need for that kind of fun are your voices!From “Howdido” on Nursery days:”I feel glad when you feel good, You brighten up my neighborhood, Shakin’ hands with ev’rybody, Howjido, howjido,Shakin’ hands with everybody, howjido!” 

  • Modavations

    If Woody were around today he could wring his hands,bleed a little and sing about student loans.He could bleed some more and sing about the Supreme Court the Pres.keeps threatening,or perhaps he could bleed and sing about the high tech lynching of Mr.Zimmerman….My idea of a real folkie is Senor Bragg.Mr. Springsteen is a total fraud in my opinion.

    • Anonymous

      Given your comments on this forum I doubt you and Billy Bragg would have much in common. Funny how you despise socialist and that’s what Bragg is and he’s not ashamed to admit it. I dare say you are full of it.

      • Modavations

        How could you not like “Great Leap Foward”?.I listen to the music not the words.I Also love the Clash.By the way at 6.00 per hour you’d be overpaid.Thank god for union jobs,.I can see the Rabies still afflicts.At your age the Death Panel wouldn’t be correct to deny you care

        • Anonymous

          You listen to the music, and not the words.
          That figures.

          • Modavations

            Music for melody,prose for thoughts.For four years I listened to the D.J.’s in Joburg.Loved the music,but have not the slighest as to what the songs were about.

          • Anonymous

            Well you understand Bragg and Guthrie, no doubt.

          • Modavations

            Never listened to Woody and I have an English Dictionary to translate Mr.Braggs English.Seriously,I listen to melodies not words

          • Anonymous

            Maybe start with Strange Fruit.

          • Modavations

            The Other story,where you’d work for 12.00 an hour.Pay attention please

  • ValerieMartin

    I wish I had been able to call during the program but I was busy mapping “This Land Is Your Land” with second grade students at the Whittemore School in Waltham, MA.  The students still love to sing this song as much as we did when I was an elementary music student in the 60′s.  I’m surprised that no one mentioned a resource that I use when teaching this song, a beautifully illustrated book by Kathy Jakobsen of Woody’s words and music. This book contains a note by Nora Guthrie describing the research process that became Jokobsen’s book.  In it she says she realized “She *(Jakobsen) uncovered hundreds of miniscule details and facts and wove them together into a tapestry of his life, his music, his poitics,his travels, his family, and his ideas, hopes and dreams”  This is literally why I love to share this book as a way of teaching children about Woody and the song.  The complete text is lovingly rendered above beautifully detailed paintings of our nations beauty and misery.  The children can pour over what amounts to a catalog of national monuments, natural wonders, and communities, and the margins of each page contain quotations from Woody”  It is a masterful creation that takes a very complex period in our history as well as the life of an artist and speaks directly to the experience of my students as on a level that is accessible to seven and eight year olds. 

  • Modavations

    How ’bout,got them ‘ole GSA blues.

  • AJ

    With Obama’s treasonous signing of the NDAA, with which the federal goverment can now arrest, torture and kill Americans anywhere in the world at will and without a court order,

    “This Land” has now become a dictatorship for the elite 1%.

    • Modavations

      I’m worried about CronyCapitalism,the Nazi economic model embraced by Obama regime.I’m worried about a Putsch

  • Modavations

    If Woody were around today and heard the news that Keith had been fired and Palin hired,he’d be apoplectic.Back in Stalin’s day this would never happen

    • CR

      “Back in Stalin’s day this would never happen”

      You got that right Slick, Stalin would send his critics to the Gulag to die from being overworked, lack of food, and exposure to extreme cold weather

      but a lefty like yourself would approve of that with glee.

      • Modavations

        Mr Guthrie was a communist,drunk and family abuser

    • aj

      Palin has a thing for black men.

      • aj

        Oh I’m sorry Mr. Moderations, was that a rascist remark, or was it a FACTual one?

        • Modavations

          Please translate.

          • aj

            Where you been anyways? Probably a bizness trip(rehab). Well welcome back brODA!

          • Modavations

            Buying blood silver for the mineral markets.Don’t worry though,my eyes are everywhere.Please straighten this out,are you the head anti-semite or is Hidan?.Is Hidan cool with you as NPR’s chief Uncle Tom,the Dems. Capo?

          • aj

            Please translate Capo into 21st century english, would you Fredrick Douglass?

          • Modavations

            Capos were Jews who lived a privileged life as long as they kept the guys in the Warsaw Ghetto under control.Just like The Rev.Al and Jesse. You don’t think these guys  send their kids to Public Schools?

          • Anonymous

            The capos were put in charge of the concentration camp population. The nazis used them to do most of the dirty work.
            They would beat and kill their own kind.
            Moda here has it wrong about the ghetto’s. In the ghetto’s they had political organizations and the capos were the cops so to speak.
            The city of Lodz is a really sad story. There were ghettos all over Poland and Eastern Europe.

            You want to read a real horror story, try reading up on Belarus and the Ukraine. In Belarus 1 in 4 died in the war.

        • aj

          Am I not the relief pitcher for the forums #1 rascist? Pay attention please

          • Modavations

            You’re too small a player.When you’re # 1 I’ll pay you your dues

          • aj

            You sound like Moe Green in the Godfather.

            ” Do you know who I am? I’m Moe Green! I made my bones when you were dating cheerleaders!”

      • Modavations

        I still don’t get it????

        • aj

          Google ‘Palin black men’ on the internet thingy

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1533237071 Maren Alford

    Glad 2 hear the entire song without the KGB/KBR influence. Maybe the latter day rewrite should go something like “This land is your land this land was their land- this land was stolen from people like you and me”. There was something “wrong” with most of our relatives- at least mine. I mean who exactly goes tro settle on land stolen via a genocide? Norwegians who didn’t like the idea of no “no trespassing” signs. To the natives: sorry it took so many of us so long to catch up. I figure – conservatively- that your people were ahead of us, on most if not all levels, by about 10,000 years. Now it is the land of coyote men and jackel women. Imagine- “free country”? this was free country and then the white people came.

  • Anonymous

    You really should have had Bucky Halker on the show.  A labor historian, singer-songwriter and board member of the Woody Guthrie Foundation and Archives, he would have had far more to offer the program than McCutcheon.

  • Dave in Wisconsin

    This song is an anthem for what truly makes ‘this land’ the United States of America … that it belongs to us all. But, privatization is quietly buying it all out from underneath us … and dividing us.

    End the privatization of our public infrastructures, institutions, and natural resources.

    This land belongs to you and me. Let’s keep it that way!

  • Flamingo Jeff

    I’ve always heard “This Land…” as a call to action

  • MeezaNY62

    Listening to Woody Guthrie’s “This land is your land” being used to further the Occupy movement today brought a tear to my eye.  I think Mr. G would be very proud.

  • Linda

    Whenever I hear this song I wonder how Native Americans feel about it.

    • Modavations

      There are no native Americans,there never were any

      • aj

        Of course there were no native Europeans either. So around 40,000B.C. homosapians invaded Europe and either slaughtered all the Neanderthals or just the males, and mated with the female ones.

        Maybe that’s why the white European male can’t help but commit genocide no matter where he goes.  Because he’s 2/5ths Neanderthal..

        Come to think of it, homosapians are only native to s.east Africa (sorry Israel). So do you extend your No-Native-Americans-theory to the other 3 inhabited continents? 

        • Modavations

          We all come from Olduvai Gorge.Any superficial differences are Natural Selection.

          • aj

            Been fun. Nite

          • Modavations

            Rest up.

          • Modavations

            Leakey would call us homosapiens

  • Modavations

    While Pres. Obama twice intimidated(a judge wants Pres.Obamas explanation in writing),the Supreme Court and told Russia,get me elected and we’ll deal later,Woody might have approved.When it comes to lynching Zimmerman,I think he would have given the man his day in court

    • aj

      Agreed. Give that lyin trigger-happy Neanderthal his day in court.  Now Why dont you go make a citizen’s arrest.

      • Modavations

        That must have hurt.I have a feeling that if we perused the original story,you’d have hung the man and hung him repeatedly

  • Modavations

    What would Woody think about the Unions as Stooges of the Democrats.40ish% of the AFL-CIO is Republican and Trumpka gives 100% to the Dems.That would make a good song

    • aj

      He wouldn’t like it one bit, since he and Paul Robeson campaigned for Wallace against a Dem. incumbent in the 48′ campaign. not one bit. But get reel, commercial unions are as dead as da woodman. R U scared of ghosts too?

      • Modavations

        Wrong again.Woody would click his heels like the rest of the apparatchik,so would Robeson

      • Modavations

        Lagos on Saturday night scares me,not a Capo.Wait,I get it now…..ghosts,”spooks”,just more of you’re coded racism

  • Modavations

    The court wants to know what the Pres.thinks by Thurs. at 12:00.What he means by unelected Justices striking down acts of congress

    • aj

      He was only really talking to one Justice (kennedy). And for what its worth, I thought it was despicable. Not because he badmouthed the court, but rather that on January 20 2009; Chief Justice sworn in (botched it, mind you) Obama and in the -botched- oath, is the line ‘I will protect and defend the Constitution’ and then he proceeds to sign an UN- constitutuinal bill (TARP for insurance companies) into law!?

      And then he has the ‘Audacity’ to tell Justice Kennedy that it is perfectly Constitutional and dares Kennedy to judge on the contrary!?

      Obama has no integrity in my opinion. But what do I know? I’m just an ‘Uncle Tom for the Dems.’ isn’t that right Freddie D.? 

      • Modavations

        The entire Dem party has no integrity.When they start talking Vouchers,I’ll give them the time of day

  • Daveapl

    Hey, Modavations …

    Your parochial political ideologies are really nothing more than a regurgitation of those held by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck – all of whom claim to be experts in everything … but, have college degrees in nothing.

    This is a forum for thoughtful and informed discourse. You do not belong here.

    • Anonymous

      I’m sorry, I dislike this chap’s discordant discourse as much as you seem too. However it does pain me to state this, he has as much right to be on here as you do. It’s called free speech. He does cross the line in my view, but this forum does not seem to be moderated.
      Try to ignore him, I know it’s hard, I fall pray to his web of mendacity and every time I do I enter the tomb of regrets.
        

    • Modavations

      I’m here to convert the unwashed.You’re here for an AA meeting.By the way,why is the Left against free speech

      • Sheisdeath

         “The unwashed” that proves you are an absolute tool. Go back into the hole from whence you came you troglodyte.

  • Chris W.

    Hi Tom and OnPoint,
    I listen from the west coast of Canada, and thought you might be interested that in school, we were taught a Canadian version of the song. “From Bonavista, to Vancouver Island….” et cetera.  Also, Canadian schools were less likely to expunge the subversive middle verses.

    Love your show,

    Chris

  • Alan

    Gosh!  Gee Whiz!  Imagine changing the culture of an entire country without email, websites, Twitter, and so forth!  Well, if you will excuse me, I must shutter myself in my little space and cease all human contract while I google something irrelevant.  Sorry, but I don’t have time for you.

  • Drew You Too

    What a great show! Thank you so much On Point and Mr. Ashbrook for all of your efforts which often lead to unforgettable shows like this.

  • Dee

    When I hear this Woody Guthrie’s song I think of Peter, Paul 
    and Mary  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIFxbOZezhE

  • Dee

    ddendum….

    Puff the Magic Dragon……
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qu_rItLPTXc&feature=related

  • Dee
  • Slipstream

    Another excellent show – I enjoyed the Earl Scruggs one too!

  • Pingback: On Woody Guthrie’s 100th Birthday, as Relevant as Ever? | Newton Family Singers

  • somalia

    One last thing…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqZ9MYLpMGU
    this is aj signing off~

  • djdavis

    For those interested in the sentiments expressed by Woody Guthrie, I heartily recommend a book. “The Big Burn” by Timothy Egan.  It concerns the establishment of of our National Park system and forest service by president Teddy Roosevelt with the help of Gifford Pinchot.  Imagine!! A Republican president who dared to stand up to big business, and do the right thing for the people!!

  • Guest

    About the vast number of songs:  It’s almost as if Woody Guthrie wrote songs more like others of us keep diaries.

    My story about the song: My parents were political activists in the 50s and during my childhood, and I did grow up knowing that it Woody Guthrie wrote it, and at some early age I knew more than one verse.  However, in the mid-’60s my parents sent me off to a came in far-away summer camp in rural northern Ontario.  Singing was a big part of camp, of course, but I knew none of the songs — until the cords struck up for This Land Is Your Land.  Finally, a song I could belt out the words to!  — Except that I quickly discovered that I didn’t know the words to it either.  It was such a shock to my system that I had to relearn the lyrics even to this, one of my favorite songs, that I forgot all the words to any version, and for the rest of my childhood couldn’t sing it in either country without a printed version in front of me.

    I was an oblivious kid, and oblivious until a later year at that same camp to the fact that there were other kids from the States there, and that at every point of departure of the lyrics the kids from the States would shout out “our” version, and the kids around them would shout the Canadian version, and that over time it had become a camp tradition to belt out the words specific to the country of your citizenship as loudly as you could.  I’m sorry I didn’t figure that out the first year, because I would have belted out one of the alternative verses, and probably as a result would still remember those verses today.

  • 3bbrown

    In 1966 my family( parents and 3 kids)  drove from Phila to CA and back – in an un-airconditioned station wagon and sang every verse of this song  and many others, across the US - 
     it was life changing, enlightening, appalling and marvelous. It changed my life, affected my career choice – American Studies and working in an immigrant museum in Lawrence, MA.  It was listening to this comfortable , folksy song and then driving through Indian reservations, arid desert communities, dried out lonely ranches – seeing the multitude of styles this country contains – I have always wondered and still do – how do people make their way in this world ( ie USA) . 
     Thank you for this show 

  • Julia

    I don’t know if this has already been raised.

    Background; I, too, was raised with this song – I lived in Britain – it’s been adapted and translated into many languages and to fit many cultures – I even know it in Welsh!

    I love and appreciate Woody Guthrie’s music and I know that hew was a brave advocate. I find this song very emotional and stirring.
     
    However, the program I heard today operated within a very narrow cultural context: this land is not my land, nor your land nor Woody Guthrie’s land, and it never was. This land  – North America – was wrenched out of the hands and from under the feet of the indigenous people and raped and pillaged as it continues to be.

    How do Native Americans  regard this song? What was Woody’s relationship with the Indians of his lifetime? Are they included in the “owners” of this land?

    What exactly are we teaching our s children when we exort them to appreciate this song without putting it into an historical context? We ought not pretend that the history of this country begins in with the 19th century labor movement! 

    We cannot turn back time: the destruction of native cultures is the continuing  story of the world.  But let’s be civilized enough to acknowledge  and remind ourselves of the history of recent centuries on this continent and not sing a song like this in a cultural vacuum. Let’s not lay claim to something that we do not “own”.

    • Susan

       AWESOME statement Julia. Thanks so much. And lets remember that we are still here! The sad and unfortunate death and absorption of Aboriginal peoples into the ‘body politic’ is not inevitable or complete. This sentiment continues to be resisted by our many peoples and cultures emerging from a still active and thriving world view.

  • Susan

    I was interested to hear this session on This land is my land. I’ve always disliked the song for it’s chest thumping unconditional Americanism but the original version (which I was unaware of) certainly gives the song a different spin! That the song in it’s common form functions as an explicit disavowal of Aboriginal sovereignty has always been a huge hurdle for me. It would be interesting to know if and what Woody thought and came to understand about Aboriginal struggles.
    - Susan D
    PhD student & Indigenous Scholar – Canada.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cacimbo-Smith/1142235495 Cacimbo Smith

    This song is popular because most people do not know the radical versus.  Ironic how the song is now viewed in the complete opposite light of how Guthrie intended, as a companion/complementary  song to ‘God Bless America’.

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