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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

woody & hank

Woody Guthrie's style came out of the Carter Family; Hank Williams might be Jimmie Rodgers's heir; both the Carters & Rodgers first recorded in Bristol, Virginia, within a day or two of each other in 1927. Woody & Hank -- not typically thought of together, but they both could be grandsons of Bristol, and both of them tremendous, wide-ranging, beautiful songwriters. (And both wrongfully disparaged as singers; Guthrie doesn't get a fraction of the respect he deserves, and I remember a crusty 70-ish white guy telling me on a bus ride between Chicago and St. Louis, "Hank Williams wasn't a singer. He had a voice like a saw cutting through wood." He said it as if that were a bad thing!)

They had at least one tune in common. They both recorded "A Picture from Life's Other Side," a Tin Pan Alley weepie from 1896 by Charles Baer. I don't know whether they shared any other cover songs; this one sure is grim.

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