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Woody Guthrie's Biography

    1912 - Childhood

    1931 - The Great Dust Bowl

    1937 - KFVD Radio Years

    1940 - New York Town

    1941 - Columbia River

    1942 - World War II

    1946 - Coney Island

    1954 - The Hospital Years

    I Ain't Dead Yet

    Where's Woody Now?

    Song & Life Timeline

    Bibliography

    Discography

    Filmography

    Woody Sez Quotes

 

Woody Guthrie's Biography

Page 7 of 10

WOODY SEZ...

"Watch the kids. Do like they do. Act like they act. Yell like they yell. Dance the ways you see them dance. Sing like they sing. Work and rest the way the kids do.

You'll be healthier. You'll feel wealthier. You'll talk wiser. You'll go higher, do better, and live longer here amongst us if you'll just only jump in here and swim around in these songs and do like the kids do.

I don't want the kids to be grownup. I want to see the grown folks be kids." Source: Nursery Days CD

LISTEN TO WOODY

Riding In My Car

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Download a free copy here.

Recording taken from-
This Land Is Your Land: Asch Recordings, Vol. 1

Woody (on stoop) performing for children on New York City Street, 1943. Photo by Eric Schaal/TIMEPIX

CONEY ISLAND (1946–1954)
New York City, New York

Following the war, in 1946, Woody Guthrie returned to settle in Coney Island, New York, with his wife Marjorie and their children. The peace he had fought so hard for seemed finally within his reach. It was during this time that Woody composed and recorded Songs to Grow On For Mother and Child and Work Songs To Grow On, considered children's classics which won him success and recognition as an innovative writer of children’s songs.

Woody’s unique approach was to write songs that dealt with topics important to children written in language used by children such as; friendship (“Don’t You Push Me Down”), family (“Ship In The Sky”), community (“Howdi Doo”), chores (“Pick It Up”), personal responsibility (“Cleano”) and just plain fun (“Riding In My Car”).

During these years, Woody was exposed to Coney Island’s Jewish community through his mother-in-law, Aliza Greenblatt, a Yiddish poet. Inspired by this new relationship, he wrote a remarkable series of songs reflecting Jewish culture, such as “Hanuka Dance,” “The Many and The Few” and “Mermaid’s Avenue.”

Toward the late 1940s, Woody’s behavior started to become increasingly erratic, moody and violent, creating tensions in his personal and professional life. He was beginning to show symptoms of a rare, neurological disease, Huntington's Chorea, a hereditary, degenerative disease that gradually and eventually robbed him of his health, talents and abilities. At the time, little was known about Huntington’s Chorea. It was later discovered to be the same disease which thirty years earlier had caused his mother's institutionalization and eventual death.

Shaken by inexplicable volatile physical and emotional symptoms, Woody left his family once again, taking off for California with his young protégé, Ramblin' Jack Elliott.

Arriving at his friend Will Geer’s property, Woody met Anneke Van Kirk, a young woman who became his third wife and with whom they had a daughter, Lorina.

READ LYRICS FROM THIS TIME:

 

All Work Together

Howdi Do

Mail Myself To You

Riding In My Car

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