Hard Hitting Songs for Hard-Hit People


Hard Hitting Songs for Hard-Hit People

Compiled by Alan Lomax
Notes on the songs by Woody Guthrie
Music transcribed and edited and with an afterword by Pete Seeger
Foreword by John Steinbeck
Publisher's foreword by Irwin Silber
Introductory note by Nora Guthrie

376 pages
122 photographs, 195 songs


September 2012


$29.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Twenty-seven years in the making (1940–67), this tapestry of nearly two hundred American popular and protest songs was created by three giants of performance and musical research: Alan Lomax, indefatigable collector and preserver; Woody Guthrie, performer and prolific balladeer; and Pete Seeger, entertainer and educator who has introduced three generations of Americans to their musical heritage.

In his afterword, Pete Seeger recounts the long history of collecting and publishing this anthology of Depression-era, union-hopeful, and New Deal melodies. With characteristic modesty, he tells us what’s missing and what’s wrong with the collection. But more important, he tells us what’s right and why it still matters, noting songs that have become famous the world over: “Union Maid,” “Which Side Are You On?,” “Worried Man Blues,” “Midnight Special,” and “Tom Joad.”

“Now, at the turn of the century, the millennium, what’s the future of these songs?” he asks. “Music is one of the things that will save us. Future songwriters can learn from the honesty, the courage, the simplicity, and the frankness of these hard-hitting songs. And not just songwriters. We can all learn.”

In addition to 123 photographs and 195 songs, this edition features an introductory note by Nora Guthrie, the daughter of Woody Guthrie and overseer of the Woody Guthrie Foundation.

Author Bio

Alan Lomax (1915–2002) was a folklorist, oral historian, and ethnomusicologist who collected thousands of examples of twentieth-century folk music and recorded songs all over the world. Woody Guthrie (1912–67) was a musician, singer-songwriter, and political activist who created a staggering number of original songs, writings, drawings, paintings, poems, and prose pieces. He is the author of Bound for Glory and Seeds of Man. Pete Seeger is a Grammy Award–winning singer-songwriter and an icon of mid-twentieth-century folk music. A social activist, he has campaigned for civil and labor rights, racial equality, antimilitarism, and environmental protection throughout his life.


“Intensely singable. . . . The book is a hard-hitting history and social commentary as well as a songbook.”—Library Journal

Table of Contents

Introductory Note - Nora Guthrie
Foreword - John Steinbeck
Publisher's Foreword - Irwin Silber
Introduction - Woody Guthrie
About Woody
I - Hard Luck on the Farm
II - You're Dead Broke
III - So You Got to Hit the Road
IV - And You Land in Jail
V - Some from the Old Wobblies
VI - Old Time Songs from All Over
VII - Hell Busts Loose in Kentucky
VIII - So You Hollered for a New Deal
IX - The Okie Section
X - Detroit Sets Down
XI - The Farmers Get Together
XII - One Big Union
XIII - Mulligan Stew
Compiler's Postscript - Alan Lomax
Afterword 1999 - Pete Seeger
Index of Songs

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