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Colorado Morton at No Depression

Pen and ink drawing of a man riding a bucking horse

This drawing by Leslie Stewart of a cowboy riding bucking hose reminds us of “Colorado Morton’s Ride”: “He wouldn’t do nothing but stand on his ear, and buck and sidewind, and pitch and rear.” This is a photo by Carl Fleischhauer of the original drawing. Find the archival scan here.

As regular readers of Folklife Today will know, we’ve been working with No Depression, The Journal of Roots Music, which is published by the nonprofit Freshgrass Foundation. They’re publishing a column called Roots in the Archive, featuring content from the American Folklife Center and Folklife Today. Find the series at this link, over at their website!

The latest Roots in the Archive column is about “Colorado Morton’s Ride” (sometimes known as “Colorado Morton’s Last Ride”), a poem written by a Pulitzer Prize winner and a Montana cowboy, and recited at a migrant worker camp in 1941, where it was recorded by Library of Congress folklorists Charles Todd and Robert Sonkin. We first told the story here on the blog back in 2014, and you can read that post here. More recently, we featured it on the Folklife Today podcast, in an episode you can find here. In doing the podcast research I turned up a few more facts about the cowboy author Rivers Browne, so the story over at No Depression has a couple more details than the previous written version.

So if you’re curious how a Pulitzer Prize winner from Rhode Island met up with a Buckaroo from Montana (who happened to have been born in India as the son of a British Army General), and if you wonder how the poem and its reciter were connected to the great photographer Dorothea Lange and the novelist John Steinbeck, it’s time to surf on over to this link at No Depression!

Enjoy!

Native American Cylinder Recordings at No Depression

As I’ve mentioned before, we’ve been working with No Depression, The Journal of Roots Music, which is published by the nonprofit Freshgrass Foundation. They’re publishing a column called Roots in the Archive, featuring content from the American Folklife Center and Folklife Today. Find the series at this link, over at their website! The latest Roots in […]

Jennifer Lopez, Plus Pete Seeger, Bernie Sanders, Sea Shanties, and More at No Depression

Over at No Depression, read my musings about the 2021 inauguration, including Jennifer Lopez’s rendition of “This Land is Your Land” and the song’s journey from its author Woody Guthrie to its performances at the Obama and Biden inaugurations. You’ll read about the song’s appearance at the 2009 inauguration, where it was led by Bruce Springsteen, Pete Seeger, and Tao Rodriguez-Seeger. We’ll also revisit a classic rendition of “This Land” by Senator Bernie Sanders. Embedded throughout the piece you’ll find some video treasures from the AFC archive: three versions of “This Land is Your Land” sung entirely or partially in Spanish. We’ll also take a side trip into the January 2021 sea shanty craze on social media, and hear Springsteen’s version of the classic shanty “Pay Me My Money Down,” as well as the Alan Lomax field recording of the Georgia Sea Island Singers.

Arlo Guthrie Birth Announcement by Woody Guthrie Featured at No Depression

As our readers may remember, we’ve been working with No Depression, The Journal of Roots Music, which is published by the nonprofit Freshgrass Foundation. They’re publishing a column called Roots in the Archive, featuring content from the American Folklife Center and Folklife Today. The latest Roots in the Archive column is about the Arlo Guthrie birth announcement, a fantastic manuscript item from the Alan Lomax Collection. The Arlo Guthrie birth announcement is a handwritten, illustrated letter created by Woody Guthrie to announce the birth of his son Arlo. It was sent by Woody to his friend Alan Lomax in 1947. Typed and embellished with finger-painted lettering, the announcement is in the form of a handmade greeting card, a single sheet folded in half to form a front and back cover and a center spread. The front consists of stylized line art representing a mother and baby, a greeting to the Lomax family, and the name “Arlo Guthrie,” painted in several different styles and colors. The back consists of the words “Here I Am” in large painted letters. Both sides bear the date, and the name “Arlo Guthrie” written in Woody’s handwriting. Read more about it at the link!

The column also features the whimsical text of the birth announcement, which is written in the voice of baby Arlo, and my own thoughts on this one-of-a-kind manuscript. Of course, the American Folklife Center also has many more resources related to Woody Guthrie, and you can find out more about those in the column too.

No Depression Features Zora Neale Hurston

We’re happy to announce a new venture in getting our stories out there! We’re working with No Depression, The Journal of Roots Music, which is published by the nonprofit Freshgrass Foundation.  They’ll be publishing a column called Roots in the Archive, featuring content from the American Folklife Center and Folklife Today, over at their website. […]