"This Land Is Your Land" and Protest Songs
As I was reading an essay by John Mellencamp regarding protest songs last week in Vanity Fair, I discovered that Woodie Guthrie wrote "This Land is Your Land" as a passionate rebuttal to Irving Berlin's "God Bless America." I wanted to understand more about this. According to this website (which is an article from The New Yorker), the words were written in anger because Guthrie deplored Berlin's God Bless America as treacle. I had to look the word treacle up in the dictionary. It mean molasses. At first, I thought that Guthrie had a problem with the words of Berlin, but maybe he was upset about what he felt was a lack of musical passion in the song. I skimmed through the rest of The New Yorker article, but I would like to read it more closely. In fact, I would like to begin to study and better understand folk music, its history, personalities and other attribues. The Mellencamp article was interesting. He ranked his top ten protest singers. Among them were Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Pete Seger (who, I have learned, once played with Guthrie and was his friend), Billie Holliday and a few others that I wish I could remember, but can't off the top of my head. I'll try to update this post with the rest of the list.