Woody Guthrie, Woody Guthrie Sings Folk Songs

Yancey Strickler

By Yancey Strickler

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Folk music, more than anything, stresses song over performer, making Woody Guthrie an anomaly within the field: a genuine folk superstar. Unlike, say, a Pete Seeger, Guthrie brought a presence to his recordings, a nasal everyman voice tormented by injustice but hopeful all the same. It's easy to see why a romantic young Bob Dylan would latch onto Guthrie — here was a hard-living man who had seen the world and lived to sing its awful tales. And just as second-generation punk rockers were emboldened by the simplicity of the Ramones, the directness of Guthrie's guitar playing cannot be underestimated. Aside from an occasional fret-walk, there is little here that an aspiring guitarist couldn't emulate in a matter of days.