Del & Woody: Tapping a Folk Hero’s Hillbilly Roots

That's a great bio of Woody Guthrie encased in your article, Terry. I think that Woody is the least understood, most mythologized and most misunderstood figure in popular music. I caught half of the David Carradine flic on cable the other night. I've seen it before, but had not seen it for awhile. It's really not a bad flic and of course it was based on his own self-mythologising quasi autobiography. Pete Seeger knew him better than anyone, did more than anyone to popularise his music, and mythologised him more than anyone. I really think that Wilco and Billy Bragg were the best people to have ever taken a crack at his unfinished songs because they represented the two sides of his artistic character the best - the entertainer and the radical.

Some of Nora's choices of artists to finish Woody's work have been really misguided and half baked, although I understand the method behind her madness: that his words should be heard by everyone and will resonate in any musical genre. I like McCoury as an interpreter of Woody's work. Woody's favorite artists were the Carter Family, Jimmy Rojers and the Dellmore Brothers, and Dell McCoury comes right out of that tradition. I kinda doubt, though, that Dell can come to grips with the whole man. Specifically, the part of the man that drew political cartoons for two different Communist Party newspapers and made the statement, "Socialism is the only thing worth fighting for." I haven't heard the album yet, but suspect that it might be lacking in depth. The kind of depth that we heard on Mermaid Avenue 1 and 2 and have not heard since.

Thanks for reading, LH. I talked with Del about the political side of Woody but he didn't bite. He seemed apolitical. Maybe 'lacking in depth' is too much weight to put on this project. The intention is to go for Woody's lighter side. I agree on the Wilco and Billy Bragg Mermaid Ave. Projects. Ground breaking work

Well that's right, Woody had his lighter side for sure. Half of his schtick was being a humorist.