Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Last Thoughts About Woody Guthrie

Spoken Words By Bob Dylan

The most important seven minutes you'll ever waste. (I've done it at least three times.)

I think it's sad that so little comment was engendered by this post. There was a better day when I would have gotten more than one decent comment, but I guess it's been so long since I was very thought-provoking that this IS as good as it gets!


  1. I always thought Dylan basically owed his career to Woody Guthrie. Bob seemed derivative at first, but it didn't take him long to establish that he was also a genius and was reflecting influence, rather than being a knock-off. But Guthrie broke ground that Dylan would have found much harder to break by himself.

    BTW, my father died of the same brain illness that Woody died of -- Huntington's chorea, aka Huntington's disease (HD). It's genetic. I've lived since I was 11 knowing that I had a 50/50 chance of inheriting it. I'll be 52 in July, so it appears that I've likely dodged that bullet. It's never a sure thing, but the vast majority of HD cases are evident by the time people are in their 40s. My old man was diagnosed at 48. Woody, if I recall right, at about 43.

  2. Yeah, Dylan and other folksingers imitated a lot of the preceding giants or even one another. I've heard Dave Von Ronk talk with humor about how angry he was as a young man that Dylan stole his chord changes to "House of The Rising Sun" when Dylan recorded it. For the guys who lived through it this long, I hope they are all amused by it! If I just wanted to find someone who was a "good guy", I'd stick with Pete Seeger.

  3. I've never heard that Pete Seeger was a bad father or poor family man, though I've heard it about Woody, Dylan, John Lennon--I like them, anyway, because you can't find many perfect people.

  4. Ron,

    I googled my sister (yikes, that doesn't sound right!) and found your blog, and the Dylan tribute to Guthrie. It's inspirational and NOT a waste of seven minutes. Thanks for sharing it.

    I remember when you and Jeanne used to sit in the living room on Howard Street listening to Dylan and Donovan. You had that surly hipster thing going on, with your corduroy cap and (I think) Beatle boots, etc., but I distinctly recall a wry smile always poking through the surliness.

    I'm a Dylan fan mainly because of you, Jeanne, and my brother Win. I also count "Hattie Carroll" as one of his finest, and was just talking to my son Carlos about it a few weeks ago.

    Concerning human imperfection, Dylan and I are Exhibits A and B, and that's the only context in which I belong in the same sentence with him. Back to my sister - she may be on the evidence list, but she's way down there in the Zs, and apparently you agree. Thanks for your kind words about her.


  5. Some very funny comments, Don, and others that made me have an Elder Moment or Nostalgia Attack! Glad you found some nice things to read on my blog. It's always good to find someone who shares some of one's own tastes in music, culture, or whatever!

    I think I only remember that cap to which you allude because you had alluded to it a few years ago and jogged my memory. Otherwise, I tend to forget all those details (beatle boots, etc.).

    It has always been easy to have kind words about your sister even when I was being mean to her. I don't have friendships any more with most of my ex-girlfriends, but she wouldn't let me be THAT much of a curmudgeon and just disappear. I don't get to see her much, but I find that I carry her in my mind, sometimes even practice telling a good story or observation to her--in my imagination, I mean! It's nice to have long relationships, however many you can have.

    And you were too young back then for me to really befriend, though our ages grow much closer together now that decades have passed. It is so strange. But it was nice to hear from you again.

  6. I had the honor of working on the project of bringing that one Woody Guthrie portrait to the Oklahoma State Capitol.

  7. Good for you, Pam! It's always better to help than to hinder.


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