June 21, 2018
Marker to the 28 Mexico citizens who died in the Los Gatos Canyon crash in 1948. University of Arizona image via Smithsonian Magazine
Deportations plague much of recent U.S. history. It never works out well for the U.S., on the whole, especially mass deportations.
Hoyt Axton and Arlo Guthrie joined to sing Woody Guthrie’s account of one catastrophic deportation incident.
A more urgent version of the song, by Lance Canales and the Flood, featuring the names of the 28 who died.
October 20, 2012
Woody Guthrie wrote of freedom . . . when was this written? 1930-something? [1941, it turns out.]
Ronnie Gilbert and Holly Near combine on one of my favorite arrangements of the song.
[That one disappeared? Try this one; click through if you have to:]
[Maybe this one will work:]
This film must be at least ten years old, maybe more. The song is more than 60 years old [71 years — from 1941].
It’s still a powerful indictment of corporate greed, heartless and oppressive immigration policies, and it’s a case for a strong labor movement.
Be sure you vote in the November 6 elections. Sing this song on the way to the polls.
July 20, 2010
In the late 1960s and the 1970s, conservatives made big displays of singing this song. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir recorded one very popular version of it; it showed up often. In those occasional complaints about the difficulty of singing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” this song’s suitability for national anthem status was always raised.
Today? I haven’t heard it at a Republican gathering in long, long time. I’m not saying that it’s completely disappeared from the conservative song book — among other things, I don’t attend Republican conventions as often as I once did, but I don’t think I’d hear it if I did. I am saying that people finally started listening to the song, and it’s been largely dropped from conservative sing alongs for political reasons.
And that tells us a lot.
It would be good to hear this song a lot more; it would be good if more people sang it.
Arlo Guthrie and Pete Seeger leading the congregation in singing Woody Guthrie’s “The Land Is Your Land,” from a 1993 concert at Wolf Trap Farm Park in Virginia (one of my favorite venues for any music):
(Arlo’s got a new release this year, featuring this tune.)