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what do you think....I Ain't Got No Home rewrite

27 Jul 01 - 02:13 PM (#516121)
Subject: what do you think....
From: GUEST,djh

I have made up my mind , but, I am curious what other folks think or would do. I have rewritten a version of Woody Guthrie's "I Aint Got No Home" . I believe it is probably the greatest American song about disenfranchisement, But, it is also forever tied to the depression with it's original lyrics. I left the chorus, chords,melody, many of the words and most of the rythm scheme in tact. I just changed it to speak to the present. I don't intend to record it, so I don't have any copyright issues to contend with, but , I have already begun performing it.Is this folk process of crime against folk? Would Woody approve? What do you think?

27 Jul 01 - 02:25 PM (#516133)
Subject: RE: what do you think....
From: Wesley S

I think it's fine as long as you tell folks upfront that you've updated Woody's song. From everything I've read Woody did a lot of that himself. Some people even call it the "folk process".

27 Jul 01 - 02:31 PM (#516144)
Subject: RE: what do you think....
From: Tedham Porterhouse

Woody would probably have approved because taking old songs and changing them to suit his purpose is something that Woody did himself.

BTW, Woody's "I Ain't Got No Home" is itself a rewrite of the old gospel song, "This World Is Not My Home."

27 Jul 01 - 02:33 PM (#516146)
Subject: RE: what do you think....

Wes, I'll tell em if they ask. I don't normally explain any songs to the audience, I play 'em. My last line should have read "is this folk process OR crime against folk" not OF. thanks

27 Jul 01 - 02:38 PM (#516150)
Subject: RE: what do you think....
From: catspaw49

Do it and explain it if you like. I added in a verse to Woody's about the fact that the situation is still the same over 60 years later ("The homeless are still on the streets, they got no place to go"--2nd line). Folk process......


27 Jul 01 - 02:41 PM (#516153)
Subject: RE: what do you think....
From: GUEST,djh

Glad to see folks agree.

27 Jul 01 - 02:46 PM (#516164)
Subject: RE: what do you think....
From: Mountain Dog

Wasn't it Woody who said, "Plagiarism is basic to culture"? and "I steal from everybody"? From all I've read, he was primarily interested in delivering his message in words and tunes his audience could readily access...and he was usually generous and forthcoming with acknowledgments to his sources when he knew them.

27 Jul 01 - 03:37 PM (#516208)
Subject: RE: what do you think....
From: Tedham Porterhouse

Mountain Dog,

Pete Seeger attributes that line about plagarism to his father, the musicologist Charles Seeger.

27 Jul 01 - 03:45 PM (#516218)
Subject: RE: what do you think....
From: Mountain Dog

Dear Tedham,

Thanks for correcting my attribution...Now I'm wondering who Chas stole that great line from?

27 Jul 01 - 04:05 PM (#516237)
Subject: RE: what do you think....
From: GUEST,djh

Ok since everyone agrees here is my variant-

Chorus, same as always

My Brothers and my sisters, we're all stranded on this road
It's a hot and dusty road, that a million feet have trod
Richman turned my home into a coast to coast strip Mall
and I aint got no home in this world anymore


I was taught to share , whether I be rich or poor
but, now it's every men for himself , dog eat dog
If there is a heaven it aint nowhere near New York
And I aint got no home......

As I look around it seems mighty plain to see
This old world turnin into a penitentary
Every day the gaurds they got new laws to enforce
and I aint got......


01 Aug 01 - 07:52 PM (#519400)
Subject: RE: what do you think....
From: John Kidder

I too tried to "update" this song a couple of years ago - then I sang it a few more times. I decided that, except for the "farming on the share" verse, the original was perfectly appropriate to current circumstances. When I decided that I couldn't improve even on that outdated verse, I just kept the whole song as she was wrote.

I didn't know that the "brothers and sisters" verse was intended as a chorus. Thanks.

01 Aug 01 - 07:57 PM (#519403)
Subject: RE: what do you think....
From: John Kidder

But I completely agree with everyone about the process, old songs to new. We must keep on writing new verses, modifying tunes.

02 Aug 01 - 08:03 AM (#519581)
Subject: RE: what do you think....
From: RangerSteve

Woody's career was cut short early, so we'll never know for sure, but I have no doubt he would have updated his own songs to fit the times.

02 Aug 01 - 01:44 PM (#519799)
Subject: RE: what do you think....
From: GUEST,djh

John Kidder, Brothers and sisters .... is not the chorus I was just to lazy to write the famous chorus stanza.

I aint got no home , I'm just a ramblin' round
I'm a hard workin ramblin' man and I roam from town to town
Police make it Hard, everywhere I go
And I aint got no home in this world anymore
Sorry didn't mean to confuse you.

02 Aug 01 - 02:10 PM (#519821)
Subject: RE: what do you think....
From: GUEST,djh

John, I also agree about the strength of the original. I certainly don't think I have improved upon the song. I just wanted to speak to what a dissident like Woody would see wrong with our times. I think the Farming on the shares verse is the best verse of the song, But , who is farming on the shares today? Not Many, if any.
I also am not as politically motivated as Woody, so mine is more about the overall complection of our times and not about the political issues Woody probably would have attacked.

02 Aug 01 - 02:29 PM (#519837)
Subject: RE: what do you think....
From: GUEST,Celtic Soul

So long as you give credit where credit is due, and do not record without permission from the parties needing to give it, I think you are more than safe.

Especially considering (as noted by so many) that the man himself did this very thing.

My group does a lot of alterations on traditional pieces as well as hacking to bits some newer ones to suit our needs. So long as respect is part of the equation, no harm, no foul.

02 Aug 01 - 04:27 PM (#519909)
Subject: RE: what do you think....
From: John Kidder

GregF: is there a way to change the name of this thread to include the name of the song, like the one you started, or to include all these messages in yours?

djh: I sang the song for a friend last night. He is a physicist who has been out of work for a while. He thought the sharecropper verse was totally appropriate to the so-called "knowledge workers" of our times. They farm their minds instead of farming land, and are treated just the same way when times get hard. Also, your verses do sound pretty political to me. You don't sound much like a fan of the new world order.

Isn't it wonderful how a tune can be a hymn, a topical song, another whole bunch of derivative topical song and then a basis for topical talk.

11 Jun 19 - 10:22 AM (#3995966)
Subject: ADD Guthrie's I Ain't Got No Home Trump rewrite
From: wysiwyg

Woody Guthrie Wrote of His Contempt for His Landlord, Donald Trump’s Father

"...Guthrie, in writings uncovered by a scholar working on a book, invoked “Old Man Trump” while suggesting that blacks were unwelcome as tenants in the Trump apartment complex, near Coney Island.

“He thought that Fred Trump was one who stirs up racial hate, and implicitly profits from it,” the scholar, Will Kaufman, a professor of American literature and culture at the University of Central Lancashire in Britain, said in an interview.

Mr. Kaufman said he came across Mr. Guthrie’s writings about Fred Trump while he was doing research at the Woody Guthrie Center’s archives in Oklahoma. He wrote about his findings last week for The Conversation, a news website.

In December 1950, Mr. Guthrie signed a lease at the Beach Haven apartment complex, Mr. Kaufman wrote in his piece. Soon, Mr. Guthrie was “lamenting the bigotry that pervaded his new, lily-white neighborhood,” he wrote, with words like these:

I suppose
Old Man Trump knows
Just how much
Racial Hate
he stirred up
In the bloodpot of human hearts
When he drawed
That color line
Here at his
Eighteen hundred family project

Mr. Guthrie even reworked his song “I Ain’t Got No Home” into a critique of Fred Trump, according to Mr. Kaufman:

Beach Haven ain’t my home!
I just can’t pay this rent!
My money’s down the drain!
And my soul is badly bent!
Beach Haven looks like heaven
Where no black ones come to roam!
No, no, no! Old Man Trump!
Old Beach Haven ain’t my home!... "