1.31.2007

Song for Woody


I'm out here a thousand miles from my home,
Walkin' a road other men have gone down.
I'm seein' your world of people and things,
Your paupers and peasants and princes and kings.

Hey, hey Woody Guthrie, I wrote you a song
'Bout a funny ol' world that's a-comin' along.
Seems sick an' it's hungry, it's tired an' it's torn,
It looks like it's a-dyin' an' it's hardly been born...

-- Bob Dylan, 1962

I was born in 1965 -- meaning I have no recollection of the sixties, I think my memories start in the late Nixon era, I have vague recollections of missing programs on PBS because the Watergate hearings were on TV... and I faintly remember watching Nixon's resignation speech. Perhaps the experience scarred me for life?

Even though it was the tail end of the sixties I grew up in an environment dominated by IBM and its strong and conservative culture (suits and white shirts were the uniform, every day) -- this was the era when the company was considered a monopoly and embroiled in anti-trust suits.

So needless to say, my parent's musical tastes tended to be pretty mainstream. There were, however, some old Kingston Trio albums around the house, their version of "A worried man" is still pretty funny today, and I still know the lyrics to "Tom Dooley". I also dimly recall going to a Pete Seeger concert when I was young and it was held in a playhouse or something, and was sold out, so we wound up sitting in folding chairs up on stage. (My parents also had a pretty extensive collection of Ray Coniff albums, but I have no recollection of ever listening to these, but remember that the album covers all featured pretty girls....)

To get to the point of this post (the point being that there is no point), my mom still likes this kind of music, and she is a lifelong Democrat (she voted McGovern in '72!) so I took her to the Vermont Stage Production of Woody Guthie's American Song. My mom enjoyed it and it was a quality production featuring some talented local musicians. I agree with the reviewer at Seven Days who gave the production a positive review but wrote that it could have been cut some... it was a long show.

This was the third Vermont Stage Production I have seen, I saw their productions of Waiting for Godot and A Child's Christmas in Wales (also with my mom), and they do put on quite professional productions... and set a pretty high bar for local theater.

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