THE LIVE WIRE: Woody Guthrie in Performance 1949
Woody & Marjorie Guthrie
Available at the Woody Guthrie Store


For the first time, fans and music lovers everywhere can listen to a live concert recording of Woody Guthrie! The Woody Guthrie Foundation, under license to Woody Guthrie Publications Inc, released this never-before-heard Guthrie concert which took place in December, 1949 at the YM-YWHA's Fuld Hall in Newark, New Jersey.

With the help of many talented recording engineers, the Foundation painstakingly transferred this rare live performance from a delicate wire recording to digital audio, and, with state-of-the-art technology, restored it to near-perfection.


1. Intro: How much? How long? (15:02)*
2. Black Diamond (4:51)
3. I was there and the dust was there (6:56)
4. The Great Dust Storm (3:35)
5. Folk singers and dancers (5:28)
6. Talking Dust Bowl Blues ( 2:16 )
7. Tom Joad (6:17)
8. Columbia River (1:47)
9. Pastures of Plenty (2:39)
10. Grand Coulee Dam (3:33)
11. Told by Mother Bloor (1:42)
12. 1913 Massacre (4:32)
13. Quit sending your inspectors (2:33)
14. Goodbye Centralia (3:11)
15. A cowboy of some kind (1:20)
16. Dead or Alive (3:42)
17. Jesus Christ has come! (1:35)
18. Jesus Christ (3:46)


In 2001, Paul Braverman sent a small package containing 2 spools of wire recordings to the Woody Guthrie Archives in New York City . He had discovered them while cleaning out his closet. He had made the recordings himself while a student at Rutgers University , using a small wire recorder which was briefly used in the late 1940's. He was a recording hobbyist and often recorded events and programs held by the Y in the late 40's and early 50's.

Nora Guthrie, President of the Woody Guthrie Foundation and Woody's daughter, and Jorge Arevalo Mateus, Curator of the Woody Guthrie Archives, first had the opportunity to hear the wires in 2002 at Art Shifrin's home studio in Queens , NY . Art had hand-built the only known wire recording transfer device available. At this point, they had no idea what was on the wire, but were absolutely thrilled to discover that the recordings contained a never before heard, complete live performance given by Woody Guthrie. His wife, Marjorie Mazia, was the dance teacher at the Y, and at this event she acted as moderator for the program. The evening was a cultural event meant to introduce Woody Guthrie's songs to this small group of adults and children. As Mr. Braverman recalled, "there were about 25 people in the audience."

In 2003, the Foundation decided to produce the recording for public release, and worked with Airshow Mastering to clean and edit the recording. However, by 2006, many technological advances had been made in audio restoration. Jamie Howarth at Plangent Processes, along with Steve Rosenthal at the Magic Shop NYC were brought in to continue and refine the difficult task of creating the cleanest and best sounding recording possible. The result of these many years of researching and developing audio restoration is what you now hear on THE LIVE WIRE: Woody Guthrie in Performance 1949.


The recording consists of 18 tracks of songs, stories and conversation. Packaged in a 72-page, handsomely designed book, it includes rare and newly discovered photographs of Woody and Marjorie, insightful contributions by Nora Guthrie, historical text on the performance and songs by Jorge Arevalo Mateus and technical notes on the audio restoration process by the participating engineers: Art Shifrin, Jamie Howarth at Plangent Processes, and two-time Grammy Award winner Steve Rosenthal at the Magic Shop NYC. Grammy Award winning designer Susan Archie created the unique CD and book design, which also includes original lyrics from the Archives, adding additional visual documentation. Due to the large amount of dialogue, a transcript of the performance is included on the CD, allowing listeners to read along.


Executive Producer: Nora Guthrie
Producers: Nora Guthrie and Jorge Arevalo Mateus
Book text and historical notes: Jorge Arevalo Mateus, Curator/Woody Guthrie Archives
Additional notes: Nora Guthrie, Director/Woody Guthrie Archives

Wire transfer: Art Shifrin
Wire transfer assistant engineer: Brian Thorn/Magic Shop NYC
Digital restoration: Jamie Howarth and Dr. Kevin Short/Plangent Processes
Sound restoration & mastering producer: Steve Rosenthal/Magic Shop NYC
Cedar restoration and mastering engineer: Warren Russell-Smith/ Magic Shop NYC

Package and CD design: Susan Archie/World of Anarchie
Performance transcription: Hillel Arnold, Assistant Archivist/Woody Guthrie Archives
Publicity and promotion: Anna Canoni/Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc.
Permissions and Licensing: Michael Smith/Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc.
CD manufactured by: Solo Media
Book and CD cover manufactured by: Imperial Paper Box Corporation, Parkside Printing Company
Proofreader: Ed Grant
Original wire recordings: Donated to the Woody Guthrie Archives by Paul Braverman


A limited number of review copies including the entire recording, which includes a pdf transcript of the performance, are now available for review. If interested, please e-mail acanoni(at)woodyguthrie.org.

THE LIVE WIRE has been created as a fundraiser for the Woody Guthrie Foundation, a (501)(c)3 tax exempt charity. All net proceeds will go to the Woody Guthrie Foundation to support the work of the Woody Guthrie Archives. This release will not be available in stores, and is being sold exclusively at the Woody Guthrie Online Store.

JAMIE HOWARTH - "This recording represents a milestone in audio restoration."

NORA GUTHRIE - "Upon transferring the wire recordings and listening to them for the first time, we quickly realized that we had miraculously acquired something precious. This is one of the only existing documentations of Woody Guthrie as a performer in front of a live audience."

JORGE AREVALO - " To listen to Woody Guthrie perform before an audience, unmediated by folklore collectors, or the then-burgeoning folk music producers and publishers.affords us for the first time an intimate and complete view of Guthrie's talent and personality. Unfiltered, unexpurgated Guthrie may not be easy listening. But the wire recording, unlike any of his other studio recordings..displays his ability to connect with people viscerally and experientially, almost personally - the aim of any folk music performer, then and now."


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