These historical concerts honoring one of America's greatest musical treasures are worthy of the Bear Family treatment, and the label did not disappoint when assembling this fantastic box.
We see from a 1940 draft that "This Land Is Your Land" started out titled "God Blessed America." Penned merely as an adver-tising jingle for hydroelectric power, "Roll On Columbia" has become a timeless anthem for the Pacific Northwest. And when, in "Biggest Thing That Man Has Ever Done (The Great Historical Bum)," Woody — himself a great historical bum — glided in just two lines from the Garden Of Eden to modern-day apple pickers unionizing, we witness how he wrote not only for his own time but for all time. — Bruce Sylvester
Will Geer introduces Woody by his full name, Woodrow Wilson Guthrie, and points to the instruments he played… ‘guitar, mouth harp, mountain fiddle, mandolin’. Robert Ryan shows the man’s commitment as he describes the guitar in Woody’s hands and its message of ‘this machine kills fascists’. The narrations are part of a recent triple-disc release from Bear Family Records, Woody Guthrie, The Tribute Concerts. Will Geer and Robert Ryan are on stage at the Carnegie Hall performance (January 20, 1968), with Will Geer and Peter Fonda at the microphone for the Hollywood Bowl tribute (September 12, 1970). After a fifteen-year battle with Huntington’s Disease, Woody Guthrie passed away on October 3, 1967. The outpouring of songs come from artists inspired by Woody Guthrie, the events a celebration as they remember the man. Musical backing for the shows was provided by The Band (Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson) at Carnegie Hall, and a cast of players at the Hollywood Bowl that included Ry Cooder along with then-current and future members of The Flying Burrito Brothers, Chris Etheridge, Gib Gilbeau, and John Beland among other west coast Folk and Roots music luminaries.
A sumptuous boxset of a legendary gig. 011 When Woody Guthrie died in 1967, after a long battle with Huntington's Disease, his loss was mourned widely by fans and musicians alike. His friends organised a tribute gig that took place in Carnegie Hall in 1968 and two years later another huge re-enactment of sorts took place at Hollywood Bowl. 18,000 people were there to witness the likes of Bob Dylan pay their re-spects.
Here are my picks for the Top 17 folk-rooted or folk-branched albums of 2017. As in past years, I started with the list of hundreds of albums that landed on my desk over the past year and narrowed it down to a short list of about 30. I’ve been over the short list several times over the past couple of weeks and came up with several similar – not identical – Top 17 lists.
There is truly something for every music lover on your holiday list this season. From enticing hardcover fully-illustrated books focusing on AC/DC and David Bowie to essential new audio and/or visual collections featuring Jeff Lynne's ELO, Neil Young, Alvin Lee and more,
A more or less complete recording of both concerts, issued late last year by the German record label Bear Family.
In a year peppered with the 50th anniversaries of events that shaped, or distorted, late 20th-century history — from revolutionary upsurges to tragic assassinations and key moments in the Vietnam War — let us begin with a relatively innocuous event.
On January 20, 1968, an audience consisting largely of folk music aficionados packed New York’s Carnegie Hall for a memorial concert commemorating Woody Guthrie, who had died three months earlier at the age of 55 of Hunting-ton’s chorea.
Bear Family’s lavish three CD, two book set collects material from two live tribute shows, featuring performances by Arlo Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Judy Collins, Bob Dylan (his first appearance after his motorcycle accident), Odetta, Joan Baez, Richie Havens, Jack Elliott, Country Joe McDonald, Tom Paxton and Earl Robinson, along with narration from actors Robert Ryan, Will Geer and Peter Fonda. The first tribute included an afternoon/evening pair of concerts staged at Carnegie Hall in 1968, the second tribute was staged at the Hollywood Bowl in 1970. Material from both tributes was released in edited, collated and resequenced form on a pair of 1972 LPs, Part 1 on Columbia and Part 2 on Warner Brothers, and eventually reissued on CD and MP3.
One noteworthy exception is the Bear Family label’s meticulous new Woody Guthrie: The Tribute Concerts, which boasts three bona fide CDs and two hardcover books that chronicle the 1968 and 1970 concerts honoring Woody Guthrie in NYC and LA, respectively.
The books give us unique pictorial glimpses of concert production, and of Woody’s life from the 1920s until his death from Lou Gehrig’s disease in 1967.
While the remastering of the live recordings is exceptional, the real accomplishments here are twofold: acquiring rights to original releases that were split between Columbia and Warner Brothers, and adding a third disc of interviews with participants and family, including Arlo Guthrie. It may be tempting to skip to Bob Dylan’s or Joan Baez’s contributions first, but it’s the lesser lights like Odetta and Tom Paxton that make this definitive box such a tribute to Woody.
Woody Guthrie is widely considered – and rightfully so – as the Grand Daddy of Americana music. Guthrie’s career was incredibly short, considering his accomplishments, spanning from the early ‘30s until the late ‘50s, when Huntington’s disease rendered him unable to perform until his too-young death in 1967 at the age of 55 years. S
Woody Guthrie: The Tribute Concerts
BEAR FAMILY. CD Songs to Woody by his legendary "children". Two tributes to quintessential American troubadour Woody Guthrie were held in New York, in 1968, and Los Angeles in 1970. This handsome 3-CD box contains both concerts in their entirety for the first
time, accompanied by two books of essays, lyrics and ephemera.
At the heart of the collection is Woody's music performed by son Arlo Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Joan Baez, Odetta„ Judy Collins, Richie Havens, Tom Paxton, Country Joe McDonald and Earl Robinson The New York show was a!, Bob Dylan's first public appearance in 19 months performing with The Ban,. (the highlight of their eat three-song set was an emotional Dear Mrs Roosevelt), while Ry Cood, and others backed up LA singers.
Electricity opponent Seeger demurre. Some listeners will notice that Collins' and Baez's two renditions of Deportee -the story of "illegal" Mexicar, immigrants killed in an accident ring tragically true today. Michael Simmons
Bear Family’s lavish three CD, two book set collects material from two live tribute shows, featuring performances by Arlo Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Judy Collins, Bob Dylan (his first appearance after his motorcycle accident), Odetta, Joan Baez, Richie Havens, Jack Elliott, Country Joe McDonald, Tom Paxton and Earl Robinson, along with narration from actors Robert Rya
In the end, there was and is nobody else quite like Woody Guthrie. When I listen to his music, I get the same feeling as when I read or see Shakespeare performed - that it is hard to believe that someone actually wrote those songs. They've become so deeply interwoven in our consciousness, our words, beliefs, desired actions as they play out in the world we see around us that it doesn't seem possible that they originated from a single person.
The package contains two twelve-by- twelve-inch hardbacks. These contain essays, historical analysis and come copiously illustrat- ed and full of photos courtesy of David Gahr, Jim Marshall and others. The books not only detail the history of the galas but really add to a canon which, until Joe Klein’s 1981 biogra- phy Woody Guthrie – A Life, took up next to no room on a bookshelf. Bear Family’s boxed set takes Guthrie’s legacy into new space.
Dylan buffs can also check out the three-CD Woody Guthrie: The Tribute Concerts, combining two all-star events celebrating the folk icon that were held at New York’s Carnegie Hall in 1968 and the Hollywood Bowl in 1970. Given the enormous influence Guthrie had on the young Dylan in his earliest incarnation, Bob was a logical participant, but his three-song ’68 segment signified more than that: It was his first public appearance since a 1966 motorcycle accident and he was backed by The Band, still to release their debut.
The passing of Woody Guthrie in October 1967, just as the great folk revival of the early ‘60s gave way to the rock revolution, left an enormous gap in the American music landscape—there wasn’t a singer-songwriter out there who didn’t acknowledge Guthrie’s influence.
VARIOUS ARTISTS Woody Guthrie: The Tribute Concerts – Carnegie Hall 1968, Hollywood Bowl 1970 Bear Family Records woodyguthrie.org Woody Guthrie, one of the most important, iconic and influential of 20th century folksingers, songwriters, authors, activists, and social commentators died 50 years ago this month on October 3, 1967. Woody was 55 when he died after spending 13 years in hospitals due to Huntington’s disease, a hereditary neurological disease. Woody left an extraordinary body of work created in a remarkably brief career. It used to be said that he wrote about 1,000 songs. Now thanks to the archival work of Nora Guthrie, Woody’s daughter, we know that he wrote about 3,000 songs
The Germany-based Bear Family label doesn’t tend to put words like “ultimate” and “super deluxe” in the titles of its box sets, but if any record company should be entitled to employ such adjectives, it’s this one. Its boxes are typically lavishly packaged, often with hardcover books, and mind-bogglingly comprehensive. They’re not cheap, but none of them will leave you complaining about audio quality or a lack of extras, and certainly not about missing tracks.
If ever a time needed the wisdom and enthusiasm of Woody Guthrie, it is now. The things that Woody wrote about – the power of people joined together in strife, the need for compassion for all, and the call for judgement of our leaders, well, no time like the present. When Guthrie wrote “This Land is Your Land”, “Do Re Mi” or “Pretty Boy Floyd” – and literally thousands more – he etched the conscience of America into history. Hell, he wrote “Old Man Trump” about our President’s father. Woody knew.
Bound for Glory: Dylan, Baez, Paxton, Havens, Collins Celebrate Woody Guthrie on New Bear Family Box NOVEMBER 8, 2017 BY JOE MARCHESE LEAVE A COMMENT BUY NOW FROM AMAZON.COM Bob Dylan once said that, upon hearing Woody Guthrie’s songs, “it was like I had been in the dark and someone had turned on the main switch of a lightning conductor.” Steve Earle opined that “Woody is my hero of heroes and the only person on earth that I will go to my grave regretting that I never met.” No less a literary eminence than John Steinbeck noted, “Woody is just Woody,” before explaining, “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.
Woody Guthrie: 'The true voice of the American spirit'
Fifty years on from his death, a box set celebrates the folk singer hailed by Bob Dylan
Tribute concerts are often a mixed bag, especially if the idea is to bring a group of stars together to pay homage to an influential musical figure. The recent tribute to the wonderful singer, Tony Bennett, Tony Bennett Celebrates 90 (Columbia, 2016) is a sad case in point. There is no shortage of stars on that particular album, but the aesthetic understanding of Bennett's music is so limited that it reduces rather than expands the scope of his musical legacy. A good tribute does the opposite of this. It shows the many aspects of an artist and paints a nuanced portrait that goes beyond the easy clichés. It shows the connection between the artist's own story and the musical narrative that he or she has helped to build.
Woody Guthrie died in late 1967. Soon after, two tribute concerts were planned: one in 1968 in New York, and one in 1970 in Los Angeles.
Bear Family, who has always done excellent archival work, has released those two albums in a handsome boxed set. The tributes were done at just the right time, that brief period between mourning his loss and the development of a cynical marketing of memory. Woody Guthrie seems to be revived every decade or so, be it Bruce Springsteen singing him for Obama's inauguration, the Billy Bragg/Wilco albums, or the recent uncovering of a song he wrote about Trump's father.