Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"This Land Is Your Land" Like Woody Wrote It

Worth reading!!!!
Pete getting in his last licks on the main stage!!!!

"This Land Is Your Land" Like Woody Wrote It

Sunday 18 January 2009

by: Tommy Stevenson, Tuscaloosa News (AL)


Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen at the Lincoln
Memorial Concert. Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen,
performing at Sunday's concert at the Lincoln Memorial.
(Photo: Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images)

Bee Branch - At the conclusion of today's concert for
president-elect Barack Obama 89-year-old Pete Seeger
joined Bruce Springsteen for a sing-along with perhaps
half a million people of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is
Your Land," which I dare say practically everyone in
the country knows from childhood.

But sly old Pete, who actually hoboed with Woody during
the Depression and Dust Bowl, had the crowd sing the
song as it was actually written, as not only a
celebration of this great land, but as a demand for
workers' and people's rights. That is, he restored the
verses that have been censored from the song over the
years to make it less political:

There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me;
Sign was painted, it said private property; But on the
back side it didn't say nothing; That side was made for
you and me.

In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people, By the
relief office I seen my people; As they stood there
hungry, I stood there asking Is this land made for you
and me?

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.

The "relief office," of course, refers to the ad hoc
soup bowls and such set up during the Depression before
the New Deal began to get the social security net we
have all depended upon since the 1930s in place.

Seeger, like Guthrie, has been a controversial figure
at times during his life, questioned by the witch
hunting committees of Congress in the 1950s, black
listed, and even banded from television as late as the
late 1960s.

But while he hasn't got much of a voice left anymore
and did not attempt to play his banjo today, it was
wonderful to see the gleam in his subversive eye as he
did his call and response with the throngs in front of
the Lincoln Memorial.

Somewhere Woody - and Leadbelly, and Sonny and Cisco
and the rest of the great balladeers of that bygone era
- are smiling tonight.


Full Lyrics

This Land Is Your Land
Words and Music by Woody Guthrie

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California, to the New York Island
From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me

As I was walking a ribbon of highway
I saw above me an endless skyway
I saw below me a golden valley
This land was made for you and me


I've roamed and rambled and I've followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
And all around me a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me


The sun comes shining as I was strolling
The wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
The fog was lifting a voice come chanting
This land was made for you and me


As I was walkin' - I saw a sign there
And that sign said - no tress passin'
But on the other side .... it didn't say nothin!
Now that side was made for you and me!


In the squares of the city - In the shadow of the
Near the relief office - I see my people
And some are grumblin' and some are wonderin'
If this land's still made for you and me.

Chorus (2x)