Posts Tagged ‘Arlo Guthrie’

Tune du Jour: “Deportee (Plane Wreck At Los Gatos)” – Woody Guthrie / Martin Hoffman
THE CLASH of Cover Tunes: The Black River Republic vs. Joe Ely & Los Super Seven
Peruse, Comment and Vote (I Beseech, Implore and Urge Thee, respectively)
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Memorial Service, September 2, 2013

On January 28, 1948 a plane chartered by U.S. Immigration Services crashed in Los Gatos Canyon, California. The plane was carrying 4 American crew members and 28 migrant workers deported from California back to Mexico. Many were part of the “bracero program” and had finished their government-sponsored work contracts. A ride home was part of the deal. Others had entered the country illegally.

There were no survivors from the crash. It was one of the worst aviation disasters of the era and was widely reported. The 28 migrant workers went mostly unidentified and were all buried in a cemetery in Fresno, California, in one mass grave.

Woody Guthrie was living in New York City at the time. The day after the crash the New York Times reported on the tragedy, providing the names of the 4 dead Americans while noting that the 28 other passengers were simply “deportees”. Woody was disgusted by the news coverage in general, which he felt consistently memorialized the 4 dead Americans while marginalizing the deaths of the 28 migrant workers.

Woody wrote a poem about the plane crash. According to Woody’s biographer, Joe Klein, “It was the last great song he would write, a memorial to the nameless migrants ‘all scattered like dry leaves’ in Los Gatos Canyon, where the plane crashed… The song, as he wrote it, was virtually without music – Woody chanted the words – and wasn’t performed publicly until a decade later when a schoolteacher named Martin Hoffman added a beautiful melody and Pete Seeger began singing it in concerts.” The song’s title varies from “Deportee (Plane Wreck At Los Gatos)” to “Plane Wreck At Los Gatos (Deportees)” to simply “Deportee”.

On September 2, 2013 a memorial service was held at the mass grave for the 28 migrant workers. A monument was unveiled to serve as the grave’s permanent headstone. The $14,000 for the monument and ceremony was raised largely by donations of less than $20 from individuals, including Woody Guthrie devotees and families of farmworkers. The monument is etched with 32 falling leaves, four of them bearing the initials of the Americans who died on the flight. In the center are the full names of the 28 migrant workers.

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Popular Version

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Pete Seeger & Arlo Guthrie:

Geez, I grew up listening to this 2-album set practically on a nightly basis. And it still sounds great today.

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THE CLASH of Cover Tunes

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The Black River Republic vs. Joe Ely & Los Super Seven

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The Black River Republic:

Joe Ely & Los Super Seven:

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Oh the disharmony! Much like Harlan County there are no neutrals here. Only one cover tune will live to play another day and it is your solemn responsibility to decide which one prevails. So tell me … Which Side Are You On?!!?

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Votes can be cast up to three months from the day and time of the original post.

Disclaimer: Votes cast from Florida may or may not be counted.

Tune du Jour: “City of New Orleans” – Arlo Guthrie
THE CLASH of Cover Tunes: Byron Lee & The Dragonaires vs. Yehoram Gaon
Peruse, Comment and Vote (I Beseech, Implore and Urge Thee, respectively)
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I've been a Puppet, a Pauper, a Pirate, a Poet, a Broccoli Man ...

I’ve been a Puppet, a Pauper, a Pirate, a Poet, a Broccoli Man …

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Arguably the greatest train song ever written and it was composed by a folk – not C&W – artist. Imagine that! Steve Goodman wrote City of New Orleans while traveling from Chicago to New Orleans on the Illinois Central Railroad’s City of New Orleans. Goodman recorded City of New Orleans in 1970 and released it the next year on his self-titled album. John Denver released a cover of City of New Orleans in 1971 but it was Arlo Guthrie’s version – released in 1972 on his album Hobo’s Lullaby – that made the song famous. Guthrie’s City of New Orleans peaked at 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts.

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The Original

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Steve Goodman:

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The Most Popular

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Arlo Guthrie:

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THE CLASH of Cover Tunes

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Byron Lee & The Dragonaires vs. Vehoram Gaon

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Byron Lee & The Dragonaires:

Yehoram Gaon:

“ניו אורלינס” trans. “What do you think of that, Dougie?”

Oh the disharmony! Much like Harlan County there are no neutrals here. Only one cover tune will live to play another day and it is your solemn responsibility to decide which one prevails. So tell me … Which Side Are You On?!!?

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Votes can be cast up to seven days from the day and time of the original post.

Disclaimer: Votes cast from Florida may or may not be counted.