Woody Guthrie’s Ultimate Tribute

Mural at the Woody Guthrie Centre, Tulsa Oklahoma

 

Bear Family Records To Release Three CD Boxed Set This September 

Two Legendary Woody Guthrie Tribute Shows 

Recaptured and Presented In Their Full State Plus Extras

In 1972, Columbia Records and Warner Brother Records each released a separate live tribute to Woody Guthrie album (one at Carnegie Hall and the other at the Hollywood Bowl)— a rare cooperative effort between rival labels that speaks to the high reverence in which Woody Guthrie was held.  Those albums, however, edited and intermingled tracks from two events and failed to capture comprehensively the full impact of those nights.

Now, exactly fifty years after Guthrie’s death, Bear Family Records will present what took place on those two iconic evenings in the original, scripted order.

The new release is a comprehensive three-CD box set entitled Woody Guthrie: The Tribute Concerts and is due out on September 22, 2017.

The set has one thirty three-track disc of a 1968 Carnegie Hall event, while discs two and three contain forty five tracks from the 1970 Hollywood Bowl tribute.  The three-plus hours of concert material showcases most of Guthrie’s finest songs: ‘So Long, It’s Been Good To Know You’, ‘Goin’ Down the Road’, ‘Oklahoma Hills’, ‘This Train Is Bound for Glory’, ‘Deportee’ and, of course ‘This Land Is Your Land’ which closed both concerts.  In addition to commemorating fifty years since Woody Guthrie passed away, this release marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Committee to Combat Huntington’s Disease, renamed the Huntington’s Disease Society of America, founded by Woody Guthrie’s wife, Marjorie Guthrie in September 1967.

Judy Collins, Bob Dylan, Richie Havens, Arlo Guthrie, Tom Paxton, Pete Seeger and Odetta all played at Carnegie Hall, where actors Will Geer and Robert Ryan served as narrators.  Seeger, Havens, Guthrie and Odetta also performed at the Hollywood Bowl along with Joan Baez, Country Joe McDonald, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Earl Robinson; Peter Fonda shared narrator duties with Geer.

Dylan played three tunes (‘Grand Coulee Dam’, ‘Dear Mrs. Roosevelt’ and ‘I Ain’t Got No Home’) at Carnegie Hall, and accompanying him was The Band, who hadn’t recorded their debut album yet.  There were notable players too in the Hollywood Bowl’s house band, which featured then up-and-coming guitar ace Ry Cooder, Flying Burrito Brothers bassist Chris Etheridge and future Burrito Brothers Gib Guilbeau and John Beland.

Producers Nora Guthrie, Michael Kleff and Steve Rosenthal dug deep into the full story behind the concerts. Working with the original reel-to-reel concert tapes and concert scripts, business letters, and personal stories, they recreate and recount how, when and why these early tribute concerts are still important and reveal the impact they had on those who attended.  The original Carnegie Hall tapes have been lost over time, so this CD comes from tapes that Columbia and Warner Brothers used to make their albums, as well as additional tapes from concert producer Harold Leventhal’s collection.

The box set offers two illustrated books containing historic liner notes, a Guthrie biography, and essays by Will Kaufman, Wenzel, and Sean Wilentz.  There also is a reproduction of the original 1972 TRO Concert Book, which includes historic and concert photos with music notations and lyrics, along with original show reviews and photographs, attendees interviews, artists bios, and concert ephemera as well as never-before-seen stills from the Hollywood Bowl show film masters for a still-unreleased concert documentary.

“To listen to the recordings now is to reflect upon events from an earlier and simpler time, which were communing with a still earlier and even simpler time. But simplicity is not the same thing as innocence. Although times have changed, in many ways for the better, not so the good and evil, bravery and cowardice, generosity and injustice that Woody and his friends and followers sang about,” writes historian and author Sean Wilentz in his introductory essay. “What is so striking in these recordings, above and beyond the politics and musical styles, is the timelessness of what Woody was getting at in his deceptively simple art.”

Complete track list

CD 1: At Carnegie Hall

70:45

1. Pete Seeger & Arlo Guthrie (harmonica) with Full Cast: Intro This Train Is Bound For Glory

2. Robert Ryan: Narration

3. Will Geer: Narration

4. Arlo Guthrie: Oklahoma Hills *

5. Will Geer: Narration

6. Judy Collins: So Long, It’s Been Good To Know Yuh (Dusty Old Dust)

7. Robert Ryan: Narration

8. Woody Guthrie: Riding In My Car

9. Will Geer: Narration

10. Pete Seeger: Curly Headed Baby

11. Robert Ryan: Narration

12. Odetta: Ramblin’ Round *

13. Will Geer: Narration

14. Pete Seeger, Judy Collins & Arlo Guthrie:

Goin’ Down The Road (I Ain’t Gonna Be Treated This A-Way) *

15. Robert Ryan: Narration

16. Tom Paxton: Pretty Boy Floyd *

17. Will Geer: Narration

18. Richie Havens: Blues For Woody *

19. Will Geer: Narration

20. Judy Collins: Plane Wreck At Los Gatos (Deportee)

21. Richie Havens: Vigilante Man

22. Tom Paxton: Pastures Of Plenty

23. Bob Dylan: Grand Coulee Dam

24. Bob Dylan: Dear Mrs. Roosevelt

25. Bob Dylan: I Ain’t Got No Home

26. Judy Collins: Roll On Columbia (Part 1)

27. Robert Ryan: Narration

28. Judy Collins: Roll On Columbia (Part 2)

29. Pete Seeger & Richie Havens: Jackhammer John

30. Tom Paxton: Biggest Thing That Man Has Ever Done (The Great Historical Bum)

31. Judy Collins & Pete Seeger: Union Maid

32. Robert Ryan/Will Geer/Judy Collins: Narration

33. Odetta, Will Geer, Arlo Guthrie with Full Cast: This Land Is Your Land

 

CD 2: At The Hollywood Bowl, Part 1

70:13

1. Full Cast: Intro This Train Is Bound For Glory

2. Peter Fonda & Will Geer: Narration

3. Arlo Guthrie: Oklahoma Hills

4. Will Geer: Narration

5. Joan Baez & Pete Seeger: So Long, It’s Been Good To Know Yuh *

6. Peter Fonda: Narration

7. Country Joe McDonald, Arlo Guthrie, Jack Elliott & Pete Seeger: Goin’ Down The Road (Ain’t Gonna Be Treated This A-Way) *

8. Peter Fonda & Will Geer: Narration

9. Joan Baez: Hobo’s Lullaby

10. Peter Fonda: Narration

11. Odetta: Ramblin’ Round

12. Will Geer: Narration

13. Pete Seeger & Arlo Guthrie: I Ain’t Got No Home (Woody Guthrie) *

14. Peter Fonda: Narration

15. Country Joe McDonald: Pretty Boy Floyd *

16. Richie Havens: Nine Hundred Miles *

17. Will Geer & Peter Fonda: Narration

18. Joan Baez: Plane Wreck At Los Gatos (Deportee) *

19. Peter Fonda: Narration

20. Odetta: John Hardy *

21. Will Geer: Narration

22. Jack Elliott, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Earl Robinson, Country Joe McDonald & Arlo Guthrie: Hard Travelin’ *

23. Will Geer: Narration

24. Richie Havens: Vigilante Man *

25. Peter Fonda: Narration

26. Jack Elliott: 1913 Massacre

27. Arlo Guthrie: Do Re Mi (Woody Guthrie)

28. Will Geer: Narration

29. Joan Baez: Pastures Of Plenty (Woody Guthrie) *

30. Peter Fonda: Narration

31. Earl Robinson & Pete Seeger: Roll On Columbia *

 

CD 3: At The Hollywood Bowl, Part 2 / Bonus Tracks

77:24

1. Will Geer: Narration

2. Odetta with Will Geer & Peter Fonda: Why Oh Why & Narration

3. Earl Robinson: Mail Myself To You

4. Jack Elliott: Howdido

5. Peter Fonda: Narration

6. Country Joe McDonald: Woman At Home (Woody Guthrie – Country Joe McDonald)

7. Will Geer: Narration

8. Pete Seeger: The Sinking Of The Reuben James *

9. Will Geer: Narration

10. Arlo Guthrie: Jesus Christ

11. Arlo Guthrie & Joan Baez (Background vocals: Odetta, John Pilla & Gib Guilbeau): I’ve Got To Know *

12. Arlo Guthrie, Country Joe McDonald, Odetta, Joan Baez & Pete Seeger: This Train Is Bound For Glory *

13. Peter Fonda & Joan Baez: Narration

14. Full Cast: This Land Is Your Land / So Long, It’s Been Good To Know Yuh *

BONUS TRACKS:

15. Arlo Guthrie: ”The only thing I really remember…”

16. Arlo Guthrie: ”These events with a multitude of people…”

17. Judy Collins: ”First of all, your mom…”

18. Jack Elliott: ”I received an invitation…”

19. Jack Elliott: ”I was very excited about the whole thing…”

20. Rick Robbins: ”It was a mob scene…”

21. Rick Robbins: ”When he came out…”

22. Judy Collins: ”I was very nervous…”

23. Rick Robbins: ”I was very moved by…”

24. Tom Paxton: ”I was invited by…”

25. Tom Paxton: ”We all went on stage together…”

26. Tom Paxton: ”Oh, I look at pictures of me…”

27. Rick Robbins: ”And then after the show was more memories…”

28. Phil Ochs: ”The Woody Guthrie concert was my last straw…”

29. Arlo Guthrie: ”The second time I had more of a hand…”

30. Country Joe McDonald: ”Well at the rehearsal…”

31. Country Joe McDonald: ”The soundcheck for the show I was sitting…”

32. Arlo Guthrie: ”One of the great things…”

33. Arlo Guthrie: ”I was with Warner Brothers at the time…”

34. Arlo Guthrie: ”The records were made taking bits and pieces…”

35. Pete Seeger: “Woody lives on…”

36. Bob Dylan: Last Thoughts On Woody Guthrie

* Previously Unreleased Songs

 

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Author: Rob Dickens

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