Power of Music

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American History

I’m shamelessly copying what Anne Laurie did in a post this morning. But for some reason, this Joan Baez cover of a Woody Guthrie song has been running through my head the past few days, anyway –

The song is about a California plane crash that killed 28 Mexican farmworkers in 1948. The farmworkers were then buried in a mass grave without being identified. More than six decades later, a writer named Tim Z. Hernandez, partly inspired by the song, did a lot of detective work and identified the people in the grave. This week a large gravestone listing the names was placed on the grave, and the song was sung as part of the ceremony.

I’m sure this song was on a Joan Baez album I bought sometime in the 1970s, and I always liked it, but for some reason I never connected it to a real event. Anyway — Woody Guthrie was a great man. Just sayin’.

Here’s another version, with Arlo G. and Emmylou Harris.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. uncledad  •  Sep 4, 2013 @10:44 am

    Great Song Thanks!

  2. Chief  •  Sep 4, 2013 @10:49 am

    No doubt that Mr. Woody Guthrie was a great man.

    To plagiarize Kristofferson, “Listening to Emmylou Harris is better than smoking grass.”

  3. Dolorous Stroke  •  Sep 4, 2013 @12:07 pm

    One of my favorites. I’m partial to this Cisco Houston version, which is the first I heard.

    There is also a fine version by The Highwaymen with Johnny Rodriguez.

  4. goatherd  •  Sep 4, 2013 @12:54 pm

    One of my old favorites too. It sure brings back memories of my younger days.

    There is yet another great version on one of the “Tribute to Woody Guthrie” LPs.

  5. c u n d gulag  •  Sep 4, 2013 @3:32 pm

    THANK YOU!!!
    I haven’t heard this song in ages.
    I first heard Dylan do his version of it, ages ago. Here’s him singing it with Joan Baez:
    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xpo7rf_bob-dylan-joan-baez-deportee_music

    Woody was one of the greatest ever!
    Arlo’s been pretty terrific, too.
    Dylan is incomparable – Baez, close behind him.
    And what can I say about Emmylou? Except that I love her, and her voice – one of the most “authentically American” in recorded history.

  6. Bonnie  •  Sep 4, 2013 @4:22 pm

    They don’t come any better than Joan Baez, Dylan, Woody and Arlo Guthrie. Emmylou Harris wrote a song called, “Boulder to Birmingham”. I have a version by Emmylou and version by Joan Baez. They are both great.



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