Woody Guthrie

My Dusty Road (Rounder Records)

Box Sets

Woody Guthrie

My Dusty Road (Rounder)

The story behind My Dusty Road is as improbable and legendary as Woody Guthrie himself: Cardboard canisters loaded with 2,000 nearly immaculate 78 rpm metal masters sat in a Brooklyn basement for nearly 60 years before finally revealing remnants of the Stinson record label, including almost 250 tracks recorded by Guthrie over a weeklong session in New York, 1944, with guitarist Cisco Houston and harmonica virtuoso Sonny Terry. Never mind that six of this box set's 54 songs have never been heard on album before or the handsome dust bowl suitcase packaging; one listen to the sublimely crisp recordings immediately establishes the collection's value. Engineer Doug Pomeroy restores the material with a clarity unparalleled in Guthrie's catalog. The first disc of the 4-CD trove provides the best comparisons, showcasing the troubadour's most familiar tunes ("This Land Is Your Land," "Pretty Boy Floyd") with vocals and picking that are rich and unblemished. Based on its chronicled popularity, the unreleased "Bad Repetation" closes the Greatest Hits, Guthrie's playful and plaintive wail justifying its placement. Disc two turns to Woody's Roots, traditionals such as "Stackolee" and the mandolin-led "A Picture From Life's Other Side," while the third disc covers Woody the Agitator with the unearthed "Tear the Fascists Down" and "You Can Hear My Whistle Blow." The real treat is the final CD of breakdowns and jams on Woody, Cisco and Sonny. This is Guthrie brought to life, with Terry's harmonica set afire and Houston and Guthrie picking and hollering with fervor.

****

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Woody Guthrie
Twisting by the Pool
House of Earth
The Dust Bowl Troubadour would like to build an adobe house

Luke Winkie, June 21, 2013

Boxing Day
Woody Guthrie
Complete catalogs trump career overviews

Luke Winkie, Dec. 14, 2012

More Music Reviews
Faster Than Sound: SXSW Online Offered Lots to Look Forward To
SXSW Online Offered Lots to Look Forward To
Virtual festival forecasts incoming local debuts and tentative fall touring.

Rachel Rascoe, March 26, 2021

Faster Than Sound: Virtual ACL Music Fest Keeps Flags Flying
Virtual ACL Music Fest Keeps Flags Flying
Nostalgic livestream and rising Austin talent fundraise for the Austin Parks Foundation.

Rachel Rascoe, Oct. 16, 2020

More by Doug Freeman
In a Global Crisis, Luck Presents Writes a New Concert Promotions Standard
In a Global Crisis, Luck Presents Writes a New Concert Promotions Standard
With a little luck, Ellee Fletcher Durniak and Matt Bizer thrive at improvising impossible situations

April 16, 2021

New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
What we’re listening to

April 16, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Woody Guthrie

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle