Wednesday, July 25, 2012

'Woody Blues' : Mike Marcellino's 'talk' with Woody Guthrie, an American folk music legend

This Hard Travlin' poster of the art of legendary American folk singer of the Great Depression was published by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996

Hard travelin': 'Woody Blues' story

The evolving interest in the Oklahoma cowboy Woody Guthrie first led Mike Marcellino to write a poem about Woody in view of how things are today, called "St. Augustine, Woody Blues."  Now the poem has turned into Woody Blues, a lyrical poetry song recording with Mike doing the lyrics and vocal and Tomas Texino doing the music and on electric guitar and synthesizer.  

Mike says his interest in the life and folk music of Guthrie, popular troubadour across America during the Great Depression of the 1930s, started long ago in the early 1960s when he fist started listening to the likes of Bob Dylan, who admired and was influenced by Guthrie.  Guthrie's songs that interest Mike are about the downtrodden and the working families.  His continuing interest got a boost on a wild road trip in the summer of 1964, from North Carolina to California, winding up in New York City.  (The subject of Mike's short memoir, a limited edition, New York Revisited, published in Cleveland in 2008 or so in advance of Mike's poetry music performing tours in New York City, the last one in the fall of 2010.)  

"My favorite Woody Guthrie songs are Pretty Boy Floyd and Hard Travlin'," Mike says.  "But then, I still listening."  Mike's poetry music covers the waterfront, and he invites you to listen to "Woody Blues" his 11th in a series of recordings that began in the fall of 2009.  He released 6-song limited tour CD "Notebook Writer" in 2010.  A new, full album is in the works along with a series of performances in the United States and Europe.  

Add, Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos) to that list of my favorite Woody Guthrie songs: list gonna grow and grow:  add California Stars and Ingrid Bergman (I like those two by Wilco and Bily Bragg on Mermaind Avenue, a two-CD set of Woody's songs) it's gonna grow and grow...

"I'll never lose my interest in Woody Guthrie, for me, he was the first real voice I heard, along with Dylan.  They're both great American writers,"  Mike added.  Woody would have turned 100 on July 14, 2012 if he were alive.

Mike says you can help preserve Woody's legacy and archives by supporting the Woody Guthrie Foundation, a non-profit organization.  In fact Mike discovered the Hard Travlin poster of the art by Woody Guthrie can be purchased at the Woody Guthrie website by clicking this link.  And, Mike just may have to get one himself cause his "Hard Travlin" T-shirt's coming apart.  Mike picked up the T-shirt in Cleveland in 1996 at the time of the 10-day celebration of Guthrie's music put on by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum and Case Western Reserve University.  

And, finally, here's a link to the main Woody Guthrie website.  In 1988 Guthrie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Woody was the first artist celebrated in the rock hall's annual master series in 1996, an event Mike didn't miss.

You can listen to Mike's new song "Woody Blues" on the music player at the top.  Here, also, is a link to our music site on ReverbNation.  Listening is free; share our music and like us on our Facebook music page.
Woody Blues

by Mike Marcellino

First it was my army backpack.
my old yellow T-shirt
with The Lillies on

The day after
Friday the Thirteenth
they took
my real leather beach shoes
right on your birthday.
One an' all.
One an' all.
Got the Saint Augustine,
Woody Blues.

So, this becomes
your birthday song
from the sand beaches
of the Great Recession
to dust bowls
of the Great Depression.
One an' all.
One an' all.
Got the Saint Augustine,
Woody Blues.

"As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said 'No Trespassing.'
But on the other side it didn't say nothing,
That side was made for you and me."

So Woody, tell me,
Is this still our land -
"From California to the New York island;
From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters?"

Or is it just a den of greed and thieves?
Did you have to nail stuff down,
back then
on the box car roads to California?
Or, just watch out
gettin' beat up bound for glory?
One an' all.
One an' all.
Got the Saint Augustine,
Woody Blues.

Now, another century
on Roosevelt Island.
Makin' up some songs
on the streets of Cleveland.
Trekking cross country
thumb out all the way.
Nothin' to lose anymore,
except everything
when the trucker fell asleep.
One an' all.
One an' all.
Got the Saint Augustine,
Woody Blues.
"Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me."

Thanks for the borrowed lines, Woody.
They're mighty fine.
One an' all.
One an' all.
Got the Saint Augustine,
Woody Blues.

St. Augustine, Woody Blues and Woody Blues recording lyrics by Mike Marcellino, copyright 2012

So long, been good ta know ya - here's This Land is Your Land by Woody Guthrie in a rare Depression era video

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