Box set contains complete Library of Congress recordings (released in their entirety for the first time).
The success of Mermaid Avenue — the 1998 and 2000 albums of Woody Guthrie lyrics set to music by Billy Bragg, Wilco and others — along with the centennial celebrations in 2012, several other CD tributes, and a variety of anthologies – have ensured ongoing interest in Woody Guthrie’s own recordings.
Now, Rounder Records has announced the release of what they are claiming is ‘the ultimate treasure trove of the songwriter’s earliest recordings.’
Woody Guthrie: American Radical Patriot, due on October 22, 2013, promises to ‘unveil hours of previously unheard songs, interviews and even radio dramas.’
In 1940, the then 27-year-old Guthrie recorded his music for the first time (other than some radio airchecks) when he visited the U.S. Government’s Library of Congress and taped five hours of singing and talking with the legendary folklorist Alan Lomax. Included were many of Guthrie’s best known songs that he would record for Folkways and RCA Victor: ‘So Long, It’s Been Good To Know Yuh,’ ‘Do Re Mi,’ ‘Pretty Boy Floyd,’ ‘I Ain’t Got No Home’ and ‘Hard, Ain’t It Hard.’
The three-hour version of those sessions (released as The Library of Congress Recordings by Elektra in 1964 (and reissued by Rounder in 1998) was hailed by critic Bill Friskics-Warren as ‘three volumes of conversation, songs and humanity that offer the most complete portrait of America’s greatest folksinger.’
Now, the full five-hour session will be available, presented on 4 CDs in ‘cleaned-up’ audio with a verbatim transcript in a 258-page book. The box set will also a DVD plus a 78-rpm vinyl disc that contains Bob Dylan’s 1961 home recording of Guthrie’s ‘VD City’ and Guthrie’s 1951 home recording of ‘The Greatest Thing That Man Has Ever Done.’
The box set will be limited to 5,000 copies.