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GUEST Woody: 3 Chords and the Truth - BBC 19 April (10) RE: Woody: 3 Chords and the Truth - BBC 19 April 30 Apr 19

Woody has become a mythological person mainly through PR. Not many people really knew him well. Even his own children knew him when he was ill with Huntington's.

When I knew him, he was just about to be consumed by the horrible disease but still maintained a fighting spirit. He wrote voraciously in those days in Topanga Canyon. Account books were piled up by the pot bellied stove in Will Geer's seed shack filled with verses and drawings.

He didn't like talking about politics with most people. He preferred making music. When we attended the same parties we wound up in the corner, Derroll Adams, Woody and I refraining
from the social chit chat and played the songs we loved. I could play the banjo, (not as well as Pete or Derroll) but enough so that Woody enjoyed our sessions.

In those days when I heard "This Land is Your Land", no one thought too much about it. It was another of those folk songs you could hear in Washington Square or at Hootenannies.

Bob Dylan's singing voice was an imitation of Jack Elliott's impression of Woody's voice when Woody had not been singing as well as he had when in his youth. Woody was a very musical performer.

Woody's three chords may have ensued but chances are BBC has mythologized his truth.

Woody was a socialist and maybe in the purest sense a kind of communist that defied genteel mores and cultural ideals such as marriage and making lots of money. Apparently he was still religious and used "When The World's On Fire" for the tune of "This Land". His idea of God would shock many contemporary preachers and religious acolytes.

My thesis is this: Folk music in the revival sense is another branch of show business and hype and PR enhance the mythology.

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