Electric Review

Culture & Criticism Since 2003

Woody Guthrie Tribute Concert Celebrates One of American Music’s Forgotten Influences

WOODY GUTHRIE ALL-STAR TRIBUTE CONCERT 1970. Directed by Jim Brown. Produced by Jim Brown, Nancy Wexler, Nora Guthrie, Harold Leventhal. Frederic Underhill, David Myers. MVD Visual.

Cover courtesy of MVD.

Woody Guthrie’s songwriting and vocal stylings are responsible for the resurgence of the folk movement in the early 1960s, events that led directly to Bob Dylan’s legendary transformation into folk-rock artist at Newport in 1965. In this documentary from Jim Brown, some of the biggest names in music gather to pay tribute to Guthrie’s legacy following his 1967 death from Huntington’s Disease. The show, held at the Hollywood Bowl in 1970, assembles the seminal voices from folk, using Guthrie’s best-known songs to celebrate him. In turn, the highlights are many: Richie Havens’ rendition of “Nine Hundred Miles” is absolutely chilling, while Joan Baez’s treatment of “Pastures Of Plenty” will bring tears to your eyes – this perfect embodiment of what folk meant ‘then and now.’ The Woody Guthrie All-Star Tribute Concert is replete with several extras, including an additional 12 minutes of footage. Narration by Peter Fonda and Will Geer expertly studs a film that shows that before the Beatles and Dylan and Stones, there was a guy named Woody Guthrie. One pass through the All-Star Tribute Concert and its clear that without Woody’s voice leading the way, their path would have lacked a certain purpose, resolve and direction.

by John Aiello


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This entry was posted on June 4, 2019 by in 2019, In the Spotlight, June 2019, Rat On Poetry and tagged , .
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