Prophet Singer: The Voice and Vision of Woody Guthrie examines the cultural and political significance of lyrics by beloved songwriter and activist Woodrow Wilson "Woody" Guthrie. The audiobook traces how Guthrie documented the history of America's poor and disadvantaged through lyrics about topics as diverse as the Dust Bowl and the poll tax. Divided into chapters covering specific historical topics such as race relations and lynchings, famous outlaws, the Great Depression, and unions, the audiobook takes an in-depth look at how Guthrie manipulated his lyrics to explore pressing issues and to bring greater political and economic awareness to the common people.
Incorporating the best of both historical and literary perspectives, Mark Allan Jackson references primary sources including interviews, recordings, drawings, and writings. He includes a variety of materials from the Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress, and the Woody Guthrie Archives. Many of these have never before been widely available. The result provides new insights into one of America's most intriguing icons. Prophet Singer offers an analysis of the creative impulse behind and ideals expressed in Guthrie's song lyrics.
Details from the artist's personal life as well as his interactions with political and artistic movements from the first half of the twentieth century afford listeners the opportunity to understand how Guthrie's deepest beliefs influenced and found voice in the lyrics that are now known and loved by millions.
Mark Allan Jackson is currently an assistant professor of English at DePauw University. His articles and reviews have been featured in Popular Music and Society and American Music.
The book is published by University Press of Mississippi.
This is an excellent book about Woody Guthrie's music. A solid 4-star book, but U am giving it five, cos I can't figure out why others have rated it so low.
Jackson has not produced a bio of the hard-travelin' folk singer. Go to Guthrie's semi-autobiographical Bound for Glory (on Audible) for that.
Rather Jackson gives a detailed history of several Guthrie tunes. You learn about the songwriter thru the experiences and cultural forces that shaped him. Songwriters will find a lot to love because the author breaks down the lyrical structure of several songs.
The best part of the book is the history of early 20th century. You learn about hobo camps, dust bowl Oakies, racial prejudice, gangsters and the Great Depression.
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