Woodrow Guthrie was one of the most significant figures in American folk music, and his songs continue to be enjoyed by audiences today. He was known for his protest music and his country and talking blues styles. Guthrie wrote hundreds of songs throughout his career, and many of his best-known pieces were recorded in the 1940s. Here are 10 of our favorites:
10. Riding In My Car (1951)
This upbeat song is all about taking a joyride in your car. Guthrie sings about the wind in his hair and the sun on his face, and the song’s cheerful melody makes it perfect for a road trip. The lyrics describe the simple pleasures of life, and they’re sure to put a smile on your face. The song was featured on Guthrie’s album, Dust Bowl Ballads, one of his most popular tunes.
9. Dusty Old Dust (1935)
“Dusty Old Dust” is one of Guthrie’s earliest songs, and it reflects the influence of traditional folk ballads on his writing. The lyrics tell the story of a man driven from his home and forced to wander the country, always looking over his shoulder for the law. The song was recorded by Guthrie and his group, the Almanac Singers, in 1935. The lyrics reflect Guthrie’s own experiences as a migrant worker, and they became an anthem for the thousands of others who were forced to leave their homes during the Great Depression.
8. Hard, Ain’t It Hard (1941)
One of Guthrie’s earliest protest songs, “Hard, Ain’t It Hard,” was written in response to the Great Depression. The song’s lyrics criticize the government’s response to the economic crisis, and its chorus speaks to the desperation of the time: “It’s hard, ain’t it hard / To be livin’ in the USA.” They talk about the banks closin’, the men goin’ off to fight / The women with their babies all left alone. The song has been recorded by artists such as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and Pete Seeger.
7. Hobo’s Lullaby (1972)
Written by Woody Guthrie as he was dying of Huntington’s disease, Hobo’s Lullaby is a haunting and passionate song about the life of a hobo. Guthrie’s lyrics are evocative and poetic, painting a picture of life on the road that is both romantic and tragic. The lyrics are sung to a beautiful and dreamy melody, making it one of Guthrie’s most memorable and moving songs.
6. Dust Bowl Refugee (1940)
The song is about the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, which affected the Midwest and Southwest regions of the United States. Guthrie wrote the song in 1940 and recorded it on April 15, 1941. Asch Records first released the song as Side A of a 78rpm record. The B-side was “So Long, and It’s Been Good to Know Yuh.” The song is about the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, which affected the Midwest and Southwest regions of the United States.
5. Tear the Fascists Down (1947)
Written by Woody Guthrie during World War II, “Tear the Fascists Down” is a rousing, anthemic song that calls for the overthrow of fascism. Guthrie’s lyrics are as relevant today as they were when he wrote them, and the song is a powerful call to arms against all forms of oppression. The song is about 5 minutes long and is a great choice for an opening or closing number at a protest or political rally.
4. I Ain’t Got No Home (1940)
One of Woody Guthrie’s most famous songs, “I Ain’t Got No Home,” was written in 1940 and reflected the Great Depression-era sentiments of the Dust Bowl. The song is about the struggles of the American working class and has been covered by many artists, including Bruce Springsteen, Pete Seeger, and Bob Dylan. It describes the feeling of rootlessness and homelessness that many people experienced during the Depression and the anger and frustration that resulted from it. Guthrie’s lyrics are full of biting social commentary, and the song has become an anthem for the American working class.
3. Crawdad Song (1940)
Number three on our list of the ten best Woody Guthrie songs is “Crawdad Song.” This song was first recorded by Leadbelly and was popularized by Guthrie. The song is about a man trying to catch crawdads (crayfish) in a creek. It was released on the album “Muleskinner Blues” in 1940 and is one of Guthrie’s most well-known and popular songs. The lyrics describe the simple pleasures of fishing and catching crawdads, and the song has a light-hearted, easygoing feel to it. It’s a great choice for a sing-along party song.
2. Which Side Are You On ? (1941)
The song is about the need for workers to unite and stand up to their bosses. Guthrie wrote it in response to the Ludlow Massacre, in which the Colorado National Guard killed striking coal miners and their families. The lyrics are simple but powerful; they ask, “Which side are you on?” and argue that workers should not be divided by their employers. Many artists have covered the song, including Pete Seeger, Bruce Springsteen, and The Clash.
1. This Land is Your Land (1945)
This Land is Your Land is one of Woody Guthrie’s most famous and well-known songs. It has been recorded by numerous artists and is considered one of the most important and influential American folk songs. The song reflects Guthrie’s political views and is often used as a protest song. It describes America as a land of opportunity and encourages people to appreciate their country. You can hear Guthrie’s passion and love for his homeland in every song’s verse.
Woody Guthrie was a legendary American singer-songwriter whose music has inspired people for generations. His songs are known for their political and social messages, and he is considered one of the most important figures in American folk music. His most famous song is This Land is Your Land, considered one of the most important American folk songs.