It Takes 6 CDs, a DVD, a Book, and a 78 RPM Record to Capture Woody Guthrie

Courtesy of the Library of Congress

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Woody Guthrie
American Radical Patriot
Rounder

 
With six CDs, a DVD, a 60-page book (plus a 258-page PDF), and a 78 rpm vinyl record—who can even play such a thing these days?—the elaborate American Radical Patriot might seem to miss the point of folksinger Woody Guthrie’s no-nonsense populism. Still, if you know him only as the guy who inspired Bob Dylan, or the impetus for the Billy Bragg-Wilco project Mermaid Avenue, it’s a revelation to hear the source firsthand.

Four of the CDs offer Guthrie’s complete Library of Congress recordings from 1940, featuring five hours of interviews and songs with folklorist Alan Lomax. The entertaining spoken-word segments merit one play, but the music, with its blunt wisdom, flinty wit, and exuberant spirit, bears repeated hearing. There also are songs recorded for the Bonneville Power Administration in the Pacific Northwest, music for an anti-venereal disease campaign, and a radio drama. The 78 backs a Guthrie performance with an oft-bootlegged Dylan cover of his “VD City” from 1961. More than a historical curiosity, American Radical Patriot is essential fare for upstarts of all ages.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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