Woody Guthrie - Dust Bowl Ballads
In my country we have a major misconception about our big North neighbor (not Guatemala, further up!). Of course, I mean the USA. We believe that over there everything is perfect, like many TV shows have portrayed it that way through the years. That is the main reason why many people from the South risk their lives searching for better opportunities up there. However, the truth is the US does have its issues, a lot, and yes! poverty is among those ones. The fact is that for years noe, though itwas probably different back when this record was made, the mid US states like Oklahoma or Kansas are mainly agricultural, and as The Grapes of Wrath, its movie and this record portray, when banks and landowners took advantage of their positions to drive people out of the lands they had worked, if not owned for years, it must have been total chaos. We can even forget about this, and still, a farmer's life doesn't look any easier. Your work depends on highly unpredictable things as water precipitation, condition of the soil or even crop eating insects from Mars!! Well, not from Mars, but crop eating insects.
The Grapes of Wrath and Dust Bowl Ballads share a common theme, and both of them take it from a similar point of view. What makes these artworks so different is that something that makes them appear scary to us, the audience. The reality and how believable these stories sound, 70 years later, almost breaks my heart in anger at the unfairness in this world.
Musically, the album is just what it could be. Recorded in 1940, the production quality is not exactly top-notch, though some might debate whether that is part of the appeal. Woodie's song's melodies and structure are mostly taken from classic American Folk songs, with adapted lyrics about life in Olkahoma back in those days, and even a two-part song written after watching the movie version of The Grapes of Wrath with Henry Fonda, which an excellent movie and one which you will go to your video rental and borrow it. RIGHT NOW!
If you don't feel like going to the video store right now, you can always try these links.