Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender"

Pete Seeger was born in 1919 and has been a lifelong political activist. He and Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly and Alan Lomax - all friends - pretty much invented American folk music. He was jailed in the 50's over his refusal to testify at the McCarthy Hearings. He put out his first studio album in 12 years a little while ago. Short of digging up Martin Luther King, I can't think of anyone better suited to preside over leading a half a million people in song on the Mall in Washington on the occasion of the inauguration of the first African American President.

Just look at that old rascal grin.

"In the square of the city, in the shadow of a steeple,
by the relief office, I'd see my people,
As they stood there hungry, I stood there whistling,
This land was made for you and me

There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me;
The sign was painted, it said 'Private Property'
But on the other side, it didn't say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

Nobody living, can ever stop me
As I go walking that freedom highway
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me"

I noticed the HBO version of this was taken down at You'Tude within hours of being posted. Some thoughts on certain copyrights:

"This song is Copyrighted in the 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 durn. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that's all we wanted to do."
--Woody Guthrie
Crossposted from the Woodshed, where we are rapidly closing in on our 50,000th visitor

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