Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” reinterpreted


With all the insane anti-immigrant sentiment going on around the country and most notoriously in Arizona, it got me thinking of Woody Guthrie’s timeless folk song, “This Land Is Your Land.” Over the years, so many diverse musicians have done their own take. I’ve always loved Mexican-American singer Lila Downs’ version, speaking for the voiceless migrant laborers in “Pastures of Plenty”:

Recently I was watching the movie, Up In The Air. The opening song was the coolest, most soulful version I’ve ever heard by Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings:

Johnny Cash’s Version:

Los Lobos with the Grateful Dead:

Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen’s version during Obama’s pre-inauguration concert:

Chicago folkloric group Sones De Mexico “Esta Tierra Es Tuya”:

And the original:

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.

As I went walking that ribbon of highway
I saw above me that endless skyway
I saw below me that golden valley
This land was made for you and me.

I roamed and I rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
While all around me a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me.

When the sun came shining, and I was strolling
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
A voice was chanting, As the fog was lifting,
This land was made for you and me.

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.

Links & Resources:
Smithsonian Folkways Woody Guthrie Album
The history of the song
Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
Lila Downs
Sones De Mexico
Woody Guthrie

10 comments

  1. THANKS MARINA! I enjoyed both Lila and Sharon versions….totally groovin in my chair! Keep on keepin on 🙂

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  2. I absolutely love your writing! So many great and inspiring links. It’s a shame how in a time we should be coming together, we find ways to drive one another further away. You use the Web for exactly what it’s there for; sharing and educating. Thank you!

    Like

  3. Thanks for the post of “Esta Tierra Es Tuya,” Sones de Mexico’s norteño version of This Land is Your Land. This Woody Guthrie song is very powerful, and the fact that it has remained so popular and politically relevant for 70 years is a testament of that. Congrats on your blog! –Juan Dies, Sones de Mexico Ensemble

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