Pete Seeger, June 1967:
When Woody Guthrie was singing hillbilly songs on a little Los Angeles radio station in the late 1930s, he used to mail out a small mimeographed songbook to listeners who wanted the words to his songs, On the bottom of one page appeared the following:"This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright # 154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ourn, cause we don't give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that's all we wanted to do."
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Woody is just Woody. Thousands of people do not know he has any other name. He is just a voice and a guitar. He sings the songs of a people and I suspect that he is, in a way, that people. Harsh voiced and nasal, his guitar hanging like a tire iron on a rusty rim, there is nothing sweet about Woody, and there is nothing sweet about the songs he sings. But there is something more important for those who will listen. There is the will of the people to endure and fight against oppression. I think we call this the American spirit.
John Steinbeck; quoted in Joe Klein, Woody Guthrie: A Life, London, 1981, p. 160.
I suppose I taught Bobby a few of my songs. Those old VD songs by Woody that nobody wanted the young kids to know, he picked them up from me....
quoted in Robert Shelton, No Direction Home, London 1987, p. 104.
So then you heard of Guthrie and he changed your life?
BOB DYLAN: I heard of Odetta first...
Then you heard of Guthrie and he changed your life?
BOB DYLAN: Then I heard of Josh White...
Then you heard of Guthrie...
Then I heard about those riots in San Francisco... an' I missed out on meeting James Dean so I decided to go meet Woody Guthrie.
J. R. Goddard Interview, Village Voice, Mar 1965.
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