Woody Guthrie, Long Ways To Travel 1944-1949: The Unreleased Folkways Masters

Peter Blackstock

By Peter Blackstock

on 07.06.11 in Reviews
A fascinating 17-track document

The aim of this 1994 release was to gather a substantial set of Woody Guthrie recordings that weren’t already familiar or otherwise available; as such, it’s a fascinating 17-track document, full of songs mostly unfamiliar to casual Guthrie fans and largely unavailable outside of pricier box sets. On “Talking Centralia (Talking Miner),” Guthrie gets downright threatening at the end, making suggestions about how to take on Congress that probably would have earned him a visit from the Department of Homeland Security in the present day. There’s a good deal of railroad fare here, with two train medleys, a “Train Narration” clip, and a song about traveling from Seattle to Chicago. Even the disc’s one largely familiar tune, the opening track “Hard Traveling,” sounds fresh thanks to the harmony vocal presence of Cisco Houston (who appears on other tracks too, as does blues harmonica great Sonny Terry).