This Land is Your Land
DESCRIPTION: Singer, a wanderer, describes beauty of American (or other) land, sometimes with verses lamenting poverty. "As I went walking that ribbon of highway/I saw above me that endless skyway/I saw below me that golden valley/This land was made for you and me"
AUTHOR: Woody Guthrie
EARLIEST DATE: February 1940 (composed)
KEYWORDS: patriotic nonballad rambling beauty America
FOUND IN: US(All)
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Seeger-AmericanFavoriteBallads, p. 30 "This Land is Your Land" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: Pete Seeger, _Where Have All the Flowers Gone: A Musical Autobiography_, A SIng Out Publication, 1993, 1997, pp. 142-146, "This Land Is Your Land" (many verses, both English and Spanish, 1 tune, plus a copy of Guthrie's original manuscript, with many corrections)
Pete Seeger, "This Land is Your Land" (on PeteSeeger41)
cf. "My Lovin' Father (When the World's On Fire)" (tune)
cf. "Little Darling, Pal of Mine" (tune)
Is This Land Your Land? (Silber/Silber-FolksingersWordbook, p. 315)
God Blessed America (Guthrie's original title)
Esta Es Mi Tierra
NOTES [203 words]: I include this composed song (originally an "answer song" to Irving Berlin's jingoistic "God Bless America") because it has entered into oral and aural tradition within my lifetime; it's taught in schools and camps, often as a traditional song, and is in oral currency among most of America's children.
More important, there have been dozens or hundreds of variants collected in the last forty years, in many nations and languages. These include an American Indian version: "This land is your land/But it once was my land..." Heck, my eight-year-old student wrote a couple of verses. - PJS
To me, there is no doubt that this is now a folk song. It is interesting to note, however, that unlike most folk songs, the establishment has largely managed to circulate "cleaned up" versions, so it no longer attacks the faults of the American political system....
The tune is a slight modification of "When the World's On Fire," perhaps learned from the Carter Family's recording (Victor V-40293). - RBW
No perhaps about it: Guthrie was a devoted admirer of the Carter Family. There's also a strong resemblance to another Carter Family song, "Little Darling, Pal of Mine" (Victor 21638, 1928), which we have not indexed. - PJS
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